New Mexico Calabacitas

Last year, when I had more zucchini and summer squash than I knew what to do with, I was lucky enough to find a recipe to use them up, along with my other overflowing summer produce.

“Calabacitas” means “little squash” in Spanish, but it’s also a traditional New Mexican side dish during summer squash/zucchini season.

It’s amazingly flavorful for its simplicity. And since I’ve always got roasted New Mexico Hatch green chiles in my freezer, it was easy to add those in. If you don’t have Hatch green chile, just use any variety of roasted pepper that lends as much spicy heat as you care for.

New Mexico Calabacitas

1 T cooking oil
½ C minced onion
1 lb (2 medium) yellow squash and/or zucchini, cut into ¼” half-moon slices
1 C corn
1 large tomato, diced (approx. ½ C)
½ C roasted, peeled, and chopped green chili peppers, (can substitute green bell peppers, poblano peppers or any other variety)
1 t fresh oregano/Mexican oregano (or ½ t dried oregano)
½ C queso fresco (Mexican cheese) (can substitute grated mozzarella or cheddar cheese)

In a large pan, heat the oil over medium-low heat. Add the onion and sauté for several minutes, until tender and lightly browned.

Add the squash and sauté for 5 minutes or just until the squash starts to soften. Flip the squash over occasionally to lightly brown both sides.

Add the corn, tomatoes, peppers and oregano. Stir to combine well and cook for 2 minutes.

Now you can either add the cheese to the pan now, mixing it until it melts a bit, or top each serving with it. Add salt and pepper if needed. Enjoy!

Step by Step Details

Gather the freshest summer produce you can get your hands on.

Then cut it all up.

Saute the onion until lightly softened and brown. Add the zucchini/squash and saute until starts to soften. Flip the squash over occasionally to lightly brown both sides.

Add the corn, tomatoes, peppers and oregano; cook a couple more minutes.

Add the cheese to the pan now, mixing it until it melts a bit, or top each serving with it – diner’s choice. Enjoy!

P.S. If you toss some leftover calabacitas with pasta and ricotta cheese, it’s pretty amazing!


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