Nicaraguan Gallo Pinto (Black Beans and Rice)

Gallo Pinto Recipe

Some of our best friends in Mexico were originally from Nicaragua and Costa Rica.  I understand that Gallo Pinto is a staple  in both countries.  We learned to eat Gallo Pinto from them.  Benito makes the BEST Gallo Pinto.  His daughters say his is the best because he makes it with the most oil.  Gallo Pinto is supposed to be fried rice and beans.  We know everything fried tastes better right?  Now this is my recipe and is not nearly as good as I remember Benito making it, but it’s as close as I’ve come.  It is a skinny version.  When I am feeling skinny enough I will (ahem) double the oil in the recipe and it it much tastier.  This is a great recipe to make whenever you have leftover rice! 

What you will need: 

1/2 medium onion (chopped)

1 or 2 cloves garlic (crushed)

2  tablespoons bacon grease

(I’ve used olive oil before but it’s tastier with bacon grease.)

About 2 cups cooked rice

1 can (16 oz) black beans

Salt and Pepper to taste

Process onionsWhen I’m just making Gallo Pinto for me, I just chop the onions and fry them in the oil, but I have several onion phobic kids.  It takes a little more time, but if you first process the onions the dish will have all the flavor without anyone having to bite into an onion. 

Fry onions until goldenFry the onions in the oil until the onions are sweet and golden.  Then add the garlic and fry just a little longer.

Add black beansAdd the black beans and bring to a boil. 

Add rice to black beans Add the rice to the skillet and fry until heated through and beginning to get a little crispy at the bottom.

Gallo Pinto Rice and BeansThis is a great addition to breakfast, lunch, or dinner! 

Gallo Pinto Black Beans and RiceI even love it as a meal in itself!  So much of the world lives on rice and beans.  Save a little money each week by have one meal of rice and beans!  With lime, avocados, and salsa this is perfect!    I love it with chopped cilantro and peppers or my favorite salsa. 

  Gallo Pinto Nicaraguan Black Beans and RiceHomemade salsa is always great too of course! 




  1. Frieda says

    The main difference in the way I remember them making it in Nicaragua–besides of course the beans weren’t out of a can–was that they used LOTS of oil, and some used hog lard which was even better (like the bacon grease). They fried the beans until they were a little bit crispy before putting in the rice. Yours is no doubt more healthful and it looks delicious. They also ate salty white Nicaraguan cheese with it. Maybe some of your readers don’t know that “gallo pinto” means spotted rooster?

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