Tico Tuesday: Vegetarian Dream
Costa Rica is a veggie paradise. Fresh (local) fruits and salads and the nutritious and flavorful staples described below are all this woman needs to be happy. Well, along with strong Costa Rican coffee and a daily hit of chocolate.
The “casado” is the ubiquitous Costa Rican plate. It consists of rice, black beans, plantain, cabbage salad, a soft corn tortilla and usually some meat. The marriage of the flavours and textures are what make this plate of food delicious, and their name “casado” means just that, “marriage”.
As a vegetarian, I ate this almost daily on my visits to Costa Rica, simply asking the chef to omit the meat.
And then, in the morning, the rice and the black beans are once again presented in the form of Gallo Pinto, a mixture of the black beans, rice, onion, herbs and spices, sometimes served with eggs.
I have made the Gallo Pinto at home, though there is a Costa Rican sauce called Lizano which the North American version is missing:
- 3 cups cooked rice
- 2 cups cooked black beans
- 1/2 onion, chopped
- 1 tablespoon green or red pepper
- 1-2 tablespoons coriander
- 3 tablespoons Lizano “Salsa Ingles” (only available in Central America)
- alternative: 1 tablespoon worcester sauce
- Bunch of fresh cilantro (to taste – I like a lot)
Sear garlic with the onions on medium heat. Add beans and cook for 3 more minutes. Add coriander and salsa lizano (or worcestershire sauce) and stir well. Sprinkle liberally with fresh cilantro bits.
Try this easy little burst of Central America right in your kitchen and think of me missing all my northern family and friends in the coming months.