As in many other Latin American
is a staple. It is used in many of the widely consumed dishes, such as nacatamal
, and indio viejo
. Corn is not only used in food; it is also an ingredient for drinks such as pinolillo
as well as in sweets and desserts. Other staples are rice and beans. Rice is eaten when corn is not, and beans are consumed as a cheap protein by the majority of Nicaraguans. It is common for rice and beans to be eaten as a breakfast dish. There are many meals including these two staples; one popular dish, gallo pinto
, is often served as lunch, sometimes with eggs
. Nicaraguans do not limit their diet solely to corn, rice, and beans. Many Nicaraguans have small gardens of their own full of vegetables. From time to time, flowers are incorporated into their meals.
Commonly used ingredients (including fruits and vegetables) are peanuts, cabbage (shredded in vinegar, this is called "ensalada" and used as a side dish. Sometimes carrots and beets are added.) carrots, beets, butternut squash, plantains, bananas, fresh ginger, onion, potato, peppers, jocote
, and quequisque
. Herbs such as culantro
, and achiote
are also used in cooking.
Nicaraguan cuisine makes use of fruits, some of which are only grown in that particular region due to their location. Many fruits are made into drinks, such as melon
, and pitahaya
is very popular among Nicaraguans, as many times they refer to themselves as pinoleros
, which means "pinolillo drinkers".
Many drinks are also made from grains and seeds, mixed with milk, water, sugar and ice.
Other drinks include: