We just got home from two weeks in Costa Rica and I am seriously missing the amazing food we had there. It is probably the best food I’ve ever had on a trip. Typically, I get tired of eating out when I’m out of town and get excited to get back to “our” food. That didn’t happen in Costa Rica.
My favorite thing about their food was how fresh it was. Many restaurants had a blackboard hanging somewhere in lieu of paper menus because their menu changed daily according to what was picked or caught that morning. SO COOL! Everything was sourced locally and grown hormone, pesticide, and antibiotic free. When something is just picked or brought in, the flavors are as fresh as can be. We had the ripest, sweetest, and juiciest pineapples and mangoes ever. Freshly caught fish was abundant and often served in a jalapeño- mango style ceviche with warm plantain chips (something Brian and I ate almost every day as a snack). Even their dark chocolate was made with cacao grown on a local farm with just a bit of cane sugar added. It was divine.
A typical Costa Rican meal was plate lunch style- a variety of foods in small portions. This was my favorite! I could try everything and not be super full. The plates usually had fresh fish (or a protein of choice), rice, shredded cabbage in a light sauce, veggies, tortillas, fried plantain chips, and a yummy bean dip/spread.
The delicious food in Costa Rica inspired me to change things up a bit at home and tryout some new meals. This Homemade Sweet Chips + Bean Dip is one of these new inspired recipes! The chips in Costa Rica would typically be plantains, which aren’t abundant in Washington State. However, we did have a couple of meals where they made sweet potato chips instead, so that’s what I used and it is a yummy stand-in.
Sweet potatoes have long been toted as a nutritional powerhouse, and for good reason. They are brimming with fiber, which nearly all of us could use more of. This supports digestion, helps with healthy bowels, and improves the diversity of your gut bacteria. It has a host of vitamins and minerals, including potassium, which contributes to healthy blood pleasure levels, Vitamin C, which does everything from healing wounds to supporting immunity, and choline and manganese, both powerful brain boosters. They are also a rich source of antioxidants, important for combatting cancerous diseases.
If sweet potatoes aren’t really your thing, you can swap out a variety of root veggies here. Regular potatoes would work great (just be sure they are organic, washed well, and you leave the skin on to reap any health benefits), along with beets, Jerusalem artichoke, rutabaga, turnips, carrots, or daikon radishes.
(Or if you are anything like me, sometimes as a tasty lunch, even if it’s not a perfectly balanced meal.)
Makes about 3 cups of chips and 2 cups of dip
Serve bean dip with sweet potato chips for a fun side dish or appetizer! Make it a meal by adding a baked piece of fish.
Naturally gluten free and vegetarian.
Make it vegan by using a plain vegan yogurt and omitting the cheese.