Calabacitas is a traditional dish of Mexico and Southwestern U.S. The combination of fresh corn and summer squash flavored with garlic and chili peppers makes a simple, 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.
What is calabacitas?
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.
What kind of chili peppers to use in ejotes
As for the chili peppers, jalapeños add just the right amount of spice, but if you prefer more heat, try serrano chilis. Or, if you want a milder effect, poblano would be a good choice. Another option is using flavorful 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, hatch peppers, or other fresh green chilis, seeded and finely chopped
- 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 chilis. 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 a minute or two longer, then serve.
Variation: Use one zucchini in place of one of the summer squashes.
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