Salsa Lizano


As much as I love vacation, and the fancy free-ness that comes with it, the sense of almost relief provided by comforts of home cannot be overstated upon return. Thought it’s been cold here (understatement), the air is dry, which my body appreciates much more than air thick with humidity.  As for the first world comforts I miss the most on every rough and tumble vacation, I have to give that one to my hair dryer (air drying= no bueno).  And my bed…my bed! I missed that to an insane degree. I don’t have a fancy bed by any means, but after 8 years I have a body hole that molds to me perfectly,  and crawling into warm sheets heated by my mattress pad is the best part of every day (not an understatement). 


Still, with every vacation, I try to bring a part of that home and from Costa Rica, I bring you the salsa lizano. I mentioned earlier how the food in Costa Rica was unremarkable to say the least, but in all the blandness, this chili sauce was the one bright spot.  And, as it happens, very easy to recreate at home.

Recipe notes:

I found two recipes online and sort of merged them both.  I used dried ancho chilies leftover from my mole. Use what you find.

Both recipes used powdered vegetable bouillon which I was not about to do because why use the powder when you can use the real thing? I used veggie stock (not broth) and I think that was the better idea.

This is great as a dip, a sauce or a marinade. It’s a multi-tasker.


Salsa Lizano
Yields 1
Delicious Costa Rican salsa
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Total Time
20 min
Total Time
20 min
  1. 2 dried chiles, deseeded (I used ancho)
  2. 1 cup vegetable stock
  3. 1/2 small yellow onion (about 1/2 cup)
  4. 1 5" carrot, peeled and coarsely chopped
  5. 2 TB granulated sugar
  6. 1 TB lemon juice
  7. 1 TB vinegar
  8. 1 TB cumin
  9. 1 tsp salt
  10. 2 tsp coarse ground pepper
  11. 2 tsp molasses
  12. 1/2 tsp mustard powder
  1. In a small saucepan, add the chilis and vegetable stock. Simmer about 15 minutes until the chiles are soft.
  2. To a blender, add the remaining ingredients, along with the chilies. Puree until smooth.
Adapted from various
Adapted from various
The Hungary Buddha Eats the World


Written during the nightly news, waiting for the bread to rise. Literally.

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  1. everyone I know talks about this upon returning from Costa Rica (organized the backend a few volunteer trips to CR when I worked at the university). And similar complaints about the bland food. A friend of mine really only raved that her host family had a mango tree and a banana tree and she’s pick fresh fruit on the way to the work site each morning.

    • I so didn’t take advantage of having mango trees everywhere growing up in FL. Now I have to sell my first born to buy them!