The modified flag of Costa Rica was adopted in 1907 and no loner holds the official coat of arms.
DishesGallo Pinto (vegan), Costa Rican blackberry smoothie
Time 30 mins
Effort 3/10
Rough cost £4
Capital San Jose
Population 4,999,441 (123rd largest)
Land mass 51,100 km2 (126th largest)
Languages Spanish (official), Mekatelyu, Bribri, Patios (recognised)
Religions79% Christian


Costa Rica literally means ‘Rich Coast’ and it is a Central American country with the Caribbean Sea to the north and a large southern coastline on the Pacific Ocean. The country was inhabited by indigenous people until it came under Spanish colonial rule in the 16th century and the First Mexican Empire, before gaining independence in 1847. It enjoys a high Human Development Index, has the 7th freest press and is the 12th happiest place to live (World Happiness Report). A common reply to ‘How are are you?’ would be ‘Pura Vida’ (pure life), which represents the simple, stress free and positive feeling for life in this nation. Costa Rica has a rich cultural, with Spanish, Mesoamerican and South American influences. Its cuisine reflects these same influences.

Bridget made Gallo Pinto which is an iconic Costa Rican dish. It is served at any time of the day, as a side or a main. We made the classic version however, why not try it with a fried egg and avocado or some fake / real meat and greens. Mwara made a refreshing blackberry smoothie which is traditionally made with milk powder.


Gallo Pinto (vegan)


  • 3 cups cooked white rice
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 2 bell peppers finely diced
  • 1 yellow onion finely diced
  • 2 cloves garlic crushed
  • 1 400g tin of black beans
  • 1/2 cup Lizano salsa (I sort of made my own)
  • ½ tsp cumin
  • ¼ tsp paprika
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • coriander to serve

METHOD (super easy!)

  • Heat the oil in a large pan over a medium high heat. Sauté the onions, peppers and garlic for around 5 minutes until they are tender.
  • Mix all the spices together in a bowl, and then add into the pan with the cooked rice and beans.
  • Give it a good stir and add in the salsa. Turn the heat off but leave the pan on the hob and mix to coat all the rice.
  • Serve with chopped coriander and a squeeze of lime ( + a cold cervaza!).

Costa Rican Blackberry Smoothie


  • 1 bag frozen / fresh blackberries
  • 3 1/4 cups water
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1/2 cup milk powder (use vegan milk powder or a can of coconut milk)

I used a bit less water as my jug was not big enough, and I did not bother to soak the fruit. Literally a bag of frozen blackberries, 3 cup water and half cup sugar in the blender. Sieve, add the half cup milk powder and more water. The end. Yum. I think you could easily replace the milk powder for a tin of coconut milk in a vegan version, just reduce the water.


  1. Add 3 cups of water, the fruit and sugar into a blender and blitz well.
  2. Sieve in the milk powder and the little extra water and blend until fully smooth.
  3. Thats it- Delicious!

Gracias and see you in Croatia! M + B x

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