Calabacitas is a traditional dish of Mexico and Southwestern U.S. The combination of fresh corn and summer squash, flavored with garlic and chiles, makes a simple and flavorful side dish.
A perfect way to take advantage of the bumper crop of fresh corn and summer squashes, you can serve this with just about any kind of meal.
Calabacitas translates to “little squash” in Spanish. It’s a classic dish that originated in Mexico, then traveled north to become a fixture in New Mexico and Texas, especially. Since its origins in the 1600s, many variations of it have developed. Here’s a bit more on the history of calabacitas.
Swap-ins: Feel free to replace one or both of the yellow summer squashes with zucchini.
As for the chile peppers, jalapeños add just the right amount of spice, but if you prefer more heat, try serrano chiles. Or, if you want a milder effect, poblano would be a good choice. Another good choice would be hatch peppers during their fleeting season.
Serving ideas: There are few main dishes this wouldn’t go with, but if you’re planning late-summer menus, a Mexican/southwestern theme is fun. Serve calabacitas with:
Recipe is adapted from American Harvest by Nava Atlas. Photos by Hannah Kaminsky, BittersweetBlog.com.
Are you looking for more ways to use summer corn? Explore dozens of fresh corn recipes for summer and fall.
- 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
- 1 medium onion, finely chopped
- 2 cloves garlic, minced
- 2 medium yellow summer squashes, quartered lengthwise (cut away seeds from the thicker ends), and sliced
- 3 cups fresh corn kernels (from 4 medium ears)
- 1 or 2 jalapeños or other fresh green chiles, seeded and sliced
- 1/4 cup chopped fresh cilantro, or more, to taste
- Salt and freshly ground black pepper
- Heat the oil in a large skillet. Add the onion and sauté over medium-low heat until translucent. Add the garlic and continue to sauté until the onion is golden.
- Add the squash and chiles and sauté, stirring frequently, until the squash is tender-crisp, about 5 to 8 minutes.
- Stir in the corn kernels and cilantro. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Sauté
for another minute or two, then serve.
Variation: Use one zucchini in place of one of the summer squashes.
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