Costa Rica may not be particularly known for its vegan cuisine. Luckily, the staple foods of this Latin American country are plant-based and there is a wide range of tropical fruit on offer, as well as plenty of fresh vedwgetables, making vegan meals a very real possibility. Although vegetarian food is easier to come by than vegan dishes, with some simple research and know-how, you too can order a delicious vegan meal.
Here are 8 top vegan dishes to try whilst you’re in Costa Rica.
1. Beans And Rice
Beans and rice are the staple food in Costa Rica. What’s even better is that they are vegan, as long as they’re not cooked in broth with contains animal products, which they usually aren’t. This simple dish provides you with carbohydrates and proteins and is easily found at all local restaurants throughout the day. Rice and beans are usually served as a side dish for most meals and are often called a soda.
2. Vegetarian Casado
A casado most typically refers to a lunch or dinner dish which is served with meat and fried cheese. However, if you order vegetales instead, you’ll be able to replace the animal products for a delicious and healthy vegan option. The Vegetarian Casado usually consists of rice and beans, along with fried plantains and corn tortillas, as well as pico de gallo tomato salsa, plantain mix or a squash.
3. Arroz Con Vegetales
This dish is easily found almost anywhere in Costa Rica. It is rice with vegetables, where the vegetables are cut into small pieces and then mixed in with the rice. Be sure to check that the vegetables have been fried and prepared with oil instead of butter.
If you fancy a change from the staples of vegetarian casado or arroz con vegetales, you can give pizza vegetariana a try instead.
“Although vegetarian pizzas aren’t always listed on the menus, they are usually available upon request. However, it’s unlikely that most restaurants will have vegan cheese, so vegans can instead order the pizza to be made without cheese,” says Mark Seitz, a travel writer at 1day2write and Writemyx.
5. Gallo Pinto
In Costa Rica, breakfast typically consists of gallo pinto, which is made up of rice and beans, seasoned with Salsa Lizano. However, this dish is traditionally served with eggs and cheese. When ordering, ensure that you ask for the animal products to be swapped for alternatives, such as tomato or avocado.
Chorreadas are fried pancakes made using corn. These are traditionally made using egg, so be sure to check when you order. Chorreadas make for a delicious vegan-friendly breakfast. You can even top them with guacamole, pico de gallo salsa or with beans.
Whether you’re looking for a snack, appetizer or side dish, patacones are the option for you. Patacones are made using green plantain which is fried, smashed into a pancake shape and then re-fried. These are usually served with either a range of delicious fruit, Salsa Lizano, guacamole, black bean dip or pico de gallo.
8. Fresh Fruit
One of the best things about eating in Costa Rica is how much delicious fresh tropical fruit you have to choose from.
“Whether you’re looking for watermelon, passionfruit, pineapple, guava, papaya, coconut, mango or mangosteen, in Cost Rica you can try it all! Fresh fruit is the perfect choice if you’re looking for a healthy snack or a refreshing dessert. You can also try these as a delicious drink in the form of a smoothie. Make sure that you ask for a naturale, which is fruit blended with water. Not only is it really enjoyable, but also perfect for vegans,” says Patricia Harrison, an expert at Britstudent and Nextcoursework.
Although vegan options aren’t as widely available in Costa Rica, there are nonetheless some fantastic options available. Ensure that you always check whether a meal contains or has been prepared using animal products and ask for this to be replaced instead with a suitable alternative.
There are some vegan restaurants too, so be sure to investigate before heading out for a meal. Above all, be creative and experiment. With these options, you’ll be able to ensure that you eat healthily, as well as enjoying some delicious and flavorsome meals!
Michael Dehoyos is a professional travel blogger and editor at Dissertation Writing Service and Write My Assignment, working closely with companies of all sizes to improve their marketing strategy concepts. He regularly writes articles for Essay Help, as well as having contributed to numerous other websites and publications. In his spare time Michael enjoys travelling and immersing himself in the culture of the places he visits.