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Costa Rican Black Beans and Rice (Gallo Pinto)

Gallo Pinto
The Casado Plate from The Blue Zones Kitchen. (David McLain/National Geographic)David Mclain / The Blue Zones Kitchen

Chef notes

I last visited Jose Guevara in Costa Rica in 2015 when he was he was 105 years old and gave me this recipe, his version of Costa Rican rice and beans. The genius of the Costa Rican kitchen is its ability to make a humble bean dish so delicious that you could eat it every day (in fact, many Ticos, as Costa Ricans refer to themselves, eat it for breakfast, lunch and dinner). It's often topped with eggs and Salsa Lizano (a bottled condiment, slightly sweet and acidic, that you can find on every restaurant table).


  • tablespoons vegetable oil
  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • 2 tablespoons Worcestershire sauce
  • cups cooked black beans (or one 8-ounce can black beans, drained)
  • 3 cups cooked long-grain white rice
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper (optional)
  • 1/2 avocado, sliced, for topping (optional)
  • Chilero hot sauce (optional)



In a large skillet, heat oil over medium heat. Add onion and sauté until it starts to wilt, about 4 minutes.


Add garlic and cook for another 5-7 minutes, or until vegetables are browned.


Add Worcestershire sauce and beans; turn heat to low and stir. Cook for 2-3 minutes more.


Add rice and stir to combine. Cook and stir until rice and beans are evenly distributed and are heated through. Season with salt and pepper to taste.


Top with sliced avocado, hot sauce and chopped cilantro.