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Costa Rican Gallo Pinto

Black beans rice eggs sour cream

My husband and I recently spent a week traveling in Costa Rica (hence the short hiatus of new recipe posts! Sorry about that!) We flew into Liberia where we rented a car and drove along the pacific coast stopping at Tamarindo and Samara.

We really enjoyed both towns for several different reasons. Tamarindo was a bit larger and more touristy, while Samara was a smaller surf town with lots of locals. While Samara had several restaurants that catered to vegan foods, the two towns still had lots in common when it came to food. One particular dish I noticed was a breakfast staple in both locations. Upon reading its description I knew I had to try it: Gallo Pinto.

I first read about Gallo Pinto in our travel guide by Blue Planet. It describes it as a traditional Costa Rican breakfast dish consisting of rice, black beans, red pepper and sour cream, and accompanies eggs (any style), and usually fried plantains as well.

The first place we stayed in Tamarindo was a beautiful bed and breakfast on the grounds of a tennis club, that even had its very own smoothie bar right by the pool. (Here’s some casual instagram shots to show you guys how beautiful this place was.) It was called 15 Love, check them out here.


They had an amazing breakfast served every morning (with a complimentary smoothie of course) with lots of options. Gallo Pinto immediately jumped out to me when I picked up the menu. I love a savory breakfast, especially one that’s going to be filling and give me lots of energy for the day. The rice and beans had such a rich flavor to them, and the red peppers gave it an extra kick. I enjoyed mine with scrambled eggs and a few splashes of a traditional Costa Rican hot sauce. It was also served with a side of sour cream.

While I definitely wanted to relax and have fun on our vacation, I was also looking forward to using it as a learning experience and an excuse to try lots of different foods that would take me out of my comfort zone, but most importantly that I could incorporate into my own cooking, and share with all of you! Check out the recipe below to try it for yourself, I think you will quickly see this become a regular breakfast staple in your week as well.

Costa Rican Gallo Pinto

Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 25 minutes
Total Time 40 minutes
Servings 2 people


  • 1 cup white rice
  • 1 can black beans drained and rinsed
  • 1 red bell pepper
  • 2 eggs
  • 2 tbsp sour cream


  1. Bring 2 cups of water to a boil over high heat. Add the rice, reduce to low heat, and simmer, covered, until rice is fully cooked and fluffy. (The rice can also be made in the instant pot).
  2. While the rice is cooking, core, seed, and dice the bell pepper. Drain and rinse the beans. Add the beans and peppers to a medium pot with olive oil, salt, and pepper and simmer over low heat for about 10 minutes.

  3. Cook the eggs anyway you prefer. I like mine scrambled, but over easy would be delicious as well.
  4. When the rice is done, mix in the beans and bell pepper and stir to combine. Serve with eggs, a side of sour cream, and plenty of hot sauce of your choosing.
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