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Fermented vegetables make this Costa Rican escabeche the perfect side dish for any main meal!
About This Recipe
Costa Rican escabeche is a wildly popular side dish in Costa Rica. Combining various vegetables and vinegar, escabeche has the same health benefits as many of the fermented foods around the world.
That means it is easier to digest than plain boiled vegetables. They are also higher in nutrients due to the amount of time they are fermented. Fermented vegetables such as escabeche are also a safe way to preserve food, which is probably why this side dish was so popular in the olden days of Costa Rica.
Most people make escabeche at home, or you can find it as a side dish in many restaurants around the country. It may accompany a Costa Rican casado, or it may also be one of the selections in a buffet-type soda (small restaurant). This dish is very similar to another Costa Rican fermented vegetable dish called chilera.
This is more of an accompaniment to a main meal than a snack food or a dish on it’s own, but some people do eat it as a meal alongside Costa Rican white rice and black beans. This is a great dish for vegans.
Related post: 10 Delicious Vegan Options in Costa Rica
Costa Rican Escabeche Recipe
Printable recipe below
- coarsely chopped carrot
- coarsely chopped cauliflower
- coarsely chopped sweet red pepper
- coarsely chopped broccoli
- coarsely chopped white onion
- bay leaves
- cups water
- ounce white vinegar
Wash and chop the vegetables.
Place them in a large stockpot and cover them with water. Boil until just tender and drain.
Add the bay leaves, 2 cups of water, and vinegar. Keep over low heat for approximately 10 minutes.
Transfer to a bowl and allow to cool.
Cover the bowl and refrigerate for up to 2 weeks.
Related post: 30+ Foods To Try In Costa Rica
You can add any type of vegetables you want. I often see green beans and zucchini in Costa Rican escabeche. I also think peas or edamame would be fun in there, but definitely not traditional.
Many recipes call for adding an ounce of Salsa Lizano to the recipe, but I think it would go bad a little faster.
Many people add about 2 tablespoons of ketchup to this recipe as well, giving it a light red color.
Some people add cloves in place of the bay leaves.
Related post: Picadillo de Chayote – Costa Rican Recipe
Serve alongside any main meal, including
- Costa Rican Casado
- Arroz con pollo – Chicken and rice
- Shrimp and Rice
- Estofado – Ox Tail
- Arroz Cantones – Cantonese Rice
- Carne en salsa – shredded beef in red sauce
- Chicken with Achiote
- Caribbean Chicken
- Chop Suey
- 1/3 cup coarsely chopped carrot
- 1/3 cup coarsely chopped cauliflower
- 1/3 cup coarsely chopped sweet red pepper
- 1/3 cup coarsely chopped broccoli
- 1/3 cup coarsely chopped white onion
- 3 bay leaves
- 2 cups water
- 1-ounce white vinegar
- Wash and chop the vegetables.
- Place them in a large stockpot and cover them with water. Boil until just tender and drain.
- Add the bay leaves, 2 cups of water, and vinegar. Keep over low heat for approximately 10 minutes.
- Transfer to a bowl and allow to cool.
- Cover the bowl and refrigerate for up to 2 weeks.
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 12Total Fat: 0gSaturated Fat: 0gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 0gCholesterol: 0mgSodium: 10mgCarbohydrates: 3gFiber: 1gSugar: 1gProtein: 0g
Please double-check this information with your favorite nutrition calculator.
Welcome! I’m Christa, a former high school teacher married to a handsome Costa Rican and mother of two bilingual daughters. I love all things Spanish and bi-cultural, (especially travel and food!) and you’ll find my observations on life here. Thanks for stopping by