When you think of traditional Costa Rican cuisine, chances are that one dish immediately comes to mind: chifrijos. 

Chifrijos, coming from the words  “chifri” and “frijol,” which translates to “beans with pork,” is a staple at many restaurants in Costa Rica, and it is beloved by locals and tourists alike. 

This simple yet classic dish is traditionally made with four components: red kidney beans, chicharrones (or pork belly), chimichurri, and rice.

Macro Breakdown & Calories

  • Calories: 567 Calories
  • Carbohydrates: 21 grams
  • Protein: 11 grams
  • Fat: 49 grams

Chifrijo IngredientsChifrijos

Chicharrones

Chicharrones are fried pork belly seasoned with traditional central American spices (we’re using cumin, garlic powder, salt, and pepper.) They give the chifrijos a crunchy texture and rich flavor. Pork belly is a traditionally used protein in this region of the world, but chicken, beef, or even crispy tofu can be used as a substitute. 

Chimichurri

Chimichurri is a classic Central and South American condiment similar to salsa. This sauce adds the perfect balance of acidity and brightness to the chifrijos. Traditional ingredients include garlic, parsley, red wine vinegar, oregano, olive oil, and salt. You can adjust the seasoning by adding more or less of each ingredient.

Red Kidney Beans

Red kidney beans are a staple in Costa Rican cuisine and provide a great fiber and protein source. You can use canned red kidney beans or dry beans cooked according to package instructions.

White Rice

White rice is the traditional side for chifrijos; it provides a base on which all other components are layered. It’s also a great source of complex carbohydrates and can easily be substituted with a higher protein alternative such as quinoa. Alternatively, this dish is sometimes served with fried potatoes. 

Additional Toppings

Chifrijos are traditionally served with avocado, sour cream, or cilantro. You can add other toppings like diced tomatoes, pickled radishes, or onions. Adding these additional toppings creates more of a meal-like experience and adds extra flavor. 

How To Make ChifrijoChifrijo Recipe

Step 1

Start with prepping your chicharrones. 

Cut your pork belly into cubes and season with cumin, garlic powder, salt, and pepper. Let this sit for up to an hour if you have time to let the seasoning marinate. How to make Chifrijos

Then, heat the oil in a skillet and add the seasoned pork belly pieces once hot. 

Fry for about 15 minutes or until the insides are no longer pink. 

Once finished, remove from the oil with a slotted spoon. 

Step 2

While the chicharrones are in the oven, you can make the chimichurri sauce. 

Combine garlic, parsley, (both chopped), red wine vinegar, oregano, olive oil, and salt in a bowl. Mix until all ingredients are combined and your sauce is ready. Chifrijos ingredients

Step 3

Cook or warm your rice and beans as per the packaging. 

I used canned beans because they’re quick to prep (they’re also high in protein). 

I just drain and rinse them for the best texture and consistency (this also reduces the sodium in the dish).

Step 4

It’s time to assemble your chifrijos! 

Begin layering cooked rice, red kidney beans, and crispy chicharrones on a plate or shallow bowl. 

Drizzle the chimichurri sauce over your chifrijos. Add extra salt if needed.

Customizations Chifrijo Recipe

Swap the Protein

Try Different Toppings

  • Feel free to add other toppings like diced tomatoes, pickled radishes, onions, dried plantains, and more. 
  • You can add a pre-made salsa or chimichurri sauce for even quicker prep.
  • Add hot sauce to make this dish spicy

Make It Meat-Free

How To Store & Meal Prep: 

  • Chifrijos are great for meal prepping! Simply prepare the components and layer them in a container before refrigerating. When you’re ready to eat, warm up the chifrijos in the microwave and top with desired toppings. 
  • You can store the prepped dish in the fridge for up to 4 days in airtight containers.

Yield: 6

Chifrijos

Chifrijo

Chifrijos is a staple in Costa Rica and beyond delicious.

Prep Time 15 minutes
Total Time 15 minutes

Ingredients

  • 1 lb pork belly
  • 1 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1/2 tablespoon garlic powder
  • Salt to taste
  • ¼ tsp black pepper
  • 1/4 cup vegetable oil
  • 2 cloves garlic, finely chopped
  • 1 cup parsley leaves, chopped
  • 2 tablespoons red wine vinegar
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried mixed herbs
  • 1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
  • Salt to taste
  • 2 cups cooked red kidney beans, drained and rinsed
  • 2 cups white rice, cooked according to package instructions
  • 1 avocado

Instructions

  • Cut pork belly into cubes, then season with cumin, garlic powder, salt, and pepper. 
  • Heat oil in a skillet. Once hot, place the seasoned pork belly pieces in the pan and cook for about 15 minutes. Once finished, remove from oil.
  • Meanwhile, make the chimichurri sauce by combining the garlic, parsley, red wine vinegar, oregano, olive oil, and salt in a bowl. Mix until all ingredients are combined.
  • To assemble chifrijos, layer cooked rice on the bottom of a plate or shallow bowl, followed by red kidney beans, and top with crispy chicharrones.
  • Drizzle chimichurri sauce over the top and serve with optional toppings like avocado, sour cream, or cilantro.
  • Enjoy your delicious traditional Costa Rican chifrijos!

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Nutrition Information:

Yield:

6

Serving Size:

1

Amount Per Serving: Calories: 524Total Fat: 33gSaturated Fat: 8gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 24gCholesterol: 64mgSodium: 408mgCarbohydrates: 32gFiber: 6gSugar: 3gProtein: 25g

Nutritional info is an estimate.

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Chifrijo Recipe