Chayote is a popular type of squash used in many dishes across Latin America and the Caribbean. It has a mild flavor and texture akin to cucumber and melons but is neutral in flavor. It is often cooked as well as served raw in salads. The flesh, skin, and seed are all edible, making this vegetable easy to deal with. This recipe contains a few options on how to prepare a stuffed chayote on the grill. The instructions also include vegetarian options.
- 3 to 4 medium chayote squash (halved)
- 1 pound of ground beef (or ground meat of choice)
- 3 green onions (chopped, white and green parts separated)
- 1 cup shredded sharp cheddar (or Colby jack, queso fresco, or Monterey jack)
- 3/4 cup or 180 mL cooked brown rice or quinoa
- 1/4 cup or 60 mL chicken or vegetable stock
- 1 clove garlic (minced)
- 1 teaspoon or 5 mL mild chili powder
- 1/2 teaspoon or 2.5 mL cumin powder
- 1/2 teaspoon or 2.5 mL salt
- 1/4 teaspoon or 1.75 black pepper
- olive oil
Bring a large stock pot of water to boil. Add 1/2 tablespoon or 7.5 mL salt to water. Cut each chayote in half lengthwise and place into pot. Let cook on medium high heat for 15 minutes. Remove from heat and set onto clean towels to drain and cool. About 10 minutes. Once cooled, scoop out seeds and some of the flesh to make room for the filling. Blot with paper towels to remove any excess moisture and set aside.
While chayote is simmering, prepare the filling. Fry ground beef with white parts of the green onion. After 3 minutes, add the green part of the green onions, minced garlic, and remaining ingredients except for the broth. Continue cooking for another 6 minutes or until beef has cooked through. Remove from heat and pour in the chicken (or vegetable) stock. Cover and set aside for at least 10 minutes. If opting to keep it vegetarian, simply replace ground beef with meat substitute of your choice or sauteed vegetables.
Preheat grill for medium-high heat. If using a charcoal grill, keep a space available for indirect grilling.
Brush olive oil onto chayote halves. Make sure to get both the flesh and skin portions. Place cut side down onto grill for 3 to 4 minutes to achieve grill marks. Rotate once. Remove from grill and place about 1/3 cup or 80 mL of filling into the cut and grilled side. Press mixture to secure it in place.
Place chayote back onto the grill, skin side down. Cook on indirect heat for 25 to 35 minutes, or until chayote is nice and tender (not mushy). Right before taking them off the grill, add some more cheese on top of the filling and let it cook for an additional 1 to 2 minutes.
Once cooked, remove from heat and let rest for 5 minutes. Serve.
- You may also prepare the chayote on a cast iron griddle on the grill. Follow the same directions above, but instead of placing them onto the grill grates to finish cooking, simply place them onto a heated griddle pan. Time will vary using this method. So adjust accordingly.
- Prepare chayote in aluminum foil packets to reduce a few steps. Follow all of the above instructions except the first part of #4. Simply fill chayote and place into a foil packet. Make sure to leave enough room for steam. Place back onto the grill for 35 minutes. Remove from grill, let stand for 5 minutes, carefully open packets and serve.
What Is a Chayote?
A Chayote is a small, pear-shaped vegetable belonging to the gourd family. Also known by the names Chayote Mirliton, Vegetable Pear or Sayote, these squash originated in Mexico and Central America. Loaded with nutrients, particularly vitamin C, the Chayote has a thin, pale green skin and a dense meaty interior. The skins are edible so there is no need for peeling. The flavor is mild and slightly sweet and similar in texture to a pumpkin or butternut squash. At the center is a single, edible seed that can be left in (though it can be more bitter than the rest of the squash) or easily removed.
Chayote can be eaten raw as well and makes a great slaw. When raw, the mellow flavor is similar to a cucumber, making these vegetables a perfect substitution for those people that react to cucumbers.