I may have mentioned it before, but I spent 3 years living and working in Costa Rica it has to be my favourite place on earth, the people, the environment, the climate (yes even the rain) and also the food – although I must say when I returned I did refuse to eat rice for around 4 months. I’m loving that I’m now able to pass on this experience to my kids and even though we live in the UK and I’m itching to return to my home away from home with them we can still learn about the country through activities and food as well as start to learn the language. Rice and beans are a staple for the majority of families in Costa Rica, there are various combinations and ways that they are presented but my up most favourite is Gallo Pinto – traditionally served for breakfast although I have eaten it at lunch and dinner as well it’s a mixed up dish that is eaten the country over and served with eggs, plantains and some form of meat for breakfast normally.

Learning about the world and different countries through food, this is the traditional Costa Rican Recipe for Gallo Pinto a staple of all Tico families for breakfast if not more meals

I was lucky that I lived with a Tico family for my 3 years in the country and with friends and other family members as I traveled around – 11 years on and I am still in contact with them through social media and being introduced to the new generation of the family and I introduce them to our kids as well. The Matriarch of the family, Doña Sylvia taught me how to make the recipe and if I am feeling nostalgic I like to make the recipe with the kids.


More great recipes for breakfasts for families to enjoy together.


Ingredients for Gallo Pinto

1lb of small dried red kidney beans – I know on the Pacific Coast that they use Black Beans but traditionally on the Caribbean where I was based red beans are used
A handful of coriander leaves (Cilantro for the US readers)
1 Onion – finely chopped. I use the blade in my food processor to get the onions chopped fine
Small red pepper
3 cups of chicken stock from a cube
2 cups of white rice
Good pinch of salt – I do like my Gallo Pinto Salty and when I’ve made it with the kids I tend to cut back on this
Vegetable Oil

Making Gallo Pinto

The secret to Gallo Pinto is to make it the night before and reheat it the next morning so this is what we do. Check the instructions on your beans and see how much soaking they need to have before use then follow this. When you have soaked the beans drain and add to a pan.

Add water to around an inch above the top of the beans and boil and simmer for around 3 hours – I did say this was a make the day before dish! – add in the salt. The beans will be nice a soft and delicious.

In a food processor and the blade, add the onion, pepper and leaves from the coriander and chop up very small. How I wish I had had this when I was out in Costa Rica but as we had no electricity it was all done by hand and the number of cuts I got was amazing.

Heat a splash of oil in a pan and add the dry rice to saute then added some of your chopped mix and the stock and boil the rice for the amount of time on your packet.

When the rice is cooked and your beans are cooked, drain a little of the water from the beans but leave some and add the rice plus the rest of your chopped onion, pepper and coriander. Leave the mix overnight in a covered bowl in the fridge.

When it’s time to eat, heat some oil in a pan and add your rice and bean mix to the pan and saute again. Serve with egg – I like scrambled egg with mine but fried works as well and your choice of meat like Sauchichon.

Learning about the world and different countries through food, this is the traditional Costa Rican Recipe for Gallo Pinto a staple of all Tico families for breakfast if not more meals
Breakfast in Nicaragua gallo pinto eggs sausage via Deposit Photos
Learning about the world and different countries through food, this is the traditional Costa Rican Recipe for Gallo Pinto a staple of all Tico families for breakfast if not more meals

Costa Rica - Gallo Pinto Recipe

3 from 2 votes
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Author: Cerys Parker

Ingredients

  • 1 lb of small dried red kidney beans
  • leaves A handful of coriander Cilantro for the US readers
  • 1 Onion
  • Small red pepper
  • 3 cups of chicken stock from a cube
  • 2 cups of white rice
  • Good pinch of salt
  • Vegetable Oil

Instructions

  • Soak the beans according to the instructions
  • Drain
  • Add to a pan and cover with water so that there is over an inch above the beans add your salt
  • Simmer for around 3 hours until the beans are soft
  • Chop the coriander, onion and red pepper very small
  • Heat up some vegetable oil in pan
  • Saute the rice with half of the chopped onion, pepper and coriander
  • Cover with the chicken stock and boil until the rice is cooked
  • Drain the rice and partially drain the black beans
  • Mix together and place in the fridge overnight
  • When it's time to serve, heat some more oil in a pan
  • Add the mix and saute to heat up and serve for breakfast
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Learning about the world and different countries through food, this is the traditional Costa Rican Recipe for Gallo Pinto a staple of all Tico families for breakfast if not more meals

Author
Cerys Parker

Cerys is a marine biologist, environmental educator, high school teacher and mum. Realising that life doesn't have to be put on hold and you don't just have to survive whilst the kids are young she shares ideas to inspire you to LIVE with the kids, with activities to do together, recipes to cook and enjoy and family travel to make memories to last a lifetime.

3 Comments

  1. I love the advice on making this the night before. I haven’t tried that yet but will next time I want to make this. We learned how to make homemade tortillas while there that we love. This will go well with those and an array of fresh fruit.

  2. Gallo Pinto! It was probably my first meal, I m from Costa Rica and I’m so glad you enjoyed the food and culture of my home country. It’s such a beautiful place! You’re recipe makes me want t get busy makimg some! Hugs, Adriana

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