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Costa Rican Casado: Traditional Costa rica food

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Discover the casado, a traditional Costa Rican dish that combines fresh and nutritious ingredients to create a harmonious, healthy, and delicious meal.

The classic Costa Rican Casado will surprise you with its unique combination of ingredients you might not typically pair together. Each is prepared separately but served together on one plate; it looks beautiful and tastes amazing.

Black beans, rice, plantain, veggies, and protein are just a few of the components that add different flavors and colors to the plate, creating a harmonious, healthy, and delicious meal.

What does casado stand for?

What is Costa Rican Casado?

However, before casados evolved into the casado platters of today, they began as simple banana leaf wraps filled with vegetables, legumes, and meat, prepared by wives as take-away lunches for their hardworking husbands, mostly laborers.

In Costa Rica, lunch is the main meal of the day, they often skip dinner, so lunch is very important. Casado is a big and filling meal that will keep you going until the late afternoon or evening.

The most traditional Costa Rican casado consists of Costa Rican white rice and beans (black or red beans), fried plantain, salad, veggies and protein. Some areas also include picadillo.

What does casado stand for?

The word “Casado” in Spanish translates to “married” or “marriage” in English. The name “casado” in this culinary context originates from the idea that this meal is a complete and satisfying combination of different foods, metaphorically “married” together on a single plate.

How to make Costa Rica Casado Recipe

How casado became the national dish in Costa Rica

Casado became Costa Rica’s national dish because it perfectly represents the country’s culinary culture and pura vida lifestyle, where enjoying a satisfying meal like casado is part of everyday happiness.

From what I’ve learned, in the 1960s, many people, mostly men, moved to capital city of San Jose.

They had to eat lunch away from home and would go to small restaurants where one woman cooked for many people. Costa Ricans have big appetites for lunch, so they often asked for more food than they were served.

The cooks joked that it was like being at home because their “casado” (husband, married man) always wanted more food. That’s how the casado meal in Costa Rica began.

Over time, casado gained popularity across Costa Rica due to its simplicity, versatility, and ability to satisfy hunger with nutritious ingredients.

It’s a symbol of Costa Rican cuisine, where lunch is big and dinner is light. 

Casado is loved across Costa Rica, found in homes, restaurants, and sodas (small eateries).

It brings together a medley of ingredients that reflect the flavors and spirit of Costa Rica.

Casado Ingredients

Ingredients

Black Beans

Black beans are a staple in Costa Rican meals and are considered essential foods for longevity. They are a rich source of protein and fiber. Costa Ricans typically slow-cook them with spices and serve them alongside rice, as in gallo pinto. However, you can also use canned black beans for convenience or substitute them with red beans or pinto beans for a similar texture and taste.

Plantain

Plantains are starchy, less sweet relatives of bananas that are typically fried until golden. Make sure you use ripe and sweet plantain, as unripe doesn’t taste good. If you can’t find plantains, try using ripe bananas or squash instead.

How casado became the national dish in Costa Rica

Rice

Rice, or “arroz” in Spanish, is essential in Costa Rican traditional cuisine. It’s a key part of many traditional dishes found on restaurant menus. My favorites include arroz con leche (creamy rice pudding), Paella de Arroz (saffron-flavored rice), arroz mamposteado (rice mixed with beans and sometimes meat), and chifrijo recipe.

Cucumber

Cucumbers add a cool, crisp texture, you don’t need to peel them, just cut into shin slices. You can also use bell pepper.

Lettuce

any lettuce leaves with do, whether it’s crisp iceberg lettuce, tender butter lettuce, or flavorful romaine.

Cilantro

Cilantro is frequently used in Costa Rican food to bring a fresh, zesty flavor to dishes like beans and salads. If you don’t have cilantro, parsley or basil can be used as alternatives to achieve a similar bright taste.

You can find cilantro in ceviche from costa rica.

Chicken breasts

Chicken breasts or turkey breast. You can substitute them with tofu for a vegetarian option.

How to make Costa Rica Casado Recipe

First step: marinate the chicken breasts (optional)

to make the chicken breasts tender we marinated them in the milk and garlic marinated prior the grilling

In a shallow dish or bowl, combine the milk and minced garlic. Add the chicken breasts to the marinade, making sure they are fully submerged. Cover the dish or bowl and refrigerate for at least one hour, or up to overnight for more flavor.

Second step: cook the rice

In a medium saucepan, bring 600 ml of water to a boil. Add the rice and a pinch of salt. Reduce the heat to low, cover, and simmer for 15-20 minutes or until the rice is tender and the water is absorbed. Remove from heat and let it sit covered for another 5 minutes. Fluff the rice with a fork, then mix in the finely chopped cilantro.

cook the rice

Third step: cook the beans

dried beans

In a large saucepan, cover the beans with fresh water (about 2 inches above the beans) and let it sit overnight. Next day, bring it to a boil over high heat, then reduce the heat to low and simmer gently for about 1  hour, or until the beans are tender. Then, Stir in the sweet chili paprika powder, dried oregano, salt, and pepper.

canned beans

In a small saucepan, add the black beans along with their liquid. Stir in the sweet chili paprika powder, dried oregano, salt, and pepper. Heat over medium heat until warm, stirring occasionally. Once heated through, remove from the heat and let the beans stand for 10 minutes to blend the flavors.

cook the beans

Fourth step: fry the plantain

Peel off the plantain and cut it into slices. Heat the coconut oil in a skillet over medium heat. Add the plantain slices in a single layer. Fry until golden brown on each side, about 2-3 minutes per side. Remove the plantains from the skillet and place them on a paper towel to drain any excess oil.

fry the plantain 

Fifth step: cut cucumber and arrange lettuce leaves

Slice the cucumber thinly and arrange the slices on a plate. Add a handful of lettuce leaves.

Sixth step: Cook the Chicken Breasts

Remove the chicken breasts from the marinade and discard the marinade. Grill the chicken breasts over medium-high heat for about 5-7 minutes on each side, or until the chicken is no longer pink in the center. Let the chicken rest briefly before slicing, season the chicken breasts with salt and pepper before serving.

Costa Rican Casado

Seventh step: Assemble the Plate

On each plate, place a portion of the cilantro rice and a serving of the seasoned black beans.

Add the fried plantains alongside. Place a few slices of the cucumber salad and some lettuce leaves. Top with slices of the cooked chicken breast. 

How to serve Latin American Casado?

  • Serve it with traditional condiments such as salsa Lizano, hot sauce,
  • add lime or lemon wedges on the plate so lemon juice or lime juice can enhance the flavors.
  • Drizzle the chicken with a chimichurri sauce. Chimichurri is a tangy and herbaceous sauce made with parsley, garlic, vinegar, and olive oil. You can also use it as a dipping sauce.
  • Include a warm corn tortilla on the plate. Tortillas can be made from corn or flour and are a versatile addition to scoop up and enjoy the various components of the casado.
  • you can also include french fries on the plate
  • some people like to include fried eggs
Costa Rican Casado: Traditional Costa rica food
What is Costa Rican Casado?

Costa Rican Casado: Traditional Costa rica food

Discover the casado, a traditional Costa Rican dish that combines fresh and nutritious ingredients to create a harmonious, healthy, and delicious meal.
5 from 1 vote
Prep Time 20 minutes
Cook Time 30 minutes
soaking the beans 12 hours
Course Main Course
Cuisine Blue Zone Recipes
Servings 4 people
Calories 680 kcal

Ingredients
 
 

Instructions
 

  • to make the chicken breasts tender we marinated them in the milk and garlic marinated prior the grilling
  • In a shallow dish or bowl, combine the milk and minced garlic. Add the chicken breasts to the marinade, making sure they are fully submerged. Cover the dish or bowl and refrigerate for at least one hour, or up to overnight for more flavor.
  • In a medium saucepan, bring 600 ml of water to a boil. Add the rice and a pinch of salt. Reduce the heat to low, cover, and simmer for 15-20 minutes or until the rice is tender and the water is absorbed. Remove from heat and let it sit covered for another 5 minutes. Fluff the rice with a fork, then mix in the finely chopped cilantro.
  • dried beans
  • In a large saucepan, cover the beans with fresh water (about 2 inches above the beans) and let it sit overnight. Next day, bring it to a boil over high heat, then reduce the heat to low and simmer gently for about 1  hour, or until the beans are tender. Then, Stir in the sweet chili paprika powder, dried oregano, salt, and pepper.
  • canned beans
  • In a small saucepan, add the black beans along with their liquid. Stir in the sweet chili paprika powder, dried oregano, salt, and pepper. Heat over medium heat until warm, stirring occasionally. Once heated through, remove from the heat and let the beans stand for 10 minutes to blend the flavors.
  • Peel off the plantain and cut it into slices. Heat the coconut oil in a skillet over medium heat. Add the plantain slices in a single layer. Fry until golden brown on each side, about 2-3 minutes per side. Remove the plantains from the skillet and place them on a paper towel to drain any excess oil.
  • Slice the cucumber thinly and arrange the slices on a plate. Add a handful of lettuce leaves.
  • Remove the chicken breasts from the marinade and discard the marinade. Grill the chicken breasts over medium-high heat for about 5-7 minutes on each side, or until the chicken is no longer pink in the center. Let the chicken rest briefly before slicing, season the chicken breasts with salt and pepper before serving.
  • On each plate, place a portion of the cilantro rice and a serving of the seasoned black beans.
  • Add the fried plantains alongside. Place a few slices of the cucumber salad and some lettuce leaves. Top with slices of the cooked chicken breast.

Nutrition

Serving: 4gCalories: 680kcalCarbohydrates: 109gProtein: 38gFat: 11gSaturated Fat: 7gPolyunsaturated Fat: 1gMonounsaturated Fat: 2gTrans Fat: 0.01gCholesterol: 72mgSodium: 154mgPotassium: 1454mgFiber: 10gSugar: 19gVitamin A: 1779IUVitamin C: 24mgCalcium: 81mgIron: 4mg
Keyword Casado, Casado Costa Rica, Costa Rica
Tried this recipe?Let us know how it was!
Routetolongevity on June 19th, 2024

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5 from 1 vote

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