Gallo Pinto Recipe

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Gallo pinto is just fried rice with black beans. It may sound simple, but it has a lot of personality; onion, bell pepper and garlic “sofrito” that makes these beans shine.

Despite that gallo pinto is literally translated as “spotted rooster”, this recipe is 100% vegetarian. This is a flavorful latin option for a meatless monday. Also, beans are a great source of highly absorbable protein that makes a vegan/vegetarian diet sustainable for the body.

In Central and South America there are many recipes that feature beans (black beans, red beans, pinto beans, white beans, etc). For example, in Venezuela our national meal is “pabellón criollo” and one of the components is black beans, which we call “caraotas”. I must say that it’s utterly yummy.

The reason behind the popularity of beans in the continent is that they are extremely cheap and it goes a long way for large families.

Besides the price appeal, beans are extremely nutrient dense, high in fiber, and as I mentioned, a great source of protein. You can read about the full list of benefits here.

How to season the beans for gallo pinto?

The flavor in this recipe lies in the black beans. The way I prepare black beans comes directly from my grandma.

The trick is to make a “sofrito”. That means cooking diced onion, bell pepper, and garlic with a bit of oil before cooking the black beans. This magnifies the flavor way better than just adding the veggies and letting them simmer with the beans.

Making a sofrito as a base for any bean is one of the best pieces of advice that my grandma gave me in my cooking journey.

Then I like to add a bay leaf and a handful of cilantro for more latin flavor.

What to eat with gallo pinto?

Gallo pinto can be eaten by itself as a main dish. But, traditionally, it’s used as a side dish and you can eat it with the following options: 

  • Avocado
  • Queso fresco (hard white cheese) 
  • Tajadas (fried ripe plantains) 
  • Tostones (fried green plantains) 
  • Carne mechada (shredded meat) 
Gallo Pinto
Prep Time
5 mins
Cook Time
15 mins
 
Gallo pinto is just fried rice with black beans. It may sound simple, but it has a lot of personality; onion, bell pepper and garlic “sofrito” that makes these beans shine.
Course: Main Course
Cuisine: puerto rican
Keyword: gallo pinto
Servings: 2 people
Ingredients
  • 1 can black beans 400 gr
  • 1 cup uncooked rice
  • 1 onion
  • ½ red bell pepper
  • 3 garlic cloves
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 2 tbsp fresh cilantro
  • 2 tbsp olive oil divided
  • Salt
Instructions
The rice:
  1. In a pot over medium heat pour 1 tbsp of olive oil.
  2. Mince 1 garlic and add it to the oil, cook for 10 sec and then add a cup of rice. Pour 2 cups of water and add a pinch of salt.
  3. Cover with a lid and simmer over low heat for 10 minutes until the rice is done.
The black beans:
  1. Dice the onion and bell pepper. Mince the remaining 2 garlic cloves.
  2. In a pot pour 1 tbsp of olive oil and toss the diced vegetables. Cook for 1 minute and stir to avoid burning.
  3. Pour the can of black beans (with liquiand season with the bay leaf, fresh cilantro, and salt to taste. Simmer for ten minutes.
Assembling the Gallo Pinto
  1. Remove the bay leaf.
  2. Mix the cooked rice with the black beans. Stir and serve.

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