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Calabacitas Recipe (Mexican Squash) | The Novice Chef

Prep 7 minutes

Prepare dinner 28 minutes

Complete 35 minutes

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Contemporary Mexican summer season squash is cooked with tomatoes, onions, and corn on this straightforward Calabacitas Recipe. Add some jalapeños when you prefer it spicy, and serve with queso fresco and Mexican crema. The proper aspect for any meal!

A bowl of homemade calabacitas with corn, tomatoes, and queso fresco.

A Contemporary, Wholesome Facet Dish Thought

Everybody wants a number of straightforward aspect dish recipes, though the primary course is often the star. Positive, you possibly can whip up a salad, or throw collectively some rice and beans, however when you’re searching for one thing slightly completely different this time round, you’ve bought to attempt calabacitas! This straightforward aspect dish is tremendous wholesome, tremendous flavorful, and undoubtedly not boring.

Made with contemporary Mexican summer season squash (or zucchini), tomatoes, corn, and extra, this colourful veggie medley is stuffed with wonderful texture. It’s additionally easy to make, even when you’ve by no means cooked Mexican squash earlier than! (These are tender squash that don’t want peeling – can I get a witness?) So let’s get into this healthful, vibrant recipe for Mexican calabacitas.

Diagram showing different types of squash.

Is Zucchini the Identical as Calabacitas?

Sure, and no. You’ll typically see recipes for calabacitas that decision particularly for zucchini, however really they’re not fairly the identical. Calabacita interprets to “little squash” in Spanish, and it’s a highly regarded sort of summer season squash in Mexico that’s just like zucchini, however lighter in coloration. There are two sorts of calabacita:

  • Calabacita Bola: a small and spherical squash.
  • Calabacita Larga: related in form to zucchini, however often slightly smaller in measurement. This squash is often known as Calabacita Italiana, or Italian Squash. 

You should use both of those squash varieties on this recipe. In the event you don’t have both one, utilizing zucchini will work simply advantageous.

From top: Cubed squash, salt, diced onion, diced tomato, garlic, minced jalapeno, cilantro, corn kernels, olive oil, crema, queso fresco.


Let’s speak substances for a minute. You’ve already seen the sort of squashes that work effectively in a calabacitas recipe, however there are a number of extra objects you’ll want. Don’t fear – they’re all straightforward (and yummy) fundamentals!

  • Olive Oil: For slightly saute motion. 
  • Onion: I exploit white onion, however you should utilize any sort of onion right here.
  • Garlic: A few minced cloves of garlic add that impossible to resist, mellow taste. 
  • Tomatoes: Roma tomatoes are my go-to due to their meaty texture. Plus, they’re often straightforward to search out in all seasons. If it is advisable substitute one other sort of tomato, that’s advantageous, too.
  • Jalapeño: One jalapeño, seeded and diced. That is non-compulsory, however it does add a pleasant little kick.
  • Salt: Or rooster bouillon, when you favor.
  • Corn: Contemporary or frozen corn kernels, it’s as much as you!
  • Squash: Dice the squash earlier than utilizing.
  • Cilantro: Contemporary, minced cilantro tastes wonderful on this recipe! In the event you’re not a fan, that’s okay too – you possibly can go away it out, our substitute some freshly-chopped parsley.
  • Queso Fresco: A sprinkling of crumbled queso fresco provides a refined taste and creaminess. 
  • Crema: Mexican crema provides one other creamy notice right here. See the “Ideas” part under for more information on this ingredient, and a few straightforward substitutions.
Close-up shot of cooked Mexican squash medley, with crema and queso fresco crumbles.

Let’s Make Calabacitas!

Even when you’ve by no means made this dish earlier than, you actually can’t mess it up. It’s a very simple saute-simmer course of, that comes collectively in just a few minutes.

  • Prepare dinner the Onions. We’ll begin by cooking the onions. Warmth up some olive oil in a big frying pan or skillet, and add the onions. Allow them to prepare dinner gently till translucent – about 3 minutes. 
  • Add the Garlic, Tomatoes, Jalapeños, and Salt. Stir within the garlic, diced tomatoes, jalapeño, and sprinkle within the salt. Let these substances prepare dinner collectively for one more 5 minutes or so. 
Tomatoes, jalapenos, and onion in a skillet.
  • Add the Corn and Squash, and Simmer. Final, add your corn and squash to the pan. Stir gently, cowl, and let the calabacitas simmer for quarter-hour, or till the squash is fork-tender. You don’t wish to stir this very a lot, or in any respect! Simply let it prepare dinner gently.
  • End the Dish, and Serve. When the squash is tender, take away the pan from the warmth and garnish with cilantro, queso fresco, and Mexican crema. Serve instantly.
Cooked squash, corn, and tomato medley in a large bowl with a wooden spoon.

Ideas and Methods

In the event you’ve by no means made calabacitas earlier than, it may be useful to know a number of little suggestions and methods. Learn on for my finest insider information about this wholesome, healthful dish.

  • Jalapeño: That is non-compulsory, however offers slightly little bit of spice to the dish. Take away the seeds to solely add slightly warmth. Preserve the seeds in for lots of warmth. 
  • Mexican Crema: It is a gentle pourable, creamy condiment. It’s thicker and richer than American bitter cream, however not as thick and wealthy as French crème fraîche. In the event you can’t discover this in your native grocery retailer, it’s also possible to use bitter cream in a pinch. I like to recommend thinning the bitter cream with slightly little bit of milk, or water, to make it pourable like Mexican crema. 
  • No Broth Wanted: You is perhaps questioning if it is advisable add a splash of liquid someplace on this recipe, however really, you don’t! Squash incorporates a whole lot of liquid, and because it cooks, it should simmer in its personal juice.
  • No-Stir: To keep away from a mushy dish, don’t stir the squash whereas cooking. Squash is a really tender vegetable, and can simply break up into bits (and ultimately mush) when you stir an excessive amount of.
A wooden spoon scooping a serving of squash out of a large dish of veggies.

Yummy Serving Recommendations

You possibly can serve calabacitas in any scenario that you simply’d usually serve beans and rice, for a easy aspect dish that’s slightly extra veggie-oriented. These are a few of my favourite Mexican meals to take pleasure in with calabacitas:

  • Huevos Rancheros: This mouthwatering layered meal of tortillas, eggs, beans, and different yummy substances goes superbly with freshly-made calabacitas.
  • Empanadas: Everybody loves empanadas, and this straightforward recipe for Tacky Beef Empanadas is a assured crowd-pleaser. Add calabacitas and also you’ve bought a whole meal.
  • Ropa Vieja: Tender, shredded beef in a hearty seasoned tomato sauce? Sure, please! Serve Ropa Vieja with a aspect of yellow rice and this wholesome squash medley.
Overhead shot of a table with a large bowl of cooked summer squash with tomatoes and corn. Smaller servings have been scooped onto white plates.

Storing and Reheating

Calabacitas is a dish finest served contemporary, however you possibly can retailer leftovers in an hermetic container within the fridge for as much as 5 days. To reheat, simply place in a skillet over low warmth till warmed by means of, stirring often. 

Can I Freeze Calabacitas?

Sure, you possibly can freeze this for as much as 3 months. The feel will not be fairly nearly as good after thawing and reheating, however it will likely be fit for human consumption. To maintain freezer burn at bay, retailer the calabacitas in a freezer bag with as a lot air pressed out as doable.

Yield: 6 Servings

Calabacitas Recipe

A bowl of homemade calabacitas with corn, tomatoes, and queso fresco.

Contemporary Mexican summer season squash is cooked with tomatoes, onions, and corn on this straightforward Calabacitas Recipe. Add some jalapeños when you prefer it spicy, and serve with a sprinkle of queso fresco and Mexican crema. The proper aspect for any meal!

Prep Time
7 minutes

Prepare dinner Time
28 minutes

Complete Time
35 minutes


  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • ½ cup white onion, diced
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 6 roma tomatoes, diced
  • 1 jalapeño, seeded and diced, non-compulsory
  • 1 ½ teaspoon salt (or rooster bouillon)
  • 1 cup corn kernels, frozen or contemporary
  • 3 massive or 6 small mexican squash or zucchini, cubed
  • ¼ cup minced cilantro
  • ¼ cup crumbled queso fresco
  • ¼ cup Mexican crema


  1. Warmth the olive oil in a big frying pan over medium warmth, add the onions and prepare dinner for 3 minutes, till beginning to turn out to be translucent. 
  2. Add the garlic, tomatoes, jalapeños, and salt (or bouillon). Prepare dinner for one more 5 minutes.
  3. Add the corn and squash and gently stir to mix. Cowl with a lid and prepare dinner for about quarter-hour. Examine the squash often for doneness (you need it to be fork tender), however don’t stir. 
  4. When the squash is tender, take away from the warmth and sprinkle with cilantro, queso fresco and drizzle some Mexican cream excessive. Serve instantly!

Diet Info:



Serving Measurement:


Quantity Per Serving:
Energy: 153Complete Fats: 8gSaturated Fats: 3gTrans Fats: 0gUnsaturated Fats: 4gLdl cholesterol: 12mgSodium: 626mgCarbohydrates: 18gFiber: 4gSugar: 9gProtein: 5g

Extra Latin Facet Dishes

This put up could comprise affiliate hyperlinks. Learn my disclosure coverage.



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