My Identity Outside Chronic Illness: Traditional Vegan Costa Rican Casados Modified For When You Have No Spoons

The frozen plantains I used in this recipe.

If you read my Mission page, you’ll find that I want to make hobbies accessible for those with disabilities and chronic illnesses (however you may identify). Before my whopping 6 diagnoses (RA, fibro, lupus, gout, and hypothyroidism) in the past year, I loved to cook and bake. As I became progressively sicker, I found myself ordering more takeout. Then I married, and as newlyweds on a budget, I discovered the magic of crockpots.

Let me tell you, crockpots are magical. I will eventually come up with a list of kitchen hacks I’ve come up with for this blog.

The number one rule of crockpots is that anything you can make on the oven or stove, you can adapt to a crockpot.

For this recipe, I am especially proud because I came up with a genius hack (that I forgot to take pictures of) that I hope will help you in your cooking endeavors.

The hack

I used a vegetable steamer to cook plantains separately inside the slow cooker at the same time as the rest of the recipe.

I am not a meat eater, but let’s say you need to make a dish that isn’t a stew and has something cooked separately, like tofu for my fellow vegans, or chicken for my meat eaters.

Put all of your other ingredients below, place the vegetable steamer in the middle, and put your separate ingredient on the vegetable steamer. Let the slow cooker cook as usual. Et voila!

Vegan Costa Rican Casados

There are two types of Costa Rican food that come to mind for me – Gallo Pinto and Casados. The difference is in Casados, you don’t mix your rice and beans together.


Slow cooker/crockpot

Vegetable steamer


– 1 can of black beans, not drained

– 1 cup brown rice

– 2 cups water

– 1 pack of Goya frozen yellow plantains

– 1 medium avocado

– 2 tsp garlic powder, divided

– 2 tsp paprika, divided

– 2 tsp adobo seasoning, divided

– 2 tsp cilantro, divided

– 1/2 tsp black pepper, divided

– 1/4 tsp salt, divided


1. Pour the black beans into one side of the crock pot. Remember we are trying not to mix our rice and beans!

2. Place vegetable steamer in the middle of the crock pot.

3. Pour the rice into the far other side of the crock pot opposite of the black beans.

3. Slowly pour water on top of rice.

4. Evenly sprinkle seasonings on the rice and beans (so there’s 2 tsp adobo, sprinkle 1 tsp adobo on rice and 1 tsp adobo on beans).

5. Take the frozen plantains out of their packaging. Don’t try to break them apart. Put them in the steamer. It’s okay if they lean to one side.

6. Set the slow cooker to low. Because of the plantains, you don’t want to set to high. Set to low for no more than 5 hours, preferably less.

7. In the end, your plantains will be dark, a dark brown that is almost black, which is not traditionally Costa Rican, but they will taste delicious and not be burned.

8. At the end of your 5 hours, find your avocado. Take the avocado and slice it in the number of how many persons are eating. Each person gets a slice. I made this for my husband and myself, so we each got half an avocado. Traditionally the avocados are cut up into thin long slices, but this is for people who have limitations. If you have wrist problems (like me) try using an avocado slicer or a handy friend or family member. I merely sliced the avocado in half with a plastic chefs knife and scooped the avocado out with a spoon. Do not put the avocado in the slow cooker! Keep fresh by storing it on your cutting board or plate.

9. Grab a plate and oven mitts. Take the vegetable steamer with the plantains out of the slow cooker and dump the plantains on the plate.

10. Scoop some rice, beans, plantains, and avocado on your plate and enjoy!

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