Cool Beans

We’re all running a bit behind this week and things have gotten a little hectic. Thankfully it’s almost the weekend, and fortunately we’ve had some fabulous beans to use throughout the week in various dishes.

We first whipped up this recipe for the popular Nicaraguan Gallo Pinto last Sunday with our Nicaraguan steak and Mormom Johnnycake, and the leftovers have graced our table ever since. Gallo pinto is a traditional Nicaraguan dish of rice and beans cooked together.

For this particular version, Mr. N selected black beans – his favorite. We soaked our beans according to the package directions and then simmered them for an hour and a half in a sauce pan with about 8 to 10 cloves of garlic and water. 

We also tossed in sea salt, cumin and a bit of nutmeg for seasonings. As the beans were nearing completion we then diced up some onion and chopped a small bunch of fresh cilantro.

Next we sautéed the onions in a large skillet for about three to five minutes. We then mixed in the cooked black beans and cilantro, cooking them together for another five minutes. Finally we stirred in about 3 cups of cooked rice, seasoned it with salt and pepper and heated it over a low flame for another 5 minutes. To serve we topped it with some julienned slices of fresh mango.

The gallo pinto met pretty solid reviews. Both Mike and I gave the beans and rice 3 spoons and Mr. N gave it 4 spoons. Miss A was, unfortunately, turned off by the rice. She did however pick out all the mango and ate a few black beans making it a 2 spoon dish for her.

The beans and rice made for a filling and flavorful side dish with our Nicaraguan steak (recipe coming soon). It has also been a fantastic lunch tossed into a pita with spicy hummus, and Mike even enjoyed his in a burrito with some of the leftover steak. Mr. N has also gotten into the leftover action requesting multiple helpings of the beans with his dinners – in fact, he has yet to notice there are onions mixed in! Needless to say we’ll be making this again…and again.

Print this recipe: Gallo Pinto

43 thoughts on “Cool Beans

  1. Caroline says:

    I’m with Mr. N–black beans are my favorite kind. Love that you combined the beans with rice and cheese. How could it get much better than that!? I’m also liking Mike’s idea of using the beans in a burrito with the steak…drooling just thinking about it. YUMMM!! Oh, and I agree…thank God it’s the weekend. 😉

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  2. infinebalance says:

    LOL – I love that he has yet to notice the onions. Funny how you can only taste onions if you see them!

    I can see making this dish and it would do nicely for us for stuffing pitas for lunch all week.

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  3. spicegirlfla says:

    My son will love this!! He’s been asking me to make a black bean and rice side and I’ve been putting him off! He’ll be a happy boy with this and I will too. I think its a perfect side for the steak. Happy weekend…I too couldn’t wait for this week to end!

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  4. Three Well Beings says:

    As a vegetarian I eat a lot of rice and beans! Paired with the Johnny Cake this is a “can’t lose” recipe. And I could envision it traveling with me to work, which is a huge plus. I don’t often cook with black beans, but I love them, so thanks for the nudge in that direction. And congratulations on awards. Most deserving! Debra

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  5. ChgoJohn says:

    I’m always on the look-out for a good rice & beans dish and you’ve just lead me to another. As you pointed out, you can enjoy them as a main course or on the side. And I like ChefDad’s use of them in a burrito. YUM!

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  6. Dawn says:

    I’m glad you were able to post today and work didn’t get in the way. I completely understand where you are this week – if it wasn’t for all the snow days, I would be there as well. School was just cancelled again tomorrow!!

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    • Kristy says:

      That’s a lot of snow days for one week. Did you get some more baking in? And yes, this is definitely one of those weeks that needed to come to an end. I know you can relate! 🙂

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  7. sallybr says:

    You know how to make a Brazilian happy, don’t you? Rice and beans…. and you throw some mango just to make sure the happiness will last for a long time! 😉

    seriously, all flavors, including cilantro, appeal to my tropical side, which is always there, even in the ridiculous temperature of 45 F we had today (sigh)

    Lovely post!

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    • Kristy says:

      LOL! Mango is a great way to make me happy too. 🙂 I’ll trade the 45F for our 14F today. Burrr!!! 45 would feel down right tropical after today. In all seriousness I can’t complain about this winter. It’s been mild and relatively dry. (Until today – ha!)

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  8. Kay aka Babygirl says:

    Maybe Miss A will come around to liking beans. When I was little, you couldn’t make me eat beans unless my mom told me too lol. I now only prefer dried black beans, but I am eating them. I also know you’re new to beans as well.. so maybe she needs a little time. Her and Mr. N’s palate are vastly different.. but better than most ;). This looks great

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    • Kristy says:

      You’re right…I’m new to beans too. Great memory Kay! I think she’ll come around. Some days she seems happy to see them on the table, other days not so much. She definitely has a different palate than Mr. N – and tends to eat based on her mood. 😉

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  9. Just A Smidgen says:

    Hi Kristy! Now this is the second time I’ve read about Gallo Pinto beans in the last little while… clearly they are calling to me, as is your recipe! I love a dish like this and would eat it on its’ own for dinner for “meatless” night. I love all of the flavors you’ve got in here! Mmmm:)

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  10. smartfoodandfit says:

    I love beans, there’s so much you can do with them. Not to mention that they are great source of protein, fiber, and calcium too! We added some black beans to our chilie tonight and added pasta instead of rice to change it up a bit.

    Adding fresh herbs and fruit always makes it taste and look spectacular. It’s funny too that you post cilantro as I’m craving it for my morning smoothie ~pineapple cilantro with green tea smoothie. I have to go to the store before it snows! Hope your week (almost weekend) slows down so you can relax!

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  11. Kelly @ Inspired Edibles says:

    Kristy, I love all the Nicaraguan dishes you’ve featured so far… the robust spices and delicious, fresh ingredients… I’m with Mr. N on the black beans – yum! – and mango is the perfect complement… it sounds like it was an absolute hit with your family and I know it would be with ours too!

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    • Kristy says:

      I’m with Mr. N too. Black beans are fantastic! I’ve had them in so many different dishes and have loved each and every one. This particular one has to be up near the top though. So versatile!

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  12. Charles says:

    Anything with fresh cilantro gets my vote. That stuff is like the world’s most amazing herb I think 😀 Fantastically fresh looking dish Kristy – loving the choice of black beans too… makes a beautiful contrast against the rice and green cilantro too.

    Hope you’ll be able to have a calm weekend. I’m on weekend from now as my company is moving to a new office so we all get the day off on Friday – hooray 🙂

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    • Kristy says:

      I’m with you Charles – cilantro has got to be one of my favorite herbs. And to think I only started using it this year. Now there’s always some in my fridge! Hope you had a great day off today. I’m definitely ready for a calm weekend. We also are heading out with friends to one of my favorite restaurants. Hopefully this one will still live up to my memories. 😉

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  13. A_Boleyn says:

    Rice and beans are the complete protein combination most often recommended for vegetarians to add to their diet so this is a healthy as well as a tasty side dish or main. I am looking forward to the steak recipe to be posted though. 🙂

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