Calabaza Squash Sauté

I love making this as a side to accompany almost any Mexican style dish. It is healthy, simple, and full of flavor. I have adapted this recipe over the years, sometimes adding in a jalapeño for a little spice. The cumin, cilantro, oregano, and garlic all blend together with the fresh tomato juices, red onion sweetness, and fresh squash. If I pick this type of squash up at my local grocery produce department, H-E-B, it is labeled as “Calabaza” squash. This type of squash is used in latin cuisine and is often called “calabacitas”, with added corn and even pork or chicken as a main dish. If you google “Calabaza squash” you will not get this, rather a large gourd-looking type. After further research I discovered the true name of the type of squash coined “calabaza squash” here in South Texas, is actually named ‘Cuarzo’ Squash. It looks very similar to zucchini and tastes almost identical, however Cuarzo has small light colored spots on its outer skin. Zucchini can be substituted for this recipe.

Cuarzo Squash, or ‘Calabaza’ Squash

Ingredients (for 4 servings)

  • 3 large calabaza or zucchini, quartered
  • 1 medium ripe roma tomato, diced
  • 1 half medium red onion, chopped
  • 1-2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 tbsp cilantro, fresh (minced) or dried
  • 1 tsp cumin
  • 1 tsp oregano
  • 1 tsp kosher salt
  • 1 tsp olive oil for pan


  • Cut ends off the squash, begin slicing into rounds. Once rounds of squash have been cut, cut them into quarters.
  • Dice the Roma tomato, chop the red onion half, mince the cloves of garlic, and mince the cilantro.
  • Heat a sauté pan over medium heat with olive oil.
  • Add your chopped produce into the pan.
  • Season with cumin, oregano, and salt.
  • Stir ingredients while heating, then cover with lid.
  • Intermittently stir ingredients and cover with lid after.
  • Allow to cook for about 15 minutes until veg appears tender.

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