This is the PERFECT late-summer recipe if you have a ton of squash and don’t know what to do with it. I made it in the traditional New Mexican way by adding fresh corn and Hatch Green Chiles, so if you like squash – this oil-free Calabacitas recipe is for you.
Calabacitas literally translates to “Little Squash” and has been a popular New Mexican dish for centuries. It is pueblo in origin and was first recorded in the 1500s. Trade routes resulted in the addition of New Mexico chiles, but many recipes leave them out.
There are hundreds of variations, some adding tomato, some garlic, and some even add cheese. Individual taste will determine what types are made, but the base recipe is always onion, zucchini, yellow squash, and some kind of pepper.
I had completely forgotten about this recipe, which is embarrassing since I lived in New Mexico for 10 years, but this article is what inspired me to make it for you.
The ingredients are simple and few, and no fancy equipment or preparation is necessary.
We start by dicing an onion, yellow, red, or white will do but I tend to use white. Set those aside and chop up 2 zucchini and 2 yellow squash and add those to a bowl. Then carefully cut off the kernels from 1 ear of fresh corn into another bowl. Canned corn will work, you’ll need about a cup, but why not use fresh if it’s in season?
Saute your onion first in a little veg broth. We don’t want to just soften the onions, let them go for at least 15 minutes until they start to caramelize. If the pan gets too dry, just add a little more broth. Use low heat here – if you try to rush the caramelization process by using higher heat – you’ll end up with burned onions.
Next, add your squash and 3/4 cup of diced tomatoes. Give it a good stir, set your heat to medium, and cover for 5-10 minutes. Do not overcook your squash – nobody likes mushy squash.
Next, we stir in a teaspoon (or more) of minced garlic, and your choice of chile peppers.
- Option 1: You can use the little 4oz cans of green chile you see in the stores
- Option 2: You could use a roasted poblano pepper
- Option 3: What I used was 1/2 cup of sauce from this bottle of Green Chile Sauce I found at my local Fred Meyer (Kroger). They have different heat levels so choose whatever you’re comfortable with.
I found the same sauce on Amazon and remember, this is an affiliate link, so I do earn a little bit from qualified purchases at no extra cost to you.
Stir well and let those chiles and tomatoes simmer for a few minutes to make the absolutely gorgeous sauce that brings this recipe together.
Finally, add your fresh corn and the seasonings. Simmer another minute while stirring it all together. Add salt and pepper to taste.
To garnish, add some fresh cilantro if you’re into that, and I added a vegan replica of the Queso Fresco cheese crumbles used in many Mexican Recipes. Of course, this is optional but it does add a nice finish to the recipe.
I have a recipe to make that Cheese here.
That’s it – and wow, sorry I have been gone so long between recipes. But I am happy to say I am BACK and I hope you like the recipe.
It tastes FRESH, it tastes like SUMMER, and to me …. it tastes like NEW MEXICO.
This is the PERFECT late-summer recipe. I used fresh summer squash, fresh corn, and Hatch Chiles. If you like squash these Calabacitas are for you!
- 1 white onion
- 2 zucchini squash
- 2 yellow squash
- 3/4 cup diced tomatoes
- 1 tsp minced garlic
- 1/2 cup Hatch green chiles (or sub 4oz can)
- 1 cup fresh corn on the cob
- 1 tsp Mexican oregano
- salt and pepper to taste
- fresh cilantro for garnish (optional)
- vegan queso fresco for garnish (optional)
- Dice onion, place in a bowl and set aside.
- Chop squash into bite-sized pieces and place in a separate bowl
- Carefully cut the corn off the cob into a third bowl and set aside
- In a large skillet, slowly saute onions over low heat for at least 15-20 min, use veg broth or water to prevent sticking. Cook until they turn a nice golden tan (caramelized).
- Add squash and tomatoes, mix well, increase heat to med, and cover 5-10 min. Do not overcook!
- Add garlic and chiles, stir to combine. Heat 1-2 minutes.
- Stir in corn and seasoning, salt and pepper to taste.
- Cook an addition 1-2 minutes and serve with fresh cilantro and/or my vegan queso fresco
Keywords: oil-free Calabacitas