What to Eat if You Don’t Eat Meat!

Sometimes not eating meat can be difficult when going to certain places or eating at someone’s house. Before going abroad, I was a little worried about what my meals would be like here since I’m pescatarian. I haven’t eaten meat for over a year now, well besides fish, so I wondered what my daily diet was going to be like since a lot of the Costa Rican dishes contain meat. I thought I would probably being eating a lot of fruit and vegetables! And luckily yes, I eat fruit and vegetables every day. However, there are so many more delicious food options here in Costa Rica for vegetarians and pescatarians.

Each morning I sit with my host mom to eat breakfast. Usually I have two kinds of fruit, either pineapple, a banana, apples, or a papaya. I’m really starting to become hooked to papaya since I’ve been here! It’s very juicy and full of flavor, and not a common fruit at home. Other students here have told me that they don’t really like it because of the texture, and I think it is a fruit that you either really enjoy or don’t like at all. Besides having fruit each morning, I often have eggs or pancakes. My eggs are made in different ways, and sometimes have onions or even green beans mixed in them!

Plantains are another delicious food that I eat more often here in Costa Rica. Sometimes they are cooked on the stove and have a soft texture and very sweet! Other times, the plantains are boiled and flattened which makes them hard. This is called “patacones.” Usually with patacones, there are other things on top of them. I’ve had them with beans, “Pica de gallo” (which is kind of like a salsa, with tomatoes, onions, and cilantro), and avocado. Another way I’ve had them is with shrimp, which was extremely tasty especially with the savory sauce. This was at a restaurant, and one thing I’ve learned since being here is that almost all restaurants have vegetarian options!

The meals I eat with my host family are quite varied. I am thankful for the delicious cooking of my host mom and yesterday even asked her to show me how to make some popular dishes in Costa Rica! One of my favorite meals for dinner that my host mom makes is wraps with cheese, rice, and beans. On top of these we put avocado and pica de gallo. It’s extremely tasty!

So, as you can see it really isn’t difficult being vegetarian in Costa Rica. Other meals that I’ve had include pasta, mashed potatoes, salad, fish, soup, and I’m sure there is much more to come. Oh and of course I can’t forget about the desserts. There are many amazing desserts here, one of my favorite being “Postre de galleta Maria!”

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