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

Calabacitas from (@whatsgabycookin)

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 these Calabacitas alongside any southwestern main course or toss it on top of rice/quinoa/farro and call it a day. OR you can stuff a spoonful of Calabacitas into a taco and top it with a big fat dollop of guacamole. It’s the right thing to do.


5 from 4 votes
Prep Time 10 mins
Cook Time 10 mins
Total Time 20 mins
Course Side Dish
Cuisine Mexican, Tex Mex, Southwestern
Servings 6 People


  • 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


  • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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


  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.

  7. Gaby,
    This recipe made me cry. I just lost my Mom last month. She was from Texas and made this dish very similar w green onions, celantro and added pork butt with lots of cumin. I just want to Thank You for all your wonderful recipes and inspiration because I got to share with my Mom before she passed and it made her very happy.

    1. Sending you a big hug Michelle!! I’m so happy one of my recipes could remind you of your mom. All my love!

  8. I made this tonight. The two veggie avoidant kids who live here ate some too. I was shocked!
    I have a hard time cooking veggies for some reason, I will be pushing myself by using your recipes. Thank you for the always great ideas! ❤️

  9. I just made this for lunch today. I had never tried or seen this dish before. I wanted to use up some mozzarella cheese that I had on hand so I used that instead of cheddar. I have to say that it was Delicioso!! I look forward to try some more of your recipes!!

  10. My grandmother used to make this. She used more squash, fewer peppers and topped hers with grated Monterey Jack cheese at the very end, off the heat with the lid on. Delicious.

  11. I have not made this yet but have already decided to omit the shredded cheese and just pour melted queso all over this baby and call it vegetarian nachos a la Gaby.

  12. Thanks for sharing. My Sister gave me calabacitas tomatoes red onions. I willl put them to cook. Thank you

  13. 5 stars
    This was delicious! We added chicken and some salsa, and even my squash-hating son ate it, so a huge thank you from me!

  14. 5 stars
    Delicious! I added a little shredded chicken, squeeze of lime and queso fresco and stuffed it in a little tortilla. Outstanding and fun Friday night dinner. You’re the BEST, Gaby!

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