Making Costa Rica Casado at Home. Fresh Ingredients from the Uvita Farmers Market

Colorful fruits and vegetables displayed at the farmers market.

After moving to Uvita, Costa Rica, (about a 3 hour drive from San Jose airport) with my wife during the summer of 2021, Jas and I could not believe just how delicious and fresh the food in Costa Rica was! Jas was happy with the black bean soup we tried, and I loved the Arroz con Pollo. But we quickly discovered one of our top favorite local dishes, El Casado Costa Rica.

Casado is a traditional Costa Rica cuisine served for lunch in many local sodas, restaurants, and homes. The meal is a smorgasbord of food from the 5 different food groups. It consists of rice and beans, fried plantains, pasta, salad, and a flour or corn tortilla with an option of beef, chicken, pork, or fish. No worries, picky eaters, no raw fish here.

I’ve come to love Costa Rican cuisine, especially Casado, and no one in town prepares this dish better than the soda Ranchito Dona Maria. But since it’s not always practical to hit up Dona Maria’s soda every time I have a hankering for this hardie meal, it’s simple enough that I can prepare it at home. All I need to do is make sure that I have all the right traditional Costa Rican ingredients.

Luckily for me, I don’t have to travel far to do my shopping. I can pick up everything that I need from one place and be certain that the food is among the freshest available in town. What and where is this magical place? Well, it’s the Uvita Farmers Market, and it’s located right behind my house, and my favorite time to go is Saturday morning.

Getting Fresh Ingredients for My Casado from the Uvita Farmers Market

 The farmer’s market is a twice-weekly event showcasing the local farmer, artisans, and their tasty products (tres leches is my favorite) made with love. The Uvita Farmer’s Market is one of the markets in Costa Ballena.

The Uvita farmers market is open twice a week, Wednesdays and Saturdays, from 9 am to 2 pm. It offers a wide variety of fresh and organic products available. Eggs, creams, Icecream, honey, jams, sauces, fruits, vegetables, coffee wines, juices, bread, and pastries, to name a few. You can also find arts and crafts products at the market, like water paintings, jewelry, and stone carvings.

Shopping at a farmer’s market in Costa Rica is an easy way to support local growers and producers. It’s also an easy way to eat healthily. If you are visiting the market for the first time, make your trip successful by following these tips.

#1: Bring Cash

Most vendors don’t have the means to process a credit card payment.

#2: Bring Bags

If you plan on buying more than your hands can carry, you’re going to need a bag, and the vendors don’t provide them.

#3: Make a List

Nothing worse than forgetting the items that you came for in the first place.

Basic Casado Ingredients

This Costa Rican food typically consists of protein, fiber, starch, salad, and tortillas. You can think of it as a superfood bowl on a plate. 

A Casado will always include fresh beans, white rice, picadillo, and green salad. Fish, chicken, pork, and red meat are the most common proteins, but there are many variations. 

Costa Rican Casados may be adorned with the following extra ingredients:

  • fresh avocado
  • hard-boiled eggs
  • tortilla chips
  • sour cream
  • pasta salad
  • corn tortillas
  • pico de gallo
  • green plantains
  • Salsa Lizano
  • fried egg
  • fresh cheese 
  • shredded lettuce and carrot 
  • Chimichurri sauce
  • coconut milk

Vegetarians and vegans can make Casado by omitting the shredded chicken and increasing the amount of Gallo pinto used. Be sure to try it with Sopa Negra or Costa Rican Tamale.

After my visit to the farmers market, I was able to buy all of the key food elements for this meal. I had enough ingredients where I could meal prep my lunch for a few days of the week!

Now it is time to learn my second favorite meal, olla de carne! Look out for that article next! What is your favorite dish to make? Let us know in the comments below because I am in a mood to try a ton of new foods.

Woman filling a wicker basket with fresh green lettuce from the farmers market.

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