Servings: 6

The go-to fresh vegetable preparation in New Mexico.

It always contains summer squash, usually with corn and green chile for extra flavor and texture. Preparing calabacitas is fast, easy, and forgiving so feel free to make it your own.

“...In high summer in New Mexico, people eat this sauté by the bowlful. It is essentially the fresh vegetable preparation universal to cooks throughout the state.”


  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • 2 tablespoons vegetable oil
  • 2 pounds mixed summer squash (such as small zucchini, yellow crooked-neck or gold bar squash, and light green skinned calabacita), sliced thin or in bite-size cubes
  • 1 medium onion, chopped
  • 2 small tomatoes, preferably Roma or Italian plum, optional
  • 2 cups corn kernels, fresh or frozen
  • ¼ to ¾ cup chopped, roasted mild New Mexican green chile, fresh or thawed frozen
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • Up to ¼ cup half-and-half, optional
  • 4 ounces (1 cup) grated Monterey Jack or Cheddar cheese, optional


  1. Warm the butter and oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Add the squash, onion, and optional tomatoes. Saute for 10 to 15 minutes, until the squash is well softened.
  2. Stir in the corn, chiles, and salt, and cook covered for another 10 minutes until all vegetables are tender.
  3. Pour in the half-and-half if you wish and simmer briefly, until the liquid is reduced by about one-half.
  4. Serve hot. If using the cheese, scatter it over the calabacitas just before serving.