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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!

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!
bowl of Costa Rican Gallo Pinto beside Skillet

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

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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 fried 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.

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!
4.91 from 44 votes
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Course: 30 Minute Meal
Cuisine: Latin American
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 25 minutes
Total Time: 35 minutes
Servings: 4 servings
Calories: 830kcal
Author: Jenni – The Gingered Whisk


For the Rice and Beans:

  • 1 Bell Pepper diced (or a few sweet mini peppers – I used yellow and orange)
  • ½ yellow onion diced
  • 3 cloves garlic
  • ¾ tsp cumin
  • 4 cups cooked white rice
  • 1 15- oz can black beans rinsed and drained
  • ½ cup chopped cilantro
  • 2 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp pepper


  • 2 ripe plaintains
  • 3 TBS coconut oil
  • 2 TBSP brown sugar
  • ¾ tsp cinnamon
  • ¼ 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
  • In a large non-stick skillet, heat the oil over medium-high heat.
  • Saute the  bell pepper, and onion until soft, about 5 minutes.
  • Add the garlic and cumin and stir, about 30 seconds, until fragrant.
  • Add in the rice and black beans and cook, stirring occasionally, until everything is heated through.
  • Stir in 1/2 cup cilantro, salt and pepper.
  • Remove from heat and keep warm.
  • To Make the Plantains
  • In the same skillet, warm the coconut oil.
  • Slice the plantains into 1/2" thick diagonal coins.
  • Toss the slices into the sugar, cinnamon and salt.
  • 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).
  • Flip and cook for an additional 2-3 minutes on the other side.
  • 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:

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


Serving: 1g | Calories: 830kcal | Carbohydrates: 126g | Protein: 21g | Fat: 31g | Saturated Fat: 12g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 16g | Cholesterol: 186mg | Sodium: 1841mg | Fiber: 21g | Sugar: 27g




  1. I would love to start my day off with this! I can see this on my sunday brunch buffet I host! YUM!

  2. Looks like an AMAZING way to start the day!!

  3. This looks absolutely delicious – been looking for a recipe just like this to try out, and I think I’ve found it! Yum! 🙂

  4. Annemarie says:

    This looks amazing! It would make a great breakfast for dinner. Plantains are my weakness.

  5. Gallo Pinto is such a fantastic dish. I was so grateful when my friend’s grandmother from Costa Rica taught me how to make it a few years ago! Nothing beats a hearty Costa Rican breakfast with eggs, gallo pinto, and plantains!

  6. Carrie | Clean Eating Kitchen says:

    I’ve never heard of this before – it looks and sounds delicious! Such a hearty and healthy breakfast!

  7. This is such a delicious meal! My kids loved it too! Thanks for sharing!

  8. Jenni LeBaron says:

    I love the idea of a rice bowl for breakfast. These look fantastic!

  9. This is my kind of breakfast (well really I’m more of a brunch person). I would totally eat this for “breakfast for dinner”…several times a week!!

  10. That book sounds delightful!

    And I usually have cooked rice and beans around the house – sounds like a great way to use it. (I do need to find plantains here, though… love them!)

  11. Oh yummy! My husband would love this with a fried egg and plantains. Perfect way to start his day.

  12. I have to say I love everything about this recipe! It looks fresh and delicious! I look forward to trying it this weekend. Hubby is going to love it! If he can get some before I eat it all!

  13. Rezel Kealoha says:

    That book is super cute and this dish is so beautiful. I love all the pops of color and the addition of the fresh tomatoes.

  14. A healthy, hearty breakfast recipe and a great book are a great combination! Love this 🙂

  15. This looks like a dish my family would love, black beans and cilantro are big favourites here and I love the look of the plantain which I’ve never had before!

  16. Thank you for introducing me to a dish I’ve never tried before! This sounds like an incredible breakfast that could last me a couple of days. Can’t wait to give it a shot!

  17. Chef Mireille says:

    I remember these kind of hearty breakfasts when I was in Costa Rica but I don’t like avocados so I always had fresh mango with mine instead. I miss those breakfasts!

  18. We actually honeymooned in Costa Rica and I loved eating Gallo Pinto! It’s such a delicious, filling breakfast and I’m looking forward to making this for my girls soon!

  19. What a gorgeous looking breakfast! I love trying dishes like this from different places around the world.

  20. I’ve traveled all over the world but Costa Rica is one place I have not had the pleasure of visiting yet (although the hubby and I tried to take a last minute trip during the holidays. . .but all the hotels were booked). I always find it interesting to see and experience the foods that help other cultures start their day. This is such a carb and protein packed meal. Sure to keep the energy going throughout the morning.

  21. Britt @ A Lil' Sweet, Spice, & Advice says:

    I absolutely love that you used plantains in this breakfast bowl! It all sounds so wonderful. Will definitely be trying this soon!

  22. This looks delicious! The perfect way to bring a little Costa Rica into your day.

  23. We love traveling with our kids! My oldest has big plans to travel the world! This book looks like a great read.

  24. England….definitely England!

  25. My daughter wants to go to Paris!

  26. Val - Corn, Beans, Pigs & Kids says:

    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.

  27. 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.

  28. Emily Gough says:

    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!

  29. kaycee linette says:

    I loved this website 😉

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