This vegetarian dinner is soooo satisfying. It’s rice and beans with tons of flavor, inspired by a Costa Rican dish sometimes served with a fried egg on top. Please put the fried egg on top. It’s the best part!
I really like doing a vegetarian dinner once a week. It’s healthy and economical too. However, I seem to be a real protein-craver so if I’m going to do vegetarian I need to make sure that there is a lot of protein in the dish. Gallo Pinto is perfect that way.
Gallo Pinto is a Nicaraguan and Costa Rican dish made mostly of rice and beans. The name means “spotted rooster” because of the speckled look of the dish. While the name is charming enough to make me want to cook this all the time, it’s the satisfying proteins that bring me back again and again. You see, the dish has a good helping of beans in it and it’s also often served with a fried egg on top. I find that having two protein sources really helps make a vegetarian meal more filling to me.
Gallo Pinto is usually made using a traditional sauce called Salsa Lizano (read about that here). I didn’t get any in time so I went with some chili powder instead. Not authentic by any means but I’m hoping the bit of smokiness and pepper flavors do something similar. If you’re planning ahead to make this, you can get Salsa Lizano online here.
To make this version of Gallo Pinto you sauté an onion with some bell pepper and shredded carrot in a medium sauce pan (like this size) until soft. Add in quite a bit of garlic and some chili powder and cook for a few seconds. Then you add rice, salt and water and cook it until the rice is soft. When it’s ready, topple in your cooked beans. I use whatever canned beans I have. In the picture, it’s chick peas (because that’s what I had that day) but black or red beans are more traditional.
Let that sit with the lid on for a few minutes while you fry some eggs. I go with sunny side up and definitely runny because the warm yolk mixed with the rice and beans is the best part. But do whatever style eggs you like best.
That’s it. Easy, right? I’m betting you’re going to love this recipe. Let me know what you think, or how you changed it, below in the comments. Have a great day!
- 2 tablespoons olive oil, divided
- 1 cup shredded carrots
- 1 small onion, chopped
- 1 red bell pepper, chopped
- 3 cloves of garlic, finely chopped
- 1 tablespoon chili powder
- 2 cups long grain white rice
- 3 and 1/2 cups water
- 1-14 ounce cans of beans (I use chick peas but black or red beans are traditional), drained
- 4-6 eggs
- In a medium-sized saucepan that has a lid warm 1 tablespoon of the olive oil over medium-high heat.
- Add the carrots, onion and bell pepper. Cook stirring occasionally for a few minutes until everything is nice and soft.
- Add the garlic and the chili powder and stir and cook for 30 seconds.
- Stir in the rice, 1/2 teaspoon of salt and the water.
- Increase heat to high and let it come to a boil. Reduce the heat to low, cover the pot and simmer it for 16-20 minutes until the rice is tender.
- Stir in the chickpeas. Remove the sauce pan from the heat and replace the lid so that everything stays warm.
- Heat the remaining 1 tablespoon of olive oil in a non-stick skillet over medium heat. Crack in the eggs. Cook to desired doneness (sunny side up and still runny is how I do it here).
- While the eggs are cooking, taste the rice mixture and add more salt if needed.
- Serve rice topped with fried eggs.
Photos are by Leigh Olson. Article and recipe by Christine Pittman.