When it comes to veggie loaded side dishes, Calabacitas are all time my favorite.

Calabacitas from

Loaded with onions, peppers, zucchini, corn and tomatoes and then covered in melted cheese, it’s the definition of a comforting side dish that’s still most healthy! Unless your name is Gaby and you pick all the cheese off the top and eat it all yourself. #sorrynotsorry

Clearly I’ll never really grow up.

Serve this up alongside Southwestern any main course or toss it on top of rice/quinoa/farro and call it a day. AND and and… top it with guacamole. It’s the right thing to do.


Yield: Serves 6-8



  • 1 tablespoon vegetable oil
  • 1 Yellow Onion, diced
  • 1 Poblano Pepper, diced
  • 3 cloves garlic, roughly chopped
  • 1 Red Bell Pepper, diced
  • 1 Orange Bell Pepper, diced
  • 1 Zucchini, diced
  • 1 Yellow Squash, diced
  • 1 cup frozen yellow corn
  • 1 4-ounces can green chiles
  • 1 cup Cherry Tomatoes, halved
  • Kosher salt and freshly cracked black pepper to taste
  • 1-2 cups freshly grated cheddar cheese


  1. In a large cast iron skillet, heat the vegetable oil over medium high heat. Add the onion and poblano pepper and sauté for 4-5 minutes until the onion is translucent. Add the garlic and stir to combine.
  2. Add the various bell peppers, zucchini and yellow squash and cook for another 5 minutes until the zucchini and squash are slightly soft. Stir in the corn and green chiles and continue to sauté for a few minutes more until the corn is warmed through. Remove the skillet from the heat and add the tomatoes, stir to combine.
  3. Top the mixture with the grated cheddar cheese and cover for a few minutes to melt the cheese. Serve immediately.

Photo by Matt Armendariz / Food Styling by Adam Pearson / Recipe by What’s Gaby Cooking

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  1. I have to admit, I had to slowly annunciate the title to get it. I have never heard of this! but it looks really good. DO you think it would be delicious even without that perfect layer of cheese for us sad little dairy free-ers?

  2. Oh really?? So you think you’re a Mexican now eh?? Hahahaha…this is great!! I grew up on calabacitas, it’s one of my favorites. Can’t wait to try your version.

  3. I grew up in Texas and my mom made this often. My brothers and I were discussing her cooking (how we miss it) and recalled that sometimes she would add chopped steak (asado) or cubed pork to the dish. Her own twist perhaps but that’s how she kept 5 boys happy with little time on her hands! Can’t wait to try your recipe!!

  4. HI Gabby:
    I don’t do pictures, never much interested in the process (I’m bad-I never even took many pictures of my kids growing up.
    I am also a California Girl pretty much–Grew up in the San Fernando Valley in the 60-70’s.
    But I do a fair amount of world-wide cooking–modified a lot–and this weeks’ meal plan happens to be Mexican themed. I had remembered a calabacitas recipe from a few decades ago that used zucs and peppers, and such. andAnd went searching. Yours came up. It is reminiscent of rattatuie.
    So glad that I found yours. I’ll probably throw in a bit of oregano and cumin as that is how I remember it., serving with lime and cilantro. But never the less, this will complement my Mexican themed meal plan for the week.
    Your blog is great. had a fun time wandering around. Keep it up.

  5. I grew up in New Mexico, such a beautiful vegetable dish, I use squash any kind will do, onions, garlic, Hatch green Chile, home grown tomatoes and fresh corn if you can not get it, frozen will work, I don’t put cheese on mine but top it with crispy bacon pieces when I serve, don’t cook the veggies to until there mush you want a little crisp on themThat’s what I’m talking about

  6. Thank you Gabby!!! My Mexican mother in law was extremely empressed to saved the day thankyou.

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