New Mexico Cuisine Recipes Sides

New Mexico Calabacitas

October 29, 2017
New Mexico Calabacitas

Even though I grew up in New Mexico, I did not know about Calabacitas until I had it recently with breakfast. Turns out it is a traditional New Mexico side dish.  It means squash in Spanish and there are tons of ways to make it but zucchini and/or summer squash are the stars. This version includes cheese which you could leave out to make it a bit more low-calorie. I love the cheese though.

The key here, is to cook the squash in butter so that it caramelizes a bit. Hello flavor. There is no better way to do that than in a large cast iron skillet. Preferably an old one. It needs to be big enough to have the squash pretty much in one layer.

This recipe also includes Flo’s Green Chili Salsa. I have a jar in my fridge most of the time. I add it to eggs, soups, over meats and burritos. It’s sort of like New Mexico ketchup. So head on over to the recipe here and give it a try. Now, if you really have to, you can make this recipe using canned green chilis and fire roasted canned tomatoes or Rotel. It won’t be nearly as good though.

Here is what you will need:

calabacitas ingredients

Calabacitas ingredients: Squash, onion, corn, tomatoes and green chili, cheese and spices

You can use summer squash, zucchini or a combination of the two. For the New Mexico twist, use some Flo’s Green Chili Salsa. Cut up your squash and dice the onions. I used about a cup of frozen corn and good ole Velveeta cheese.

In a large skillet, preferably cast iron, heat equal parts butter and olive oil. Don’t leave out the butter, it really gives this dish richness. Get it sizzling. Add the onion. Cook until they are translucent.

calabacitas, cook the onions

Cook the onions in butter and olive oil.

Now add the squash and cook it on medium high heat until it starts to brown a bit. Season with salt, pepper and garlic powder. Now add the corn and stir it around a bit. Let the corn warm through. Add the salsa and the chicken bouillon. Stir to pick up any of those lovely brown bits. You might have to add a bit of water at this stage.

Finally add the cheese and cover. Turn down the heat and let the cheese melt and the vegetables cook a bit more. Once the cheese is all melted add just a pinch of sugar. Stir one last time to mix and then serve nice and hot. And yes this is yet another dish that is better the next day so it’s  a great make ahead side.

Yield: 4 side dish

New Mexico Calabacitas

New Mexico Calabacitas

This traditional Mexican side dish consists of squash, corn, tomatoes and in this case New Mexican Green Chili. A perfect side for any meal.

Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 20 minutes
Total Time 35 minutes


  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 to 2 tbsp butter
  • 1/2 small onion, diced
  • 2 medium zucchini or summer squash, cut up
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/4 tsp pepper
  • 1/2 tsp garlic powder
  • 1 cup corn, fresh or frozen
  • 1/4 to 1/2 cup Flo's New Mexican Green Chili Salsa
  • 1/4 tsp Chicken "Better than Bouillon" paste
  • 2 to 4 oz velveeta cheese, broken into small pieces
  • 1/4 tsp sugar


  1. Heat olive oil and butter over medium to medium high heat until sizzling. Add onion and cook until translucent. Add squash, stirring occasionally. Cook until squash begins to just turn brown. Season with salt, pepper, and garlic powder. Add corn and salsa stirring to combine. If mixture is really dry add 1 or two tablespoons of water. Add bouillon  and cook for 5 or 10 minutes, stirring occasionally.  Lower heat and add cheese. Cover and cook on low until cheese has melted. Add the sugar and stir one last time. Serve hot.

















You Might Also Like

  • Authentic New Mexico Green Chile Stew - Flo's Kitchen Blog January 10, 2020 at 7:30 am

    […] Make up a batch of Green Chile Salsa and use it on EVERYTHING. Fish, burgers, eggs and in Calabacitas. For basic pure green chile deliciousness, make […]

  • frugal hausfrau October 31, 2017 at 3:47 pm

    5 stars
    Flo this sounds wonderful! I lived in Colorado for years so was vaguely familiar with Calabacitas, but I thought it was one of the harder, fall squashed. I’m going to have to give this a try sometime!


    • October 31, 2017 at 4:12 pm

      You can get zucchini or yellow summer squash most places year round. I hope you can get frozen green chili. It’s so much better than the canned stuff. It’s a really versatile side dish. I had it for breakfast this morning with my Frittata.

      I would love to hear how it goes when you try it.

    Skip to Recipe
    %d bloggers like this: