Costa Rica's typical breakfast.

Gallo pinto (painted rooster) is a national food staple in Costa Rica and can be served with breakfast, lunch and dinner.  While many countries claim to have invented gallo pinto, Costa Ricans pride themselves on their version of the dish made by frying up white rice, black beans and topping with the distinguishing ingredient – salsa Lizano – a tangy & savory sauce.

Gallo Pinto

Recipe courtesy of Mallela Gomez Araya (mother of Gaby, our Costa Rica Office Program Manager)


The most important ingredient is Salsa Lizano!   It’s the key ingredient to making Costa Rican gallo pinto so we don’t recommend substituting it with other sauces.


4 cups of cooked long grain rice

2 cups of cooked black beans with half a cup of broth

3 garlic cloves, minced

½  cup chopped white onion

1 chopped chile dulce (sweet pepper)

1 tablespoon chopped cilantro

½  cup Salsa Lizano

1 tsp. butter or oil



Fry the garlic on high for about 2 minutes in a large frying pan. We recommend using a deep frying pan (you can also use a pot if you don’t have one).   A wok also works great!
Lower the heat and add butter or oil, pepper, 1 tablespoon of cilantro and onion. Sauté for a couple minutes.
Add beans with the broth and Salsa Lizano. You can add more or less Salsa Lizano depending on how you like it.
Bring to a boil for about 1 minute.
Lower heat, add rice.
Simmer for about 20 minutes, mixing occasionally until all the excess liquid is absorbed.
Stir in fresh cilantro and serve!
Pura Vida!