Turn Basic Beans Into Muscle Building Superheroes + Gallo Pinto Recipe

the body book - the longevity book, cameron diaz

Animals and plants can both be sources of protein. Whether you’re eating a burger or a burrito, all of the protein you eat, will be broken down into amino acids, the basic building blocks of protein.

Your body can then choose from those amino acids to build precisely the proteins it needs… proteins that will be muscles, proteins that will be enzymes, proteins that will be hormones. But the different processes need different amino enzyme combinations, so if any of necessary amino acids are missing, the whole operation is stalled.

Animal proteins are great because they are already complete and fully amino stocked. Examples include lean, red meat, poultry, and fish, and eggs, milk, and cheese.

Plants are also a good source of protein because they contain amino acids, but different plants have different amino acids clusters. When you pair the right plants together, they combine to form a complete protein.

Want to SUPERPOWER your beans? Just eat ‘em with some rice.

Call it nutritional intuition, but cultures across the States and the globe have been pairing up delicious combinations of plant-based proteins and grains for centuries. These simple combinations are a great way to maximize the benefits of plant-based proteins.

  • • Tacos: Mexican food combines corn tortillas with beans
  • • Succotash: Native Americans paired corn with beans
  • • Sushi: The Japanese pair rice with soy
  • • Peanut stew: West African cuisine incorporates rice and peanuts
  • • Cajun red beans and rice: The official Monday dish in New Orleans restaurants
  • • Dal: Indian lentils served over rice
  • • Chana Masala: Indian chickpea dish eaten with rice
  • • Mujadara: Syrian lentil and rice stew

Here’s a recipe for one of our favorite rice and beans dish, Gallo Pinto, a traditional breakfast dish eaten in Costa Rica.



  • 1 cup cooked brown rice
  • 1 onion, finely chopped
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 clove garlic
  • 1 red pepper, finely chopped
  • 1 cup black beans
  • juice from one lime
  • 2 tbsp worcestershire sauce (to make this a vegan dish, use Annie’s brand)
  • 1/3 cup cilantro
  • salt & pepper to taste
  • 1 large plantain
  • 1 tbsp walnut oil
  • 1 tbsp honey or agave
  • 4 corn tortillas
  • 2 eggs, poached or scrambled


  1. Heat olive oil over medium heat. Add onions, red pepper and sauté until the onions become translucent. Stir in the beans, lime juice, worcestershire sauce, and salt. Continue to cook about 4-5 minutes. Stir in half the rice and cilantro. Cook for 2-3 more minutes.
  2. While the beans cook, poach or your scramble eggs. If you want a tostado that is easier to eat with your hands, I recommend scrambled.
  3. Next, heat the walnut oil and honey in a skillet. Slice the plantain in 1/2” thick slices and add to oil.
  4. Cook on each side for 3-4 minutes until plantain is soft.
  5. Assemble your rice, beans and plantains and sprinkle with remaining the cilantro.

Do you have a favorite rice and beans dish? Tell us in the comments below and share your recipe.

Try more of our bean-based dishes: One-Pot Chili, Pinto Beans from Scratch, and bMacrobiotic Hijiki Avocado Salad.

Recipe adapted from Food.com