Pabellon Criollo

A plate of Venezuelan steak, rice, and beans

The Spruce Eats / Ali Redmond

Prep: 30 mins
Cook: 2 hrs 15 mins
Total: 2 hrs 45 mins
Servings: 6 to 8 servings
Nutrition Facts (per serving)
377 Calories
21g Fat
19g Carbs
28g Protein
Show Full Nutrition Label Hide Full Nutrition Label
Nutrition Facts
Servings: 6 to 8
Amount per serving
Calories 377
% Daily Value*
Total Fat 21g 26%
Saturated Fat 6g 28%
Cholesterol 75mg 25%
Sodium 854mg 37%
Total Carbohydrate 19g 7%
Dietary Fiber 5g 16%
Total Sugars 2g
Protein 28g
Vitamin C 8mg 38%
Calcium 56mg 4%
Iron 3mg 18%
Potassium 597mg 13%
*The % Daily Value (DV) tells you how much a nutrient in a food serving contributes to a daily diet. 2,000 calories a day is used for general nutrition advice.
(Nutrition information is calculated using an ingredient database and should be considered an estimate.)

Pabellon criollo is a traditional beans and rice dish of Venezuela. Black beans (caraotas negras) and rice are accompanied by tender slices of flank steak that have been cooked with tomatoes.

The name pabellón means flag, and the dish is arranged on the plate so that the red tomatoes and steak, black beans, and the white rice resemble the three stripes of a tri-color flag. It is also considered a reference to the Indigenous, African, and European backgrounds of the Venezuelan population. The lands were colonized by the Spanish in 1522, and starting in the 18th century colonizers enslaved people in Africa and brought them to Venezuela to work at cocoa farms. Slavery was abolished in 1854.

Serve pabellon criollo with slices of fried plantain (tajadas) on the side (con barandas, or siderails) and/or with a fried egg on top (a caballo).


  • 1 1/2 pounds flank steak

  • 2 teaspoons bouillon cubes

  • 4 clove cloves minced garlic

  • 6 tablespoons vegetable oil

  • 1 1/2 teaspoons salt

  • 1 cup white rice, soaked for 20 minutes in warm water

  • 1 cup chopped onions (2-3 medium onions)

  • 1 15-ounce can black beans

  • 1 teaspoon chicken bouillon cube

  • 1 1/2 teaspoons cumin

  • 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder

  • 1 tablespoon vinegar

  • 2 tablespoons butter

  • 2 medium tomatoes, diced

Steps to Make It

  1. Gather the ingredients.

    Ingredients to make Pabellon Criollo

    The Spruce Eats / Ali Redmond

  2. Place the flank steak in a pot with the bouillon, and cover with water.

    A large pot with flank steak, bouillon, and water

    The Spruce Eats / Ali Redmond

  3. Bring to a boil and simmer on low for 1 1/2 hours, or until the meat is tender. Remove from heat and set aside.

    A pot of steak and broth cooking

    The Spruce Eats / Ali Redmond

  4. Saute half of the minced garlic in a medium pot with 4 tablespoons of the vegetable oil for 1 to 2 minutes over medium heat.

    A pot of garlic and oil cooking

    The Spruce Eats / Ali Redmond

  5. Add 2 cups water and 1 teaspoon salt and bring to a boil.

    A pot of water and garlic boiling

    The Spruce Eats / Ali Redmond

  6. Add the rice to the boiling water, lower the heat, and simmer the rice, covered, for 10 to 15 minutes. Turn off the heat and leave the rice covered for 5 minutes more.

    A pot of cooked rice

    The Spruce Eats / Ali Redmond

  7. Add the remaining 2 tablespoons vegetable oil to a skillet, and saute half the chopped onions with the rest of the minced garlic until soft.

    A pan of garlic and onions cooking

    The Spruce Eats / Ali Redmond

  8. Add the can of black beans (undrained), 1/2 cup water, chicken bouillon, cumin, garlic powder, vinegar, and 1/2 teaspoon salt, and simmer on low heat for about 10 minutes, until the liquid is reduced.

    A pot of onions, black beans, and bouillon cooking

    The Spruce Eats / Ali Redmond

  9. Slice the cooled steak against the grain into thin slices. The meat should be very tender and falling apart. Shred the larger pieces into bite-size pieces with your fingers.

    A photo of flank steak on a cutting board with slices cut

    The Spruce Eats / Ali Redmond

  10. Add 2 tablespoons butter to a skillet and cook the rest of the chopped onions until soft. Add the tomatoes, 1 cup of the steak pan juices, and the sliced steak and simmer for 3 to 5 minutes. Remove from heat and cool.

    A pan with shredded steak, tomatoes, and onion cooking

    The Spruce Eats / Ali Redmond

  11. Arrange the meat and tomatoes on 1/3 of a serving platter. Place the rice next to the meat, and then place the beans on the other side of the rice, to resemble the stripes of a tri-color flag.

    A plate with a porition of beans, rice, and steak

    The Spruce Eats / Ali Redmond

  12. Serve with fried plantains on the side and enjoy!

    A plate of Pabellon Criollo and a plate of fried plantains

    The Spruce Eats / Ali Redmond

Raw Egg Warning

Consuming raw and lightly-cooked eggs poses a risk of food-borne illness.