© Leclaire & Schenk
Gallo Pinto is a Costa Rican and Nicaraguan dish. It consists of rice and beans, fried and seasoned. The seasoning is moderate; it is not spicy hot.
In Nicaragua, small red beans are used; in Costa Rica, black beans are used. During the cooking process, some of the coloration of the beans used tints the rice.
Gallo Pinto is served as a side dish with either breakfast, lunch or dinner; sometimes it is served with all three in the same day.
At breakfast it is usually served to the side of some eggs, or a breakfast meat.
Everyone has their own variation of Gallo Pinto; some variations add coconut or coconut milk. The one additional critical ingredient, at least for people in Costa Rica, is Lizano Sauce.
Gallo Pinto is similar to “Moros y Cristianos” in Cuba, to Rice and Beans in Jamaica; and to Casamiento in El Salvador.
Beans and rice together make a complete protein.
Gallo Pinto probably originated in Nicaragua. The name dates from sometime in the 1900s, some think around the 1930s.
“Gallo pinto” means “painted rooster.” It is pronounced: “ga-yo pinto” (because two ll’s together in Spanish make a Y sound.)