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Gallo Pinto Recipe – Costa Rican Breakfast Rice and Beans Bowl

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Gallo Pinto is an easy and delicious Costa Rica rice and beans breakfast bowl with loads of flavor! This easy 30 minute skillet meal is a great Costa Rican Rice and Beans Recipe that uses a combination of leftovers and fresh produce to make a lovely meal for any time of the day!

bowl of Costa Rican Gallo Pinto beside Skillet

Thank you to Stephany Salazar Nelson for sponsoring this post. And Thank YOU for supporting the brands that support me and allow me to continue to grow my blog. All opinions, recipe and photographs are my own.

Having a giant brunch on the weekend is such a great way to start the week, but I also love having meals like this for dinner, too! This 30 minute Gallo Pinto recipe is perfect for a weekend brunch but it also works well as a vegetarian dinner. It is filling, flavorful, and sure to be a hit with your family, no matter what time of day you serve it!

A bowl of rice with egg, tomato, black beans, sliced avocado, and fried plantains in the foreground, a cast iron skillet in the background

Jenni Ward/The Gingered Whisk is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to Amazon.com

Every now and then you find something that just seems like fate. That is totally what happened when I discovered this Lovely Amelia Travels book! Written by Stephany Salazar Nelson, this adorable book follows a little girl named Amelia as she travels the world with her parents.

In this first book in a series, Amelia and her parents visit Costa Rica. Amelia loves discovering beautiful places, trying new foods, and exploring the world around her. I mean, can a book be any more perfect for me? I knew I needed to share it with you, and also to create a fun, easy, and delicious meal that would accompany it.

A cast iron skillet on a blue napkin and a white bowl on a wooden table. Both are filled with gallo pinto, a rice and beans food dish

My girls and I have really enjoyed reading this book. It is told in the style of a travel journal written by Amelia and gives facts about the places where she visits. It does the magnificent job of being educational but fun and entertaining at the same time. The illustrations are beautiful and the writing is perfect for young children! I cannot wait to see where Amelia travels next!

A cast iron skillet filled with gallo pinto: a rice and beans dish with tomatos, eggs, and avocado

What is a typical Costa Rica Breakfast?

In Costa Rica, a typical breakfast is Gallo Pinto! It is a Costa Rican rice and beans made with leftovers with plenty of great toppings added in.

  • Sometimes Gallo Pinto is served with sausages, and sometimes with plantains. You usually see it with fried or poached eggs, but I chose to serve it with scrambled because I know my girls will eat scrambled better.
  • I also served our skillet Gallo Pinto with sweet fried cinnamon-sugar plantains, fresh sliced avocado, and tomatoes.

What does Gallo Pinto Taste Like?

Gallo Pinto is basically a scramble/hash of leftover rice and beans combined with eggs and fresh produce.

Costa Rican Rice and Beans is just the type of breakfast you would need to fuel up with before going on amazing adventures!

A cast iron skillet filled with gallo pinto, sitting on a blue napkin on a wooden table, surrounded by limes, halved avocado, and fried plantains

Tips for How to make Gallo Pinto Bowls Easy:

  • Use microwave pouches of rice to cut down on cooking time. Heat them up and dump them in the skillet!
  • Use canned reduced sodium black beans, drained and rinsed instead of cooking your own black beans from scratch.
  • You can sauté the onions and peppers earlier and store them in the fridge until ready to use, which means this meal will just need to be a heated through + frying the plantains and scrambling the eggs. A quick meal!

To be really authentic, serve your gallo pinto breakfast bowls with Salsa Lizano, which is a Costa Rican hot table sauce recipe – its kind of a cross between ketchup and salsa.

small girl reading a book in a chair
Yield: 4 servings

Gallo Pinto Breakfast Bowls

Gallo Pinto Breakfast Bowls

Gallo Pinto is an easy and delicious breakfast from Costa Rica with loads of flavor!  This easy 30 minute skillet meal uses a combination of leftovers and fresh produce to make a lovely meatless meal for any time of the day!

Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 25 minutes
Total Time 35 minutes


For the Rice and Beans:

  • 1 Bell Pepper, diced (or a few sweet mini peppers - I used yellow and orange)
  • 1/2 yellow onion, diced
  • 3 cloves garlic
  • 3/4 tsp cumin
  • 4 cups cooked white rice
  • 1 15-oz can black beans, rinsed and drained
  • 1/2 cup chopped cilantro
  • 2 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp pepper


  • 2 ripe plaintains
  • 3 TBS coconut oil
  • 2 TBSP brown sugar
  • 3/4 tsp cinnamon
  • 1/4 tsp salt

For the Eggs:

  • 4 Eggs


  • 2 ripe Avocados, sliced or diced
  • 3 Limes, cut into wedges
  • 3 TBSP chopped fresh cilantro leaves
  • 3 roma tomatoes, sliced or diced
  • Hot Sauce (optional)


To Make the Rice and Beans

  1. In a large non-stick skillet, heat the oil over medium-high heat.
  2. Saute the  bell pepper, and onion until soft, about 5 minutes.
  3. Add the garlic and cumin and stir, about 30 seconds, until fragrant.
  4. Add in the rice and black beans and cook, stirring occasionally, until everything is heated through.
  5. Stir in 1/2 cup cilantro, salt and pepper.
  6. Remove from heat and keep warm.

To Make the Plantains

  1. In the same skillet, warm the coconut oil.
  2. Slice the plantains into 1/2" thick diagonal coins.
  3. Toss the slices into the sugar, cinnamon and salt.
  4. When the oil is melted and hot, place the plantains in a single layer and cook until starting to turn brown and caramelized and soft (about 2-3 minutes).
  5. Flip and cook for an additional 2-3 minutes on the other side.
  6. Remove to a plate and tent with foil. Note - do NOT place them on a paper towel. They will stick and make a mess!

Scramble or Fry the eggs.

To Serve:

  1. Serve with avocado slices, lime wedges, chopped cilantro, romao tomatoes, and hot sauce.
  2. Enjoy!

Nutrition Information:



Serving Size:


Amount Per Serving: Calories: 830Total Fat: 31gSaturated Fat: 12gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 16gCholesterol: 186mgSodium: 1841mgCarbohydrates: 126gFiber: 21gSugar: 27gProtein: 21g

Did you make this recipe?

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kaycee linette

Thursday 14th of November 2019

I loved this website ;)

Emily Gough

Thursday 16th of August 2018

Is the calorie content really correct?? 879 per serving?? I eat a variance on this breakfast sometimes and always considered it a healthy option. Hopefully its the plantains that are making this so calorific (I don't often cook these)... If not, I'll have to make some serious alterations!

Deb Nash

Tuesday 13th of February 2018

This looks lovely! I would love to take my children anywhere, really, I'm not picky! I just want to give them a broader worldview.

Val - Corn, Beans, Pigs & Kids

Tuesday 13th of February 2018

First, the breakfast bowl looks delicious! And Second, I would love to take our children to England or Germany. We have family that live in England so we'd have our own personal tour guides. And our family is originally from Germany so I would love to discover that with our kids.


Tuesday 13th of February 2018

My daughter wants to go to Paris!

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