When Bobby finished his Peace Corps stint in the highlands of Matagalpa, a small city in the northern coffee plantations of Nicaragua, we opened a small guesthouse and cafe (La Buena Onda). After my own two-year stint in the Ecuadorian Andes, where the local fare subsists largely of papas, I was not prepared to cook rice Nica-style! Bobby quickly inducted me to a cooking method and tradition that I’ve never questioned since. This is undoubtedly the most delicious way to prepare rice.

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Traditional Gallo Pinto

This classic Nicaraguan dish is easy as pie! Add equal portions of rice and cooked black beans to a frying pan with a splash of coconut oil (or substitute with vegetable oil or olive oil). Fry until the rice is crispy and browned. Serve as a side dish, or top with fresh salsa and avocado. Add an egg sunny-side up for protein!

Nicaraguan black bean soup




Nicaraguan Carrot Black Bean Rice

  • Yield: 4-6 servings


  • Coconut oil or Olive oil – 1 tablespoon
  • Yellow onion – 3/4 cup diced yellow onion
  • Carrots – 1 or 2 carrots, diced
  • White rice – 1 cup white rice
  • Water – 2 cups water


  1. In a medium pot, heat the olive oil over medium-high heat.
  2. Add the onions and saute until translucent.
  3. Add the carrots and saute for 3 more minutes.
  4. Add the rice and stir for about 3 minutes, lightly toasting the grains.
  5. Add the water and cover the pot with a lid. Bring the water to a boil, and then reduce to a simmer.
  6. Cook for about 30 minutes, or until the rice has fully absorbed the water. Check once or twice to make sure the rice isn’t burning the bottom of the pot.
  7. When the rice is cooked, remove it from the heat and sprinkle with sea salt. Store the rice in the pot on the stovetop in the winter, or in the fridge in the summer. Scoop it out as needed.
  8. Servie with anything and everything! Add to soups, cradle sauteed vegetables, or just eat as is!

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