Gallo Pinto – Costa Rican Rice & Beans Breakfast Platter

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Last Updated on May 24, 2020 by Chef Mireille

Costa Rican Breakfast

Desayuno Costariccense aka Costa Rican Breakfast is a filling meal with Rice & Beans known as Gallo Pinto as the centerpiece!

Gallo Pinto - Costa Rican Rice & Bean Breakfast Platter is a hearty and filling breakfast with rice and beans as the centerpiece, accompanied by eggs, cheese, chorizo, plantain, fruit and coffee.

Some of this might be a little outdated as I visited Costa Rica way back in 1998, but it was time to update this post (originally published in 2012) in 2020. Regardless if the Costa Rica details have changed, I can guarantee this traditional Gallo Pinto – Costa Rican Rice & Beans Breakfast Platter is still being served up in this Central American paradise.

Costa Rica

Have you ever been to Costa Rica? I went before it got popular. I don’t like places over crowded with tourists so I try to find little undiscovered places and then once they get really popular, that’s ok – been there done that. That just means it’s time to find a new corner of the globe to explore.

Costa Rica is one of the most stable countries in Central America. If you like nature & good food, this is a wonderful choice for your next vacation.

They have a diverse eco-system. You can drive through various climates as you drive up into the mountains.  You will start off and it will be pouring rain and then all of a sudden you will pass into a different climate zone and it will be sunny, hot and humid.  With active volcanos, rainforests, hot spring spas….it is a nature lover’s paradise.

They protect their environment and natural resources well.  Costa Rica is one of the few countries in Central America with safe drinking water.  People from all over the world go there to study environmental sciences.

Their animals are hormone free – you won’t see the huge cows you see roaming in America’s heartland.  Their animals may be half the size of ours, but their meat is double the flavor. Without hormones, very little flavor is needed to make their food delicious.  Even a simple piece of grilled meat with salt & pepper will bring a huge smile to your face.

There are cheap eateries on almost every street corner, kind of like our New York deli’s. For just a few dollars, you can get a casado plate, which will typically consist of rice & beans, fried plantain, salad and your choice of grilled or stewed chicken, beef or fish.

For more information about visiting Costa Rica, check out here my Costa Rica Travel post.

Costa Rican Breakfast

Today, we are going to focus on the Gallo Pinto – Costa Rican Rice & Beans Breakfast Platter. The first time I ordered the Costa Rican Breakfast Platter at my hotel, I was shocked with the huge platter of food the waiter put in front of me.

After that day, my breakfast the rest of the trip usually consisted of the fruit platter. Even that, was a huge plate of papaya, mango, banana and pineapple. After that, I was usually set until evening.

Since breakfasts are so large, many Costa Rican’s only eat twice a day – breakfast and dinner.

One day, I went on a tour visiting a coffee plantation, the rainforest and other sites.  A typical Costa Rican breakfast at a local farm was included in the tour.  I was anticipating some eggs, some kind of pork product, bread, fruit and their delicious coffee, which to me is an ample breakfast.  

Costa Rica Coffee Plantation
Coffee Plantation in Costa Rica

We were greeted with rice and beans, fried plantain, chorizo, queso de freir, chicarrones, toast & butter, fried eggs, fruit, juice &coffee.  Apparently this was not a special breakfast done for tourists, but is a typical breakfast.  I could only eat about 1/2 the plate.

No matter how little or many side dishes accompany it, Gallo Pinto – Rice & Beans is always the centerpiece of the Costa Rican Breakfast.

Breakfast LR PIN 2

So what goes into my version of Gallo Pinto – Costa Rican Rice & Beans Breakfast Platter?

Add a subheading (1)
  • Gallo Pinto – Costa Rican Rice & Breans
  • Eggs – usually fried eggs, but scrambled or omelette style can be made to personal preference
  • Queso Freir – South/Central American cheese that can be fried or grilled
  • Chorizo – smoked pork sausage – fried or grilled
  • Fried Ripe Plantain
  • Fresh Tropical Fruit
Breakfast LR 2

Before we get to the recipe you might want to check out these other filling High Protein breakfasts from the Dominican Republic and Dominica Breakfast.

Gallo Pinto - Costa Rican Rice & Bean Breakfast Platter
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Gallo Pinto – Costa Rican Rice & Beans Breakfast Platter

A hearty and filling breakfast with rice and beans as the centerpiece, accompanied by eggs, cheese, chorizo, plantain, fruit and coffee. Enjoy breakfast – Costa Rican style!
Prep Time15 mins
Cook Time30 mins
Soaking Time8 hrs
Course: Breakfast
Cuisine: Costa Rican
Servings: 8 people
Calories: 310kcal

Ingredients

  • 1/2 cup black beans soaked overnight
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 2 crushed garlic cloves
  • 2 tablespoons oil
  • 1 onion chopped
  • 1 bell pepper chopped
  • 2 tablespoons sofrito optional
  • 3 cups rice
  • 2 tablespoons cilantro finely chopped
  • salt to taste

Accompaniments

  • Fried Ripe Plantain
  • Eggs fried or preferential cooking method
  • Chorizo fried or grilled
  • Queso de Freir fried or grilled
  • Fresh Tropical Fruit
  • Coffee

Instructions

  • Cover beans with water and bring to a boil with bay leaf and garlic.  Reduce heat and simmer for about 1 hour, until the beans are tender.
  • Drain beans, but reserve the cooking liquid.
  • In a large measuring cup, combine reserved cooking liquid and water to equal 4 cups.
  • In a large pot, heat oil.  Add onions, bell pepper and sofrito (if using).
  • Saute until softened.
  • Add beans, salt and water and bring to a boil.  
  • Add rice, stir and return to a boil.
  • Once it is boiling, cover and reduce to simmer on low heat.
  • Cook until rice is tender and has absorbed all of the water, about 20 minutes.
  • Add cilantro and adjust salt, as needed.

Nutrition

Calories: 310kcal | Carbohydrates: 60g | Protein: 6g | Fat: 4g | Saturated Fat: 1g | Sodium: 5mg | Potassium: 169mg | Fiber: 2g | Sugar: 1g | Vitamin A: 472IU | Vitamin C: 20mg | Calcium: 27mg | Iron: 1mg
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About Chef Mireille

CHEF MIREILLE - AUTHOR, RECIPE DEVELOPER AND PHOTOGRAPHER FOR Global Kitchen Travels
***
Chef Mireille is a NYC based freelance chef instructor and food photographer. Due to her very diverse family background, she was able to travel and learn about global cultures and flavors from a young age. Her passion for culture, cooking, history and education had made her an expert on developing traditional globally inspired recipes & delicious fusion cuisine.
Her extensive travel history provides a plethora of background information and Travel Tips!

Reader Interactions

Comments

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  2. Jayashree T.Rao

    5 stars
    This looks so delicious and quite easy to prepare too. I would love to try this rice dish as I loved the flavours here.

  3. Mayuri Patel

    5 stars
    What a hearty breakfast, few years ago I made this famous Costa Rican Breakfast, but its not as inviting as yours. Its amazing how many cuisines world over have egg as their main ingredient. Gallo Pinto is so delicious.

    • Chef Mireille

      eggs are a quick and easy way to add protein to make sure it is a complete meal although in this meal, I dont think extra protein is needed. However, since it is a traditional breakfast it was probably created when people did mostly agrarian work so they needed hearty and filling breakfast for hard manual labor. This is why I think many breakfast in South America and the Caribbean are so high in protein. This is where people are cutting down sugar cane and doing other hard physical labor and most likely eating once twice a day!

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