Chayote with Tomato and Green Chile

Side DishMexican and Tex MexVegetarian

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 — chayote.

One sees chayote 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.

Chayote

Chayote

Chayotes 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. 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

  • Prep time: 10 minutes
  • Cook time: 35 minutes
  • Yield: Serves 4

Ingredients

  • 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 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
  • 2 tablespoons 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

Method

1 Peel and cut the chayotes: 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.

peeled and cut chayote

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

3 Sauté onions and green chiles, add tomato and chili flakes: 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.

saute onions with green chiles and tomatoes

5 Add chayote, water, salt: 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.

saute chayote with tomatoes and onions

5 Serve: Sprinkle with grated cheese to serve.

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

Links:

How to grow chayote

Elise Bauer

Elise Bauer is the founder of Simply Recipes. Elise launched Simply Recipes in 2003 as a way to keep track of her family's recipes, and along the way grew it into one of the most popular cooking websites in the world. Elise is dedicated to helping home cooks be successful in the kitchen. Elise is a graduate of Stanford University, and lives in Sacramento, California.

More from Elise

34 Comments / Reviews

No ImageChayote with Tomato and Green Chile

Did you make it? Rate it!

  1. Tommy

    Great!
    Except-“the peel is tough and inedible when cooked”
    Strongly disagree. The peel is fine. Been eating it cooked for decades. A second texture.
    I can’t imagine peeling chayote, what a pain. Why?

    xxxxxyyyyy

  2. Lara

    Made as instructed, except took out the “cores” of the chayote. Tasted great!

    xxxxxyyyyy

  3. Becky

    I used chayote to make a French tart Tatin. Peel the chayote and cut it into wedges along its creases. Butter a round tart pan. Sprinkle 60g sugar mixed with ginger, cinnamon, and/or other spices you like. Arrange the chayote wedges in a circle around the pan with pointed end towards the center. Sprinkle with 60g sugar and spice, dot with 80g butter cut into small cubes. Cover the chayote with a puff pastry crust (pate feuilletée un French) and tuck the pastry down between the chayote and the edge of the pan. Bake at 450F/220C for 25-30 min or until the crust is nicely browned. Take the tart out of the oven and let it cool for 10-15 minutes. Then place a serving plate over the top of the tart and quickly invert. Be careful to do this when the caramel has started to solidify but before the tart is too cool. Carefully remove the tart pan as steam will escape. And voilà !

  4. Eve

    I made this, omitting the cilantro and chili flakes. It. Is. DELICIOUS! I’d never had chayote before and now it’s one of my favorite vegetables. Thank you for this recipe!

    xxxxxyyyyy

    Show Replies (1)
  5. 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
    salt/pepper
    red pepper
    rice

    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!!!!!!!

    Show Replies (1)
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