Costa Rican Inspired Cabbage Cups


I was so excited to head to the farmer’s market last Sunday! With the holidays and our trip to Costa Rica, it has been a long time since I was there and I couldn’t wait to see what was fresh and new. I always go to the farmer’s market looking to get my veggies to roast for the week but I generally also go knowing that lunch is on the horizon so I look for inspiration from what is available¬†to create a new meal. I’ve made recipes like my Pea Salad and Green Panzanella this way.

Anyway, given my recent return from Costa Rica where beans are a huge staple, I wanted to find something I could mix with black beans. I had recently seen a picture where someone used red cabbage leaves as cups. So those two motives inspired the birth of these delicious cabbage cups. They are super simple to make… I timed myself and it literally took me 15 min total. The mixture is also an awesome salad of it’s own!


Costa Rican Inspired Cabbage Cups
Cook time
Total time
Serves: 2
  • 2 cups of arugula
  • 1 asian pear (this was what was available at the farmer’s market but I think you could use a regular pear, mango, jicama, etc.), thinly sliced
  • 1 (15 oz) can black beans, drained – or 1.5 cups homemade beans if you have them
  • ½ cup cilantro, diced – For those who think cilantro tastes like soap, first off, I’m sorry. Second, you can use parsley instead.
  • 1 avocado, cubed
  • 1 lime, juiced
  • ½ tsp salt
  • ½ tsp cumin
  • ½ tsp smoked paprika
  • Dash of your favorite hot sauce
  • Cabbage (red or green works but best to choose one not very tightly packed), leaves removed to make cups – you can use any type of large lettuce leaf in place: butter lettuce cups, romaine hearts, etc.
  1. Combine all ingredients except cabbage cups in a large bowl. Gently mix until lime juice and spices coat the mixture.
  2. Scoop into cabbage cups, serve and enjoy!
  3. Serving suggestion: Add corn or any other veggie you’d like. I also enjoy a sprinkle of pepitas!


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