Recipe: Black Beans and Rice (Gallo Pinto)

Gallo Pinto is enjoyed by Costa Ricans year-round, for breakfast, lunch, or dinner. The beans and rice are mildly seasoned, however the Worcestershire sauce gives the dish an unusual kick.


2 1/2 cups leftover, cooked white rice
2 cans black beans, drained and rinsed
1 onion, chopped
4 cloves of garlic, crushed
1/2 tsp paprika
1/8 cup Worcestershire sauce
1 cup broth or water
salt and pepper


Heat oil over medium heat. Add onion. After just a moment, the entire house will smell like “good.”

Now we’re cookin’! Add the garlic…

… and cook until onion is soft and turning slightly golden – or however you like to eat it. I prefer not to have any crunch in mine.

Then, add in the paprika.

And leftover rice. I love re-purposing food… making my dollar stretch over several meals.

Pile on the beans. I used canned beans for simplicity and speed.

Next, a little Costa Rican flavor – sprinkle in the Worcestershire sauce. (And don’t forget the salt and pepper)

Add in water to help mix everything together.

Heat for a few minutes, until all the ingredients are warmed through. Do like the Costa Ricans and serve with eggs … any which way you like them. My favorite ways are over easy, poached, and scrambled.

What about you? How do you like your eggs?

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  1. I have been wanting to make Costa Rican food since I visited there a few years ago.

    The Gallo Pinto was one of my favorites. Lizano Salsa is the typical condiment used in Costa Rica. I was surprised it was not used in your recipe.

    Did you like this recipe? I was looking for your comments about the meals and could not find it.

    Thank you for sharing! I love your adventures in food!

    • Sasha Martin says:

      Hi Stephanie! Linzano Salsa wasn’t available near me – so I read that Worcestershire sauce is an okay substitute. Trust me – I would have have rathered tried the real deal!

      This recipe was pretty good – I think it needed more flavor somehow. Probably that salsa was what it needed!

      Here’s the review:

      • Diane Thomas says:

        In Costa Rica, not only we use the Salsa Lizano, but also the onions are fried together with red bell pepper and coriander. Paprika is sometimes replace by cumin, and towards the end a considerable amount of shop coriander is added before serving.

        • Sasha Martin says:

          Sounds delicious, Diane. I love the taste of fried veggies – and I think they would make a great addition to this recipe – thanks for the tip! :)

  2. I, too, have been experimenting with Costa Rican gallo pinto. My son-in-law makes a Nicaraguan version with red beans. I cannot get Salsa Lizano here either, and I ended up using the Heinz 57 steak sauce with Worcestershire sauce in it. It came out a little more red than black, but smelled and tasted a little closer to the real thing than using plain Worcestershire sauce. Sigh. I loved this dish when we visited Costa Rica and ate it at all meals, but it was best at breakfast with scrambled eggs, fried white cheese, and fried plantains. I plan on blogging about my efforts later this week. Yummy.


  1. […] Salsa.  I particularly like the verion on Sasha Martin’s Global Table Adventure website (here).  In the batch I made most recently, I ended up using a brown steak sauce that contained […]

  2. […] breakfast (perhaps with some cheese or eggs). We made gallo pinto for our Costa Rican Global Table [recipe] and loved how easy it was to throw […]

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