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Friday, April 15, 2011

Calabacitas- A New Mexico Veggie Favorite

I've been dreaming of vegetables: not bad dreams where carrots chase me and the next thing I know I am an ingredient in their stir fry, but dreams where I step outside and there they are, ripe for the picking. They are juicy, crunchy, delicious. Freshies! Steps from my door!

You see, we had a greenhouse assembled here at the ranch this past week, one that resembles a landed alien spaceship.

It's called a Growing Dome. I still have tons of work to do to get it up and growing, but I want veggies! Now!

Yeah, yeah, I know I could buy fairly fresh veggies at my local 40 mile away Super Wal-Mart. Or I could wait until June when the farmers' markets get going around here. Those are my choices, living in a high altitude place with long winters and short summers.

But I want my own veggies. Call me selfish or call me a stuck up foodie, but that's just how it goes. I want to eat tomatoes right out in the garden. I want people to run away screaming, "No, no!" because I might have more zucchini for them. 

A favorite New Mexico vegetable dish is called calabacitas, which in English is translated as squashes. I've always made this dish with zucchini or other summer squash, but was pleasantly surprised to eat calabacitas at Rellenos Cafe in Taos, where they used winter squash, instead. It was just as yum as my recipe. Here how I make it:


2 T olive oil
1 medium onion
4 medium to large zucchini (by large we don't mean those gigantic ones that look like alien pods)
1 clove of garlic, minced
1 1/2 cups corn, either fresh, canned (drained), or frozen
2 fresh peeled green chiles (anaheim or poblano) or a 4-ounce can diced green chiles
Salt to taste (I like seasoned salt, like Goya Adobo)
1/2 cup grated cheddar, jack, or cojack cheese

In a large heavy skillet, add olive oil, let it heat a second, and saute onions and zucchini until they are tender. Add garlic and cook a minute more. Mix in corn, chopped chiles and salt. Cover and cook 5 minutes or until heated through. Mix in the cheese and serve.  Serves 4

Not only is this a great side dish, at Rellenos I had a choice of calabacitas tacos or enchiladas. An excellent vegetarian main dish is born!


  1. Yum! I made the King Ranch recipe and Bob went back for thirds. My son wouldn't even try it because it had red--not green--peppers in it. He doesn't eat peppers. :( I also used the Kirkland canned chicken and it was great--two cans--just the lazy way!

  2. Thanks for the canned chicken info, Shela! This is such an adaptable recipe.

  3. i bet you can use yellow squash instead of favorite...

  4. mom's learning to comment...just testing


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