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Calabacitas Recipe (Mexican Zucchini with Corn)

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  • Author: Maxine Dubois
  • Total Time: 15 minutes
  • Yield: 4 servings 1x


This Calabacitas Recipe (Mexican Zucchini with Corn) is vegetarian dish made with zucchini, corn, cheese and cilantro. 


  • 3 tablespoon olive or vegetable oil
  • 3 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1/4 cup red onion, diced
  • 3 zucchinis, chopped
  • 1/2 cup corn from a can, drained and rinsed
  • 1 cup shredded mozzarella cheese or Monterrey Jack
  • 1/4 cup cilantro, chopped


  1. In a large skillet heat up oil on medium heat. Add the onion, corn and garlic and cook until the onion is soft, about 5 minutes. 
  2. Stir in the zucchini and cook for 10-15 minutes, until the zucchini is soft.
  3. Remove from heat and add the cilantro on top. Immediately sprinkle the cheese and cover for 5 minutes, until the cheese melts.


  • Choose Fresh Zucchini: Opt for firm and fresh zucchini for the best flavor and texture. Look for zucchini with smooth skin and vibrant color. Avoid zucchini that feels soft or has blemishes.
  • Properly Prep the Vegetables: Make sure to wash and dry the zucchini, peppers, and other vegetables thoroughly before chopping them. Remove the ends of the zucchini and dice them into evenly sized pieces to ensure even cooking.
  • Sauté the Vegetables: Start by sautéing the onions and peppers until they soften and become fragrant. This will help build a flavorful base for the calabacitas. Add the zucchini and corn afterward to prevent them from overcooking and becoming mushy.
  • Don't Overcook: Calabacitas taste best when the vegetables retain some of their texture. Avoid overcooking the zucchini and corn to maintain a slight crunch. Cook the vegetables until they are just tender and still vibrant in color.
  • Season Well: Don't be shy with the seasoning! Calabacitas benefit from a combination of spices such as cumin, chili powder, garlic powder, and salt. Taste and adjust the seasoning as needed to suit your preferences.
  • Add Fresh Herbs: For an extra burst of freshness, consider adding some chopped fresh herbs like cilantro or parsley at the end of cooking. They add brightness and elevate the flavors of the dish.
  • Customize with Cheese: If desired, sprinkle shredded cheese over the calabacitas during the last few minutes of cooking. Allow the cheese to melt and become slightly golden for an added layer of flavor and richness.
  • Serve with Accompaniments: Calabacitas can be enjoyed as a side dish or even as a main course. Consider serving it with warm tortillas, rice, or beans to make it a more substantial meal.
  • Experiment with Variations: Don't be afraid to get creative with the recipe. Try different variations by adding ingredients like mushrooms, bacon, or different types of peppers to customize the flavors to your liking.
  • Fresh is Best: While calabacitas can be stored and reheated, it's always best to enjoy them fresh when the flavors and textures are at their peak.
  • Prep Time: 5 minutes
  • Cook Time: 10 minutes
  • Category: Sides
  • Method: Cooking
  • Cuisine: Mexican


  • Serving Size: 1
  • Calories: 232
  • Sugar: 7 g
  • Sodium: 739 mg
  • Fat: 16 g
  • Saturated Fat: 7 g
  • Carbohydrates: 13 g
  • Fiber: 3 g
  • Protein: 12 g
  • Cholesterol: 35 mg