How To Cook Chayotes
I can remember the exact moment that I first tasted a cooked chayote. It was at a barbeque when I was about nine or ten years old. My Tio’s friend who was manning the grill asked me if I wanted one. I had no idea what they were but I’ve never been one to shy away from something new – especially when it came to food – so, I said “Sure!” He reached into the pit with a pair of tongs, put it on a plate, and passed it to my mom.
As she carefully pulled open the foil around it, I watched the steam escape from the foil pack, then immediately noticed the tiny pearls of sweat from the steam that rested on its flesh. She took a fork, stuck it in the chayote halve, and passed it to me.
I brought my nose closer in to take a big whiff and familiarize my senses with this new smell. It was quiet, mellow, almost like a zucchini except milder.
It made me even more curious. Without hesitation, I took my first bite of steamed chayote.
You guys, I was in heaven. The first bite was hot, but not hot enough to make me wait for it to cool down.
I practically inhaled the whole thing in seconds!
It was soft, juicy, buttery, and light in flavor (perfect for a child’s palate).
I didn’t understand how something so plain could taste so good, so I asked him how he made it.
Butter and salt.
Steamed halves of chayote, slathered in butter, seasoned with a pinch of salt, wrapped in sheets of foil then steamed on the grill over indirect heat.
It was that simple.
Later, I discovered they also go by the name of mirliton and that they are great in soups.
Today I’m sharing a few recipe ideas on how to cook chayotes, plus my own recipe for steamed chayotes stuffed with fish and soy chorizo. It’s easy to put together and is cooked entirely in the oven. There’s no pre-boiling step in this recipe.
Let me show you!
First, rinse and dry the chayotes. Most people like to peel them before cooking, but the skin on these was thin enough to eat after being steamed so I left it on. If you’ve never had chayote before, you can try a little bit of both. Cook some with skin on and some without it to get an idea of what the skin tastes like after cooking it.
Slice them down the middle then make a small slice on each side to help them lay flat in your baking dish.
Scoop out the seed and flesh with a melon baller or spoon to make a shell roughly between 1/2″ to 3/4″ thick. Throw away the seed but keep the scooped out flesh.
In a food processor, pulse together the chayote flesh pieces with two large garlic cloves until they become well minced.
Remove all the bones from the fish fillets if they have any. Chop the fish into smaller pieces and add them and the chives to the food processor.
Pulse again until the fish resembles ground meat.
Finally, add soy chorizo, soy sauce, and sea salt.
Pulse again to mix well.
Remove the blades from the processor and stir in the diced Roma tomatoes.
Lightly grease a large baking dish with oil. It’s better if the baking dish has tall sides.
Slather softened butter around each chayote half, give them a light sprinkle of sea salt.
Evenly distribute the filling between all six halves.
Cover the dish with foil and bake them in the oven at 400° Fahrenheit for one hour.
Serve over a bed of cilantro or with steamed Jasmine rice.
Or both. 😉
Looking for other ways to cook chayotes? I’ve got you covered!
Below is a list of a few helpful links and recipes to show you how to cook with chayote.
How Do I Cook Chayote Squash from The Kitchn.
Chayote from Fine Cooking
Chayote Gratinado (Chayote Squash Au Gratin) from Hispanic Kitchen
Braised Chayote With Ground Pork from Lani Cooks
Chayote Soufflé Recipe from Hot & Chilli
Steamed Chayotes Stuffed with Fish and Soy Chorizo
- 6 chayotes
- 2 large garlic cloves
- 1/2 pound Sole fish fillets, de-boned, chopped
- 1 tbsp chives, chopped
- 1 cup soy chorizo
- 1 tbsp soy sauce
- 1 tsp sea salt, plus more to season chayotes
- 3 tbsp butter, softened
- 1 cup Roma tomatoes, diced
Rinse and dry the chayotes. Slice them down the middle then make a small thin slice on each side to help them lay flat in your baking dish. Scoop out the seed and flesh with a melon baller or spoon to make a shell roughly between 1/2″ to 3/4″ thick. Throw away the seed but keep the scooped out flesh.
Preheat oven to 400° Fahrenheit.
In a food processor, pulse together the chayote flesh pieces with garlic cloves until well minced. Add chopped fish and chives to the food processor. Pulse again until the fish resembles ground meat. Finally, add soy chorizo, soy sauce, and sea salt. Pulse again to mix well.
Remove the blades from the processor and stir in the diced Roma tomatoes. Lightly grease the bottom of a large baking dish with cooking oil.
Slather softened butter around each chayote half, give them a light sprinkle of sea salt. Evenly distribute the filling into all six halves. Cover the dish with foil and bake them in the oven at 400° Fahrenheit for 50-60 minutes until a fork or knife can slide through the chayotes easily.
For this recipe I used Sole, but you can use any other white-fleshed fish available.
Use a baking dish with tall sides if you can.
Since the temperature in ovens can vary, it's a good idea to check for doneness after 45 minutes. The chayotes should be easy to cut with a fork when done.
This recipe would pair well with a small salad or steamed Jasmine rice.