Chayote with Tomato and Green Chile

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

Chayote with Tomato and Green Chiles
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. Elise Bauer

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

Prep Time 10 mins
Cook Time 35 mins
Total Time 45 mins
Servings 4 servings


  • 1 pound chayotes

  • 6 ounces 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 chili pepper flakes

  • 1/4 cup water

  • Salt to taste

  • 1/4 cup roughly chopped cilantro

  • 1/4 cup finely grated Monterey Jack cheese


  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
    Elise Bauer
  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
    Elise Bauer
  4. 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
    Elise Bauer
    Elise Bauer
  5. Serve:

    Sprinkle with grated cheese to serve.

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


How to grow chayote

Nutrition Facts (per serving)
131 Calories
10g Fat
10g Carbs
3g Protein
Show Full Nutrition Label Hide Full Nutrition Label
Nutrition Facts
Servings: 4
Amount per serving
Calories 131
% Daily Value*
Total Fat 10g 12%
Saturated Fat 2g 12%
Cholesterol 6mg 2%
Sodium 240mg 10%
Total Carbohydrate 10g 4%
Dietary Fiber 5g 17%
Total Sugars 4g
Protein 3g
Vitamin C 29mg 143%
Calcium 91mg 7%
Iron 1mg 4%
Potassium 349mg 7%
*The % Daily Value (DV) tells you how much a nutrient in a food serving contributes to a daily diet. 2,000 calories a day is used for general nutrition advice.
Nutrition information is calculated using an ingredient database and should be considered an estimate. In cases where multiple ingredient alternatives are given, the first listed is calculated for nutrition. Garnishes and optional ingredients are not included.