Chayote Soup with a Kick ♥ Recipe from the
Seasons of My Heart Cooking School in Oaxaca, Mexico

Chayote Soup with a Kick
Today's soup recipe, a bisque, really, a creamy blend of chayote squash, onion, garlic and spinach and for that promised kick, roasted poblano. Serve it at room temperature or better still, chilled.

Last week when I published the recipe for my current favorite protein-rich brunch dish, Refried Bean Sauce with Eggs on Top at Kitchen Parade, I teased a little about someone attending the Seasons of My Heart cooking school outside Oaxaca, Mexico. Well, the secret's out: that lucky someone was me! (Remember those little Mexican jumping beans that used to be sold at dime stores? That was me, so excited about this day.)

The school is owned by the lovely Susana Trilling. Readers may know her cookbook, also called Seasons of My Heart and the 1999 PBS series called (menotes a theme here, you too?) Seasons of My Heart.

My brain is madly processing the day at Seasons of My Heart, the whole week really, even while my fingers pore through hundreds of photos, picking and cropping, all to build and frame the story, one plate, one dish at a time. More later ...

In the mean time, the soup, the soup! In the many-course meal at Seasons of My Heart, the soup wasn't the favorite (that, people, involves mounds of mangoes and pillows of cream whose recipe, I promise, will emerge some time soon) but it was the one dish we all imagined making most often. In the dim evening light of the Mexican high desert, the soup's color was a pretty pale green; mine today turned out decidedly more spinach green, which makes me think less spinach is a good idea.

In the grocery line, the woman behind me asked, "What will you make with the chayote?" I pointed to the poblano, "Chayote soup with a kick". She smiled. The chayote soup of her childhood, she remembered, was pale and bland. "How will you make it?" she asked. Here's how.

WHAT IS CHAYOTE? See chayote in the A-Z of Vegetables. It's one of the funniest looking vegetables, ever, think the face of a grumpy toothless old man at best, a fat plumber's crack at worst, sorry for that last but really, it's true.

"Made the soup this afternoon with one of my granddaughters (she's 6) ... It is fantastic (and that's when it's still warm)! " ~ Bobbi


Hands-on time: 35 minutes
Chilling time: 1 - 2 hours
Makes 10 cups

1 - 2 poblano peppers, roasted & skins removed (how to roast peppers in the oven)
1 large white onion, trimmed, peeled and quartered
7 cloves garlic, peeled
1-1/2 pounds chayote (about 3 medium chayote), trimmed, peeled and cut into eighths (see TIPS about handling raw chayote)
1/4 - 1/2 pound fresh spinach, washed well and thick stems removed
4 cups chicken stock, preferably homemade (see how to make Homemade Chicken Stock) or a vegetable stock

3-1/2 cups whole milk
1 cup cream
1/2 teaspoon nutmeg
Kosher salt to taste (be generous, keep tasting)

Sprinkles of cotija cheese
Sprinkles of nutmeg

In a large pot, combine the onion, garlic, chayote, spinach, chicken stock and poblano pepper flesh as it's prepped and bring to a boil. Cover, reduce heat to maintain a simmer and let simmer for about 30 minutes until the chayote is soft and cooked through. Remove from the heat.

IMPORTANT: We know about hot liquids and blenders, right? If not, please review this blender safety tip. In batches, filling the blender no more than half full each time, puré the cooked ingredients until completely smooth. Return to the stockpot, stir in the milk and cream. Stir in the nutmeg and salt. Chill for 1 - 2 hours.

Garnish soup servings with crumbled cheese and a sprinkle of nutmeg.

One pepper, I think would be fine. For this batch, I used two because the flesh was so thin.
Susana recommends wearing plastic gloves to handle the chayote. I forgot and did experience that temporary sensation of 'drying' skin. It wasn't uncomfortable and washed away after an hour or so.
To cut a chayote, just trim off the stem end (the non-goofy looking side) and then peel. Then cut right through the chayote following the goofy-looking line. A chayote has a soft seed inside, you cook it too.
For a prettier, paler green, next time I'll try 1/4 pound of spinach instead of the 1/2 pound called for in the recipe.
At the cooking class, the soup bowls were garnished with grated jicama and chopped roasted peanuts. None of us were so keen on those so here I've substituted the cheese crumbles that seem to top every food dish in Oaxaca, called cotija. Feta would be a substitute, I also like the idea of tiny cubes of avocado or a spoonful of sour cream.
Note to Vegetarians

A Veggie Venture - Printer Friendly Recipe Graphic

~ Avocado Dip ~
~ Quick Zucchini Mushroom Hominy Tacos ~
~ Easy Salsa Dressing ~
~ more chayote recipes ~
from A Veggie Venture

~ Chilaquiles ~
~ Quinoa & Black Bean Salad ~
~ Mexican Gashouse Eggs ~
~ more Mexican recipes ~
from Kitchen Parade

© Copyright Kitchen Parade 2010

Alanna Kellogg
Alanna Kellogg

A Veggie Venture is home of "veggie evangelist" Alanna Kellogg and the famous asparagus-to-zucchini Alphabet of Vegetables.


  1. I'm a huge chayote fan. I often add a splash of red wine vinegar to my chayote dishes, to bring out the flavor, but I love the idea of the roasted poblanos that would do the same thing. I've bookmarked this one.

  2. I love the added kick!

  3. How fun! That would be my idea of a perfect vacation - go somewhere warm and take cooking lessons!

  4. Kathryn (farm chickee)March 18, 2010

    I don't want to appear completely stupid, but I have no idea what Chayote or Poblanos are. Can you explain and are there things that I can substitute for them? My son-in-law is American and likes food with a kick. He has changed our way of cooking (not so much bland food anymore - hurrah)! I live in Canada. I really look forward to your recipes and comments. Thanks so much.

  5. Lydia ~ A splash of acid is a great idea, thanks for the tip.

    Kalyn ~ Seasons of My Heart anchored an all-around great trip, thanks.

    Kathryn - Don't feel silly, we all learn new things every day, at least I do! There's a link to more about chayote just above the recipe. Poblanos are my very favorite chile pepper, or is it chili, I can never remember. They are large and shiny dark green, very distinctive from the tiny hot-hot chilies like jalapeños and habaneros, for example. When roasted, they become dark and smoky. They are such a favorite, I even collect recipes for them, here's the list, poblanos.

  6. Thank you! Chayote has been on my list of veggies I need to try for a while.

  7. love the chayote soup...use a lot of it in my recipes...willsoon be back to check out more of wonderful collection!

  8. Now that sounds like a wonderful vacation! I have come across chayote on several occasion, but never known what to do with it. Well, next time I'm going to purchase one and try this alluring soup.

  9. Alanna,
    Made the soup this afternoon with one of my granddaughters (she's 6). We substituted "Rice Dream Original" for the Milk and "Silk" creamer for the cream as one member of the extended family is lactose intolerant. It is fantastic (and that's when it's still warm)! I'm a WW and am entering it to save on the website program. Must be very nutritious.
    Thank you.


  10. In India we normally use this for curry preparations..Soup seems to be an interesting thing for me to try.


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Thank you for taking a moment to write! I read each and every comment, for each and every recipe, whether a current recipe or a long-ago favorite. If you have a specific question, it's nearly always answered quick-quick. ~ Alanna