Healthy is the New Sexy with Costa Rica's Gallo Pinto

Adding a sexy, healthy spin to our familiar breakfast menu of pancakes, eggs and cereal is now easier than ever with Costa Rica’s “gallo pinto.” A recent study published by Nutrition Journal found that the pairing of any type of beans with rice can help stop unhealthy blood sugar spikes in adults with type 2 diabetes. With 25.8 million people in the U.S. living with this condition, Costa Rican “gallo pinto” is both a healthy and creative alternative to the mundane breakfast menu.

Gallo pinto

A side dish traditionally served in Costa Rican breakfasts, the typical mix of rice and beans, also known as “gallo pinto,” can now be served with a Costa Rican flair that includes an elaborate selection of nutritious ingredients for those seeking to lead a healthier lifestyle with a little bit of spice. And everyone agrees that adding a bit of spice is a great, sexy move!

As firm believers of the farm-to-table movement since before it became popular, Costa Ricans are experts at creating delicious meals from fresh, local ingredients grown through sustainable farming methods. The National Plan for Healthy and Sustainable Food, one of Costa Rica’s latest efforts to promote its competitiveness as a culinary destination, encourages the revival of highly nutritious and tasty traditional dishes such as “gallo pinto.” Previously lost in Costa Rica’s culinary offerings, the nutritional value of the classic mix of rice and beans has been rediscovered.

The following is a contemporary recipe for Costa Rican “gallo pinto”:

1 ounce of fresh culantro
4 garlic cloves
2 ½ tablespoons of chopped onions
2 ½ tablespoons of chopped sweet peppers
2 ½ tablespoons of butter
3 teaspoons of salt
2 ½ cups of cooked rice
1 cup of drained black or red beans
½ cup of beans broth
Worcestershire sauce (a substitute to the local Costa Rican sauce)

Sauté onions, sweet pepper and garlic with 2 ½ tablespoons of butter until crystallized. Add beans and broth until the broth is reduced halfway. Then add salt, cooked rice and mix well. Once mixed, add Worcestershire sauce to taste. At the end, add cilantro and check the seasoning.

*Serves 3-4 people
**Additions may include tomatoes, green onions, and protein such as pork, chicken and beef.

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