Vegan Costa Rica: 5 Foods That Make the Country a Veggie Paradise

According to research, there is a 600% increase in people going vegan since 2017. Being Vegan has many incredible health benefits, and the vegan Costa Rica community seems to have adopted the lifestyle perfectly.

Being one of the most temperate climates in Central America, Costa Rica has the ability to grow many fresh vegetables and ingredients to please any vegan’s tastebuds.

This surplus of healthy vegetables means there is an abundance of vegetarian-friendly foods to choose from, a paradise for vegans and vegetarians!

The problem is, without doing your research, you may be stuck eating meals such as rice and beans in order to have a vegetarian meal.

Read this article to learn how and where to order vegan, vegetarian, and other veggie-based healthy dishes while traveling in Costa Rica.

1. Vegetarian Casado

Vegetarian Casado Plate from Costa Rica
Vegetarian Casado

Vegetarian Casado is the most authentic Vegan Costa Rica meal you can order. It usually comes with rice, beans, fried plantains, corn tortillas, pico de gallo tomato salsa, or a squash and plantain mix.

Make sure you say vegetarian or “vegetales” or else you’ll be stuck with a plate of original Casado of pork, chicken, or beef. You may even get a fresh salad on the side, delicious, fresh and healthy.

2. Patacones

Patacones with green sauce on wooden cutting board

Patacones are little fried morsels of delicious heaven. They are simple to make: take a green plantain, fry it, then smash it into a pancake-like shape, then fry it again.

Usually, patacones come with a fruit, salsa Lizano, or pico de gallo salsa as a side dish or appetizer. However, they are incredible with beans and guacamole as a full meal.

3. Arroz Con Vegetales

Bowl of Costa Rican vegetarian rice
Arroz con Vegetales

Arroz con vegetales is a very simple, yet satisfying meal that you can find almost anywhere in Costa Rica. You’ll see it listed as arroz con pollo (chicken), arroz con cerdo (pork), or arroz con carne/vaca (beef), but you can easily say “sin carne, con vegetales” which means, “without meat, with vegetables”.

4. Chorreada Con Natilla

Chorreadas are delicious, fried pancakes made out of corn. Typically, these pancakes have some egg in them, so if you are full vegan, you may want to steer clear of them.

You can enjoy Chorreada with some butter, creme fresh, cheese, or even load them up with guacamole, beans, and pico de gallo salsa.

5. Fresh Tropical Fruit

Various tropical fruits from Costa Rica
Tropical Fruits

If you are craving something light and want a nice and nutritious snack, Costa Rica has an incredible surplus of fresh tropical fruit to choose from.

You can enjoy a giant fruit salad that consists of watermelon, papaya, pineapple, passionfruit, guava, grenadilla, coconut, banana, mango, and more. Add some cream of coconut or yogurt (not vegan) to the top of it, and you now have a delicious, filling, and nutrient-rich meal.

You can even ask for your fruit to be made into a fresh fruit smoothie!

Learn More About Vegan Costa Rica Ideas

There are lots of options in the vegan Costa Rica community, as you have read above, it is all about getting creative and understanding a few basic Spanish words to know what to order, as well as what to stay away from.

If you would like to learn more about Costa Rican food in general, check out our article on five traditional dishes from Costa Rica. Or to shop for Costa Rican foods and drinks visit our online store.

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