Chayote with Tomato and Green Chile

Perhaps you too have noticed an odd, pale green, oblong is-it-a-fruit is-it-a-vegetable in your market and wondered what the heck it was, or what you could make with it. Actually I’ve known the name of it for a while&#8212chayote; one sees them often in Mexican markets out here, and Whole Foods carries them. But it wasn’t until a friend thrust one into my hand with the challenge “it’s good, I’d love to see what you make with it” that I actually set out to cook one.

Chayotes, also known as “vegetable pears”, are related to zucchini, cucumber, and melons, and in a way, taste like a combination of all three. They are a staple of Mexico and Costa Rica, are high in vitamin C, low in calories, and are a good source of fiber. They can be eaten raw, or cooked, and like zucchini, fried, baked, broiled, sautéed, steamed, or mashed. The following recipe is based off of one from Diana Kennedy, who so often comes to the rescue when one is contemplating a Mexican ingredient. The dish reminds me of my mother’s summer zucchini, which is sautéed with onions and tomatoes, and served with cheese melted in. And like zucchini, the mild chayote is a lovely backdrop for the more flavorful ingredients.

Do you have a favorite chayote recipe? If so, please let us know about it in the comments.

Chayote with Tomato and Green Chile Recipe

  • Yield: Serves 4.



  • 1 pound chayotes
  • 6 ounces of roasted tomatoes (can use canned fire roasted tomatoes, or roast whole tomatoes on stovetop or under broiler until skin begins to blacken, do not remove skin but process whole)
  • 1 clove garlic, chopped
  • 2 Tbsp olive oil
  • 2 Tbsp chopped onion
  • 1 large green Anaheim chile (stem and seeds removed and discarded), chopped
  • Pinch red chile pepper flakes
  • 1/4 cup water
  • Salt to taste
  • 1/4 cup roughly chopped cilantro
  • 1/4 cup finely grated Monterey Jack cheese


1 The peel is tough and inedible when cooked, so peel the chayotes completely. (This may take a little doing, as the folds in the chayotes can make it difficult.) Cut the chayotes into 1/4-inch wide, 2 inch long julienned strips, including the core.

2 Purée the roasted tomatoes and the garlic in a blender, set aside.

chayote-tom-chile-3.jpg chayote-tom-chile-4.jpg

3 Heat oil in a large skillet on medium heat. Add the chopped onion and green chiles. Cook on medium heat until just soft, about 3-4 minutes. Add the tomato mixture, red chile flakes, and continue to cook 3 minutes more. Add the chayote, water, and salt to taste. Cover and cook, stirring occasionally for 15 minutes. Add the chopped cilantro and cook for 5 minutes more. The chayote should be just tender, moist but not watery.

4 Sprinkle with grated cheese and serve.

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Recipe adapted from Diana Kennedy's Chayotes Guisados con Jitomate in her classic The Art of Mexican Cooking.

Alborina de Chayote - a recipe from Lydia of The Perfect Pantry which includes chayote, bell peppers, onion, and eggs
Burmese chayote soup from Morsels and Musings
Chayote stir-fry from Heart and Hearth
How to grow chayote
More recipes for chayote in Food Blog Search

Showing 4 of 38 Comments

  • Garrett

    A note to anyone using chayotes. Peel every bit of skin off of them. They do not cook down and are like shrimp shells, plastic-like and indigestible.

    Other than that, a very tasty dish!

  • JoJo

    My mother uses chayotes instead of winter melon in her version of Chinese winter melon soup. Chicken, dried scallops, shitake mushrooms and chayotes. Strangely enough, she was introduced to chayotes in Australia, where they kind of grow wild in my aunt’s backyard.

  • Alanna @ A Veggie Venture

    This looks great, Elise, spicing up a mild-flavored vegetable. Perhaps it depends on the variety or chayote (or the freshness or even taste) but when I did a quick Braised Chayote Squash, it wasn’t necessary to remove the skins. In fact, I thought they were good raw, too, like celery or carrots.

  • Weezie

    So, down here in Louisiana, we refer to a chayote as a mirliton (pronounced MEL-lee-tawn or MER-lee-tawn). They grow prolifically in our climate, and at the holidays, they most always show up as Stuffed Mirlitons. Since our shrimp season coincides with mirlitons, that’s what’s used most often.

    Stuffed Mirlitons
    4 good-sized mirlitons, cut in half lengthwise
    1 tablespoon butter, plus extra for greasing the pan
    1/2 pound shrimp, chopped
    1/2 pound smoked ham, chopped
    3/4 teaspoon salt
    4 cloves garlic, chopped fine
    1-1/2 teaspoons paprika
    1 large pinch each oregano, thyme, cayenne pepper and freshly ground black pepper
    1/2 cup evaporated milk
    1/2 cup green onions (scallions), chopped
    1/2 cup yellow onion, chopped fine
    About 1 cup bread crumbs
    1 cup shrimp stock or water

    In a large pot, boil the mirlitons in water to cover for 1/2 hour, or until soft. Drain the water and set them aside to cool. While they’re cooling, heat your oven to 350°F and grease a square baking dish with butter.
    When the mirlitons have cooled, scoop out the seeds carefully and discard them. Then scoop out the mirliton flesh, leaving about 1/4″ all around. Chop the mirliton and put it in a bowl, setting the mirliton shells aside.

    Melt the butter in a large skillet over medium heat. Add the shrimp, ham, garlic and seasonings. Cook for 5 minutes, stirring frequently. Add the mirliton, milk, onion, green onion, and 1/2 cup of the bread crumbs. Cook for 5 more minutes, stirring well. Remove the skillet from the heat and spoon the mixture into the mirliton shells. Top each of the filled shells with about 1 tablespoon of the bread crumbs.

    Put the mirlitons in the baking dish and carefully pour the stock into the dish around them.

    Bake, uncovered for 1/2 an hour. Eat and enjoy.

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