San José, Costa Rica, since 1956

Thanksgiving Recipes With a Tico Twist

Thanksgiving, or acción de gracias in Spanish, is an all-American tradition that has made its way into the heart of Costa Rica. The large number of U.S. citizens now living and traveling in our country has spawned different ideas for hotels and restaurants trying to capture the essence of this great holiday.

It’s easy nowadays to find Thanksgiving dinners offered at hotels and restaurants all over the country. Classics such as turkey cooked in myriad ways, stuffing, mashed potatoes and gravy, pumpkin pie and Cranberry sauce are easy to find at an increasing number of supermarkets catering to expats looking for a taste of home.

Also, the growing number of North Americans moving here has created a community in which it is not difficult to make new friends, regardless of age and interests, with whom to share this special festivity.

More and more Ticos are also taking note of this great celebration and are incorporating it into their holiday agendas. It is not uncommon to see Gringos and Ticos rejoicing around a dinner table that may include U.S. Thanksgiving classics as well as some Tico versions of the traditional foods served at this time.

For this Thanksgiving special, we have created a few dishes that combine wellknown Thanksgiving recipe items with tropical hints and produce from this amazing isthmus we call home. Enjoy trying these recipes, and happy Thanksgiving!

Calabaza and Coconut Pie


1 nine-inch pie shell of your liking (puff pastry, Graham cracker, etc.)

2 cups cooked pumpkin or calabaza squash

1 cup brown sugar

1 tsp vanilla extract

1 tsp garam masala (Indian spice blend)

2 medium eggs, beaten

1/2 cup coconut milk

1 tsp ground ginger

1 cup shredded coconut flakes

1 pinch cayenne pepper

1 pinch salt


Preheat oven to 400 F.

In a mixing bowl, combine all filling ingredients except coconut flakes. Mix well.

If using ready-made crust, transfer filling to pie pan and spread evenly. If using fresh, uncooked dough, place weights on pie shell before baking for 15 minutes, then transfer filling to pie shell.

Sprinkle coconut flakes evenly on top of pie filling. Bake for 15 minutes at 400 F, then reduce heat to 350 F and bake for 60 minutes.

Remove from oven and let cool at least two hours before serving.

Makes eight servings.

Spinach Salad With Cranberry Balsamic Dressing


2 cups fresh spinach leaves, washed and drained

1 cup cashew nuts, toasted

1 cup cherry tomatoes, halved

1/2 cup Gouda cheese, cubed

Edible flowers for garnish


1/2 cup balsamic vinegar

1/2 cup olive oil

1/2 tsp sea salt

1/4 tsp fresh ground pepper

1 tsp Dijon mustard

1 tsp brown sugar

1/2 cup cranberry sauce


Combine salad ingredients in salad bowl. Blend dressing ingredients in blender and toss with salad.

Makes four servings.

Tico Cosmopolitan


1 oz Cacique black label guaro

3 oz cranberry juice

1/2 oz Grand Marnier or orange liqueur

Twist of lemon

Ice to shake


Transfer all ingredients to a cocktail shaker filled halfway with ice. Shake drink well. Strain and serve in a chilled martini glass. Garnished with lemon twist.


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