Gallo Pinto

It hasn’t even been a month since our honeymoon and I was already craving the gallo pinto (rice and beans pronounced gah-yo) we were eating daily for breakfast in Costa Rica. Fortunately I picked up the Finca’s spiral bound cookbook so I could mimic the amazing meals we ate there while at home. And while we didn’t do this dish for breakfast (we’re still suckers for smoothies, cereal, and yogurt parfaits) we did enjoy it for dinner with a massive massaged kale salad. For a good two hours while this was bubbling away in our rice cooker, our entire apartment smelled just like breakfast in Costa Rica. It took me back, but unfortunately not back far enough because I was still in my apartment. In Boston.

Ingredients…with a little improvisation:

2 cups brown rice

1 large onion, diced

1 yellow pepper, diced

bunch of cilantro, chopped (use however much you like)

1 Tbsp salt or more to taste

2 cups vegetable broth

2 cups water

2 cups black beans

2 heaping teaspoons of turmeric*, right from the Finca farm

*Warning: Turmeric will turn your wooden spoons and plastic spatulas yellow. The twitterverse tweeps told me that either baking soda or lemon juice will get the stain out.

I dumped all the ingredients in my rice cooker except for the beans, which were already pre-cooked, and set it and forget it. With a few minutes to go in the cook cycle, I dumped in the black beans to heat them up and soak up the flavors. When the buzzer went off two hours later, I had a perfect batch of gallo pinto.


We drizzled some Lizano green salsa sauce over the rice and beans to seal the deal and make this the most deliciously reminiscent Costa Rican meal. We first tried this at Los Altos on our honeymoon and couldn’t get enough of it. It’s like the ketchup of Costa Rica but has a tangy, salty flavor with turmeric, of course. Visitors of Los Altos love this sauce so much, they actually give it to the guests as a gift upon departure. Funk and I actually stopped at a CR grocery store so we could pick up an even bigger bottle to take home, and then were happy to find we can also order it from Amazon when it runs out. Phew!


You may not be able to make it to Costa Rica in two hours (or maybe you can, in which case I’m jealous), but you can make this Costa Rican Gallo Pinto in two hours.


  1. Posted July 14, 2011 at 9:14 am | Permalink

    Whenever I cook beans I always use turmeric. Last night, for example, I had soaked some beans for cooking but didn’t remember until about 9:30 last night, so in went the onion, oil turmeric and beans to cook until midnight. At least I’ll have some yummy beans for making this recipe for lunch today!!

  2. Posted July 15, 2011 at 9:20 am | Permalink

    So funny – my husband and I spent our honeymoon in Costa Rica and fell in love with that salsa too! We brought like 5 bottles back. I didn’t know you could buy it on now – dangerous! 🙂

  3. Janel
    Posted July 18, 2011 at 9:08 am | Permalink

    I never thought I’d find a condiment I love even more than ketchup! Amazon to the rescue 🙂

  4. Jamie
    Posted January 2, 2013 at 8:09 pm | Permalink

    Is this recipe from Finca Luna Nueva near La Fortune? If so, you’ve made me a very happy cook! We stayed there two weeks ago and their gallo pinto was my favourite version of all that we tried in our two+ weeks in Costa Rica.

  5. ewjanel
    Posted January 3, 2013 at 3:09 am | Permalink

    YES!!! My husband and I were there on our honeymoon and absolutely loved it. I am jealous you were there so recently! Thanks for reminding me of this recipe – I need to make it to take me back to our amazing trip!

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