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a grey plate on a vivid blue cloth napkin, the plate topped with Costa Rican gallo pinto: rice and beans flecked with red bell peppers, scallions and cilantro, and topped with a fried egg

Gallo Pinto: Costa Rican Rice and Beans Breakfast

  • Author: Lisa
  • Total Time: 45 mins
  • Yield: 8 1x


This delicious traditional rice and beans breakfast of Costa Rica is an ultra easy recipe that also makes a great side dish for dinner.


Units Scale
  • 3 tablespoons olive oil, divided
  • 2 tablespoons minced garlic (2-3 large cloves)
  • 1 red bell pepper, seeds and veins removed, finely chopped
  • 1 yellow onion, finely chopped
  • 6 cups cooked white rice (see notes below)
  • 2 15-ounce cans black beans, drained and rinsed, or 3 cups cooked black beans (here's how to cook black beans)
  • 1 bunch scallions (6 scallions) trimmed and chopped or thinly sliced
  • 3/4 cup packed cilantro leaves, chopped, divided
  • 2 teaspoons kosher salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon black pepper
  • Lizano Sauce, to serve (see notes)

For The Plantains:

  • 2 ripe plantains (skins yellow with some black) peeled and cut on the diagonal into 1/3-inch slices
  • 2-4 tablespoons coconut oil (or substitute olive oil)
  • 2 tablespoons white or light brown sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt plus more for sprinkling on at the end
  • 2 limes, each cut into 6 wedges, divided

For the Eggs:

  • Butter or oil to cook the eggs
  • 8 eggs (or 1 egg per person)

To Serve, Optional toppings

  • Lizano sauce - strongly recommended!
  • Lime wedges
  • Sliced avocados
  • Sour Cream
  • Chopped cilantro leaves
  • Chopped green onions
  • Your favorite hot sauce


  1. Heat 2 tablespoons of olive oil over medium heat in a large skillet. Sauté garlic, red pepper and onion, stirring occasionally, until softened, about 5 minutes. Add the remaining tablespoon of olive oil and the cooked rice and lower the heat to medium-low. Cook, tossing, until everything is combined and hot, 3-4 minutes. Add beans and gently fold them into the rice mixture. Continue cooking and gently folding until everything is hot and thoroughly combined, 2 minutes or so. Stir in scallions, 1/2 cup of the chopped cilantro, 2 teaspoons salt, and 1/4 teaspoon pepper. If you're serving this for breakfast, cover with foil or place in a 200ºF oven, to keep warm while you cook the eggs and plantains.
  2. In a medium bowl, toss plantains with sugar, cinnamon and salt. Heat 2 tablespoons coconut oil in a large, preferably cast iron, skillet over medium-high heat. Add the plantain slices in a single layer. (cook in batches, if necessary) Cook for 2-3 minutes per side or until brown, caramelized and soft. Transfer to a plate. Squeeze some lime juice over them - about 1/4 of a juicy lime. Sprinkle a few pinches of course salt over them, to taste. Tent with foil.
  3. Fry or scramble the eggs - however you like them.
  4. Divide the gallo pinto among plates. Top each with a cooked egg and one or more toppings. Arrange a few plantain slices alongside. Serve with Lizano Sauce on the side.


  • Cooking Time for This Recipe: This quick and easy dish is traditionally made with leftover rice and beans (in this case canned beans). If you plan to cook the rice or beans from scratch, the cooking time will increase.
  • Lizano Sauce is a popular condiment in Costa Rica that has been compared to Worcestershire Sauce. It's considered an essential element of gallo pinto, for authentic flavor. Lizano sauce is sometimes added to the gallo pinto during the cooking process and sometimes not, however it's always served on the side, as a salsa. If you can't find it at your grocery store, you can order it online. Worcestershire Sauce is also a great substitute.
  • Prep Time: 30 mins
  • plus time to cook eggs and plantains if serving for breakfast: 15 mins
  • Cook Time: 15 mins
  • Category: Breakfast, side dish
  • Method: Stir fry
  • Cuisine: Costa Rican

Keywords: rice and beans, Costa Rican rice and beans breakfast