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If you’re looking for an alternative to butternut or spaghetti squash, chayote is a great option to incorporate into salads, desserts, and savory dishes.

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What Is Chayote Squash?

Chayote (Sechium edule), also known as a mirliton squash, is a warm-season perennial fruit from the gourd family. Due to its light-green skin and pear shape, chayote is also known as a vegetable pear. Native to Mexico, the edible plant grows best in tropical or warm climates and is widely cultivated in Latin America and the Southwestern United States. While the green gourd is botanically categorized as a fruit, it is most often prepared as a vegetable in savory dishes. Every part of the chayote squash is edible, including the rind, flowers, and roots, making it a versatile addition to your pantry. The crunchy gourd is a good source of fiber, vitamin C, potassium, vitamin B-6, amino acids, and antioxidants.

What Does Chayote Squash Taste Like?

Ripe chayote squash has a mild taste that’s a cross between an Armenian cucumber and squash. The green gourd has a similar texture to jicama, with a white, crunchy flesh, mild apple flavor, and lightly sweet taste.

6 Ways to Use Chayote Squash

Chayote squash is a versatile gourd that you can cook or eat raw.

  1. Add it to salads and slaws. The addition of raw chayote matchsticks to any salad or slaw adds a nice textural element and light, refreshing flavor. Peel the raw chayote beforehand to make it easier to chew.
  2. Pickle it. Boil a mixture of vinegar, spices, onions, and sugar together for a flavorful brine. Once the ingredients successfully meld, turn off the flame and add a few sticks of chayote. Pour the combination into a jar and place in the refrigerator to cool, letting the chayote pickle and marinate.
  3. Turn it into noodles. If you’re looking for an alternative to zucchini noodles, you can spiralize the chayote into the perfect absorbent noodle. Sauté the chayote noodles with the seasonings or sauces of your choice for a healthy lunch or side dish.
  4. Purée it into a soup. Cook the chayote squash with ingredients like onions, garlic, and chicken bouillon, and purée the mixture together for a quick and easy soup.
  5. Bake it for a savory treat. Cut and core chayote, then fill it with a mixture of meat and vegetables. Top with parmesan cheese and a drizzle of olive oil, then bake it in the oven until the squash is tender for a savory, gooey one-pot meal.
  6. Make it into dessert. Chayote is a versatile ingredient that you can use in sweet and savory dishes. For a twist on the apple pie, peel and slice your chayote. Season the gourd with cinnamon, lemon, and a sweetener of your preference. When your chayote are ready, bake it into a crust for a fun version of a classic dessert.
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