Day 7: Costa Rican Rice and Beans (Gallo Pinto)

Day 7: Costa Rican Rice and Beans (Gallo Pinto)

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Makes 2 servings

Rice and beans is a combination found all over the world, but it’s not just for lunch and dinner. This Costa Rican dish, which translates into “Painted Rooster,” is a breakfast staple. It is enhanced by a sofrito, another Latin cuisine classic made from onion, bell pepper, and garlic.


  • 1/2 onion, diced
  • 1 red bell pepper, diced
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 7/8 cup water
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 cup rice
  • 3/4 cup cooked black beans, rinsed
  • Hot sauce to taste


Over medium heat, sauté the onion and bell pepper in a pot until the onion turns a light brown color. Add the garlic and sauté for 1 more minute. Add the water and salt and bring the water to a boil. Add the rice, bring the water back to a boil, cover the pot, and reduce the heat to low. Cook the rice for about 20 minutes. Remove from the heat, stir in the beans, and dress the Gallo Pinto with hot sauce.


Making It Simple: There are two easier versions of this recipe. One way is to forgo sautéing the onion, pepper, and garlic. Simply bring the water to a boil and add the diced onion, pepper, and garlic to the water along with the rice. The other way is to sauté the onion, pepper, and garlic and stir them into any leftover cooked rice that you have on hand.


The Gourmet Touch: The traditional hot sauce for this dish is called Salsa Lizano. If you’re not in Costa Rica, you can find it online. It’s very tangy and tastes more like black pepper than chili pepper. You can also serve Gallo Pinto topped with baked or sautéed slices of plantains dressed with lime juice, with or without Salsa Lizano.

Per serving:

  • 226 calories
  • 9 g protein
  • 44 g carbohydrate 4 g sugar
  • 2 g total fat
  • 6% calories from fat
  • 9 g fiber
  • 290 mg sodium

Source: 21-Day Weight Loss Kickstart by Neal Barnard, M.D.; recipe by Jason Wyrick of the Vegan Culinary Experience