Chayote with Tomato and Green Chile

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Julienned chayotes cooked with roasted tomatoes, onions, green chiles and cilantro.

Photography Credit: Elise Bauer

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 28 Comments / Reviews

  • Angie

    My fiance’ calls this Filipino comfort food:
    6 Chayote- peeled and diced into bite size chunks (i peel with a carrot scraper and then cut the chayote in half at the split and then scoop out the core and then cut into chunks)
    6 cups chicken stock- you can use low sodium
    2 pounds ground beef/turkey/pork
    garlic powder
    onion powder
    red pepper

    Brown your ground beef/ground turkey/pork (drain your meat)
    season meat with garlic powder, onion powder, a sprinkle of red pepper flake or to your taste
    add chicken stock and chayote and bring to a boil, boil for around 20 minutes or until Chayote is tender

    Serve over rice
    This is quick, easy, and delicious!!!!!!!

  • Vijay

    Chayote – lentil mix (Kootu)


    Chayote – 1 medium size chopped
    Yellow Split Moong Dal – 1/2 cup
    Turmeric Powder – 1 tsp
    Water – 2 – 2.5 cups

    Take the following items and grind them:
    Grated Coconut – 1/2 cup
    Tomato – 1
    Cumin Seeds – 1 tsp
    Dry Red Chillies – 3
    Rice flour – 1 tsp

    Coconut Oil – 1 tblspn
    Mustard Seeds – 1 tsp
    Coriander leaves – 4-6
    Curry leaves a sprig
    Cumins – as reqd.

    Peel the chayote. Make sure to remove the skin and seed entirely.
    Dice them into medium sized cubes (20-25 cubes per chayote).
    Take the diced chayote, dal, turmeric powder and salt in a pressure cooker.
    Add in 2 cups of water (Water should look at least twice as much as the contents that we are trying to cook).
    Cover and pressure cook for 3 whistle. Switch off the heat and let them steam escape all by itself.

    Side-by-side, take the ingredients marked for grinding and grind them in a blender until it becomes a paste / puree.

    Open the cooker and add the paste. Mix well and simmer for 5 to 10 mins.
    To prepare seasoning:
    Heat 2-3 tbspn of oil in a pan.
    Add mustards and wait till it cracks.
    Add other seasoning ingredients as well.

    Pour this over the curry and mix well.

    It will taste good with rice. Can also be used as side-dish to roti / dosa.

  • 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.

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Chayote with Tomato and Green Chile