Calabacitas ♥

Calabacitas ♥ So easy, so good especially for heat lovers! Low Carb. WW Friendly.
graphic button small size size 10 What an easy-easy zucchini recipe! It's just summer squash, onions and chilis quick-cooked in the skillet, with as much (or as little!) heat as you can stand! Seasonal. Low Carb. Weight Watchers Friendly & Freestyle Friendly. Naturally Gluten Free. graphic button small size size 10

2:00 pm E-MAIL from ME: "I have a fridgeful of Hatch chilis that appeared at the grocery over the weekend, am hunting around for something interesting/easy to do with them. Suggestions?"

2:05 pm E-MAIL RESPONSE from my friend SALLY DENTON: "Yes!! Calabacitas. Sauté garlic in a skillet in olive oil. Add chopped onion, sliced yellow and zuccini squash; half a bag frozen corn; and as much green chiles as you can handle. Salt & pepper and serve topped with grated parmesan or cheddar cheese. Yum. Sure sign of fall."

2:10 pm E-MAIL RESPONSE to Sally: "Sold."

How in the world have I missed calabacitas? [How to pronounce calabacitas? kal-uh-BAH-see-tas, correction, it is pronounced kal-uh-bah-SEE-tas] Quick and easy, flexible, adaptable, healthful, fresh, cheap. That makes up half the recipes on all of A Veggie Venture!

The only caveat: Know your heat. Let me put that another way: Know the LIMITS to your heat. I took Sally's challenge of "add as many chilis as you can stand" the first time I made Calabacitas, I thought that was two Hatch chilis. OUCH. The dish was great, but the chilis were left in a huge pile on the dish, not edible. I might use a whole poblano chili for this but if it were a jalapeño or another chili with heat, know what you like!

This is another "concept recipe" – we do love concept recipes, right?! The basics are the onion, zucchini, yellow squash and chilis, but after that, add and subtract as you see fit. I can imagine lima beans, chopped tomatoes, chopped okra and piles of fresh herbs. What seems right to you?

Summer Easy, a special collection of Less Cookin' and More Livin' recipes especially for summer ♥ all summer long.
This recipe is so quick and easy that I'm adding it to a growing collection of easy summer recipes published all summer long ever since 2009 at Kitchen Parade, my food column. With a free Kitchen Parade e-mail subscription, you'll never miss a one!

"This is awesome, Alanna. Yummy!" ~ Denise
"I've made this recipe many times and never tire of it. ~ bd


Hands-on time: 10 minutes active plus occasional attention throughout
Time to table: 20 minutes
Serves 4 or 6, depending on quantities

1 tablespoon olive oil
1 large onion, chopped in large pieces
Chili - as much as you can handle, next time I'll start with a whole poblano or a small jalapeño
1 zucchini, ends trimmed, quartered lengthwise, then cut cross-wise into large pieces
1 yellow squash, same
1 ear corn, husked and corn cut off the cob into a bowl with a knife (here's how)
1/2 ounce grated cheese (I use the gorgeous Mexican cotija)
Salt & pepper to taste
Fresh cilantro, chopped

In a large skillet, heat the olive oil on MEDIUM HIGH til shimmery. Add the onion and chilis as they're prepped, stir to coat with fat, let cook until the onions begin to turn golden, don't be afraid of a little color. Add the zucchini and yellow squash as they're prepped, stir well to coat with fat, let cook, stirring only occasionally, letting a little color and even a little burn appear on the pieces of squash. When the mixture is mostly cooked, add the corn and let cook just a minute. Stir in the cheese and season to taste. Add the cilantro, give it all one last stir, then, yes, you've got it. Serve and Savor.

If the hot skillet gets dry, add a splash or two of water. This is one of the great ways to limit fat when cooking vegetables, using just enough for flavor and that 'glisten' we love, but without so many calories.

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corn poblano chiles summer squash


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© Copyright Kitchen Parade 2010, 2015 (repub) & 2018
Alanna Kellogg
Alanna Kellogg

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


  1. Calabacitas is a Spanish word. You've almost got it right. It's /kal-uh-bah-SEE-tas/.

    Also, if you've still got more Hatch chilies, Susan over at Food Blogga posted a recipe using them just yesterday. Here.

  2. Janelle ~ THANK YOU for the correction, my goodness. I even looked it up, so much for the wisdom of how many years of languages. (In my defense, only one year of Spanish and that, a LONG time ago.) I saw Food Blogga raving on yesterday, thanks for sharing her link!

  3. This is awesome, Alanna. Yummy!

  4. I've made this recipe many times and never tire of it. I like it with a poblano chile (the flavor seems right). Sometimes we make it our main course. Other times it's a side for something else Mexican or Mexican-inspired. Anyway, thank you thank you thank you for this recipe!

  5. bd ~ So good to know, thank you! I’ve been making Calabacitas with roasted poblano, if you’re roasting one, you might as well roast two or three, right? I never thought to make it the main course, however. Do you supplement with other vegetables, top with a runny egg? So curious!

  6. I was introduced to this dish a couple of months ago by my son, who now lives in Phoenix. It was so good; I wondered how I'd gone my whole life without knowing about it.

  7. It’s kinda addictive, isn’t it?!


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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