Rice and beans is a combination found all over the world, but it’s not just for lunch and dinner. This dish, which translates to “painted rooster,” is a breakfast mainstay in Costa Rica. It is enhanced by a sofrito, a staple of Latin cuisine made from onion, bell pepper, and garlic.
Make it simpler: There are two easier versions of this recipe. One method is to forgo sautéing: simply bring the water to a boil and add the diced onions, peppers, and garlic to the water along with the rice. Alternatively, sauté the onions, peppers, and garlic and stir them into any leftover cooked rice that you have on hand.
Make it authentic: In Costa Rica, this dish is traditionally served with Salsa Lizano (available online), a tangy hot sauce that tastes more like black pepper than chile pepper. You can also serve gallo pinto topped with baked or sautéed plantain slices drizzled with lime juice—with or without Salsa Lizano.
¾ cup cooked or canned black beans, drained and rinsed
Hot sauce to taste
Sauté the onions and bell peppers in a pot over medium heat, stirring frequently, for about 8 minutes or until the onions start to turn light brown and translucent. Add water 1 to 2 tablespoons at a time as needed, to keep the onions from sticking to the pot.
Add the garlic and sauté for 1 minute more. Add 1 cup water and salt and bring the mixture to a boil.
Add the rice and return the mixture to a boil; cover the pot and reduce the heat to low. Cook the rice for about 20 minutes.
Remove from the heat, stir in the beans, and drizzle the Gallo Pinto with hot sauce.
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Jason Wyrick is the executive chef and publisher of The Vegan Taste. In 2001, Chef Jason reversed his diabetes by switching to a low-fat vegan diet. He is a New York Times best-selling author, has catered for companies such as Google, the Frank Lloyd Wright Foundation, and Farm Sanctuary, and has been a guest instructor in the Le Cordon Bleu program at Scottsdale Culinary Institute.