Street Food Series: Gallo Pinto

Gallo Pinto is the national dish of Nicaragua, and it is at its essence a dish of rice and beans, flavored with various herbs and seasonings that vary according to region.  There are hundreds of variations on the basic theme, and as is keeping with the origin of this type of dish, I used what I had on hand.  It is sometimes served with seasoned meat or topped with a fried egg–the egg being my personal preference.

For this version I soaked small red beans overnight and cooked them separately before mixing them with the other ingredients for the last few minutes of cooking.  You can also used canned, rinsed beans, and pinto beans are frequently used instead of red beans.  If you use canned beans the texture will be softer, but it makes for a much faster week day meal.  Here is the recipe for this version:

Gallo Pinto

1 tablespoon olive oil (coconut oil is used in Caribbean versions)
1 cup shredded or finely diced carrots
5 green onions, trimmed and chopped
3 cloves garlic, peeled and crushed
hot chile paste, to taste (serve extra with the finished dish, so people can adjust to taste)
2 cups long grain rice
3 1/2 cups water
3 or 4 cups cooked red beans
salt, to taste
chopped fresh cilantro

In a large saucepan with a lid, heat the oil over medium-high heat.  Add the carrots, green onions, garlic, and chile paste, and cook, stirring frequently, until fragrant.  Stir in the rice and water and bring the mixture to a boil.  Reduce heat so the mixture is at a simmer, and cover and cook for 16-20 minutes, or until the rice is fluffy.  Stir in the red beans and some salt and cook just until heated through.  Taste and adjust the salt, then stir in the cilantro.  If desired, top portions with a fried egg and serve with lime wedges.

Thanks for reading,


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16 Responses to Street Food Series: Gallo Pinto

  1. veena krishnakumar January 30, 2011 at 6:05 am #

    first time here. Dish looks very inviting. Glad to follow you:-)

  2. Ang January 30, 2011 at 8:30 am #

    Okay this looks so unique. I have never thought of putting an egg over rice and beans. Gosh with the cheese and cilantro this really gets me excited. Have a blessed Sunday:)

  3. Lea Ann January 30, 2011 at 3:31 pm #

    Beautiful dish…and with a runny egg on top, I'm in love. I've got some red beans soaking right now, with some sort of plans for good seasonings, some rice and a poached egg. Found the idea in a cajun cookbook.

  4. Dan February 19, 2011 at 7:39 pm #

    the lime sounds like a great flavour to add to that rice and beans dish!

  5. Angela FRS July 7, 2011 at 11:05 pm #

    Test comment

  6. Boulder Locavore November 9, 2011 at 3:43 pm #

    I love Gallo Pinto! I did a post on it also after being in Costa Rica this summer and eating every morning. Seems so much more appealing than breakfast cereal, doesn't it? Well timed with the chilly weather too, thank you!

  7. Christine (Cook the Story) January 9, 2012 at 1:18 pm #

    Made this on Friday (as per the meal plan). I cannot tell you how good it was. Fresh-tasting from the cilantro, spicy and interesting (used the liquid from a can of chipotles in adobo since I didn't have the chile paste) while also being super comforting (anything with an egg on it makes my tummy warm and happy). And The Hubs loved it. Said we could have it anytime even though it doesn't contain meat. Score!

  8. Angela January 13, 2012 at 3:30 am #

    Very glad you all liked it! It really is a staple in our house, and I think it would convince most carnivores. Thanks for the shout out, too.

  9. Jessie January 13, 2012 at 4:33 am #

    Angela- I this this is the epitome of everything I've been craving lately. I'll have to make it this weekend. Looks so good!


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