Costa Rican Casado

Meet Gallo Pinto.

Or rather, meet the “No-Gallo Pinto.”  Gallo Pinto literally means “spotted rooster,” and this vegetarian version of the dish lacks rooster. Gallo Pinto is one Costa Rica’s national dishes and is typically served with a cabbage salad and fried plantains.  The whole plated combination is referred to as “casado.”

Gallo Pinto is a budget-friendly and healthy dish.  Vegetarian Gallo Pinto is even cheaper–no need to purchase chicken.  As an extra bonus, it’s quite easy to make at home!

No-Gallo Pinto (Vegan) Serves 8


  • 2 T oil
  • 1 chopped onion
  • 4 cloves garlic
  • 2 bell peppers, chopped
  • 2 cups rice (we used long grain white)
  • 15 oz black beans (cooked)
  • 1 chile in adobo sauce
  • 2 T paprika
  • 2 T Worcestershire sauce
  • 1 t coriander
  • 2 cups water
  • 13.5 oz light coconut milk


  1. Heat oil in large pan on medium.  Add onion and fry for 2-3 minutes.  Add garlic and bell peppers and fry for 2-3 more minutes.
  2. Add in all remaining ingredients.  Stir so that seasonings are distributed evenly.
  3. Bring to a boil, reduce heat, and simmer while covered until rice is cooked.  (Since we used white rice, it was about 20 minutes for us).

Serve with a salad and friend plantains.

The cabbage I put together was also light and easy to assemble.  Shredded cabbage, chopped tomato and cucumber, avocado, the juice of one lime, salt and pepper.  No real recipe there.  As for the plantains…

If you plan on sticking around the blog (and I really hope you do!), you’ll quickly become acquainted with fried plantains.  So many countries around the world put plantains to good use.

These are so good.  And so easy.  I think I’ll start making whole meals of fried plantains now.  Heat a pan, add a little oil or butter (or E.B.), toss in your plantain slices, flip when underside is brown.  Once they are good and browned, sprinkle with sea salt.

I love the emphasis on fresh fruits and vegetables within Costa Rican cuisine.  I know it’s also lame to say on Week 2 of The Pearl Project, but I was also thrilled with how easy this meal was to put together.  Sure, knife skills are necessary, but beyond that, no crazy culinary techniques are needed to make this taste great.

(The camera died during my picture-taking stage, so my posts are a little bit behind. Not to worry, the battery is now fully charged!)

Categories: Food, Latin American Food, Vegan, Vegetarian | 2 Comments

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2 thoughts on “Costa Rican Casado

  1. Mom Graesser

    That’s it. We’re coming back just so you can cook for us. What country would you suggest we attend for? 🙂

    • Cassandra

      Hmmm….tough decisions. I’m very much looking forward to screwing up French dishes!

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