What always surprises me the most about traditional Mexican recipes is how a simple dish can be packed with so much flavor. I think that the key to achieve a flavorful dish with only a few ingredients is to use the freshest produce possible. Zucchini is such a staple vegetable during the summer months. Gardens and farmers markets are filled with a variety of summer squash. Traditionally in Mexico, they use a pale green zucchini. I have been able to find it at my local farmers market during the summer months. When it’s in season I take advantage of the short growing season.
One of my favorite recipes using the traditional pale green zucchini is Calabacitas a la Mexicana, which translates to Mexican style zucchini. This recipe only requires a few simple ingredients but takes less than 20 minutes to cook. As the tomato cooks, it breaks down and creates a light tomato broth. At the end I like to add fresh cilantro. I happen to love cilantro, but if you aren’t a fan simply leave it out!
Calabacitas a la Mexicana makes a wonderful vegetable side dish for dinner. It also makes a delicious taco filling. If I’m making tacos with the Calabacitas a la Mexicana, I like to serve creamy ripe avocado slices and salsa alongside. This is one of my favorite quick and easy summer meals.
- 1 Tablespoon Olive Oil
- ¼ White Onion, finely diced
- 1 Jalapeno, minced, seeded for less heat
- 1 Garlic Clove, minced
- 3 Medium Pale Green Zucchini, diced small
- 1 Large Tomato, finely diced
- Salt and Pepper to taste
- optional: ¼ Cup Cilantro, minced
- In a large deep skillet heat the oil over medium heat. Add the onion and jalapeno. Cook for 2 to 3 minutes. Add the garlic and cook for 30 seconds.
- Add in the diced zucchini, tomato, salt and pepper to taste. Stir.
- Cook for 6-7 minutes, stirring occasionally.
- Add in the chopped cilantro if using.
- Taste and add more salt or pepper if needed.