Panchita’s Gallo Pinto

gallo pinto

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If you ever visit Costa Rica, you won’t want to leave the country without tasting gallo pinto—black beans and rice. Gallo pinto is the national dish, eaten with just about everything and at every meal, even breakfast. This recipe comes straight from centenarian Panchita Castillo’s kitchen. You may use jalapeno or habanero peppers for this recipe, based on how adventurous you’re feeling.


2 cups cooked brown rice

½ yellow onion

1 clove garlic

1 red pepper

½ jalapeño

⅓ cup + 1 teaspoons cilantro

1 tablespoon olive oil

1 ½ cups no-salt canned black beans

1 ½ cups water



  1. Heat the rice until warm.
  2. Produce Prep- Peel and chop the onion and garlic.  Remove the core and stem from the bell pepper and dice. Seed and mince the jalapeño (use gloves and don’t touch your face after handling). Rinse and dice the cilantro.
  3. Warm the oil in a large saucepan set over medium heat. Add the onion and cook, stirring often, until softened, about 3 minutes. Add the garlic and cook until fragrant, about 20 seconds.
  4. Pour in the beans and water. Raise the heat to medium-high and bring to a full simmer, stirring gently to keep the beans intact. Gently stir in the rice, salt, and pepper until combined and hot, about 2 minutes. Stir in the cilantro, jalapeño, and bell pepper before serving. Season with salt and pepper to taste.