Featured in almost every Nicoyan meal, black beans contain high levels of anthocyanins, the important flavonoids in red onions and blueberries, and have 10 times the antioxidants of an equivalent serving of oranges. These hearty, one-pot meals are staples in Costa Rican kitchens, but should also find their place on the American dinner table. They are easy to make, high in nutritious vegetables and spices, and cost less than $1 a serving. Rich and hearty, they will serve as a main meal paired with corn tortillas or rice. You can do as the Nicoyans do – make a large batch of bean soup and then enjoy it all week.
8 cups water
4 cups low-sodium vegetable broth
1 cup rice
1 sweet onion (like Vidalia), minced
3 cloves garlic, minced
1 chayote squash, cubed
1 carrot, peeled and cut into 1⁄4-inch rounds
1 white sweet potato, peeled and cubed
1 tiquisque,* peeled and cubed Salt and pepper (optional)
In a soup pot, combine all ingredients and bring to a boil.
Reduce heat to a low simmer and cook for 30 minutes, or until rice is cooked through.
Add salt and pepper to taste before serving.
*Tiquisque is a variety of taro common in Costa Rica. It looks like a hairy, ugly potato and is often sold in Latin or other ethnic markets. If you can’t find it at nearby stores, feel free to substitute with potatoes.
The Blue Zones Kitchen fuses scientific reporting, National Geographic photography and 100 recipes that may help you live to 100. The Blue Zones’ food tradition is going the way of the dodo bird, thanks to the encroachment of the American Food Culture.Learn More