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

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

  5. Test comment

  6. 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)

    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. 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. 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!

  10. […] easy and healthy is this Gallo Pinto from Seasonal and Savory, which I now make at least once every two […]

  11. […] easy and healthy is this Gallo Pinto from Seasonal and Savory, which I now make at least once every two […]

  12. […] easy and healthy is this Gallo Pinto from Seasonal and Savory, which I now make at least once every two […]

  13. […] I’ve been working on the following post for awhile. Since I’ve been focusing on healthy eating this month I thought it would be a good time to share it with you. It’s about one of the reasons why I find cooking healthy a bit challenging. Below my story you’ll find a recipe for one of my favorite healthy meals, Gallo Pinto, a Nicaraguan dish of rice and beans that I first found out about from this recipe by Seasonal and Savory. […]

  14. […] Nicaraguan style beans-and-rice is a meal in a bowl, with a very different flavor from Mexican food. I love this with avocado, cilantro, and a fried egg on top. […]

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