Chayote is a squash grown across southern Mexico and Central America. It is a great lower carb alternative to potatoes. The chayote in this chayotes Maria dish really allows the sauce and spices to shine through.Print Recipe Jump to Recipe
What is chayote?
Chayote is a variety of squash. It is green on the outside and a greenish-white on the inside when ripe. It is similar in texture to an apple.
Is chayote healthy?
Chayote contains several vitamins, iron and potassium. While there are other vegetables that are much lower in carbohydrates than chayote, chayote is a good low carb substitution for apples or potatoes.
Many low carb or keto “apple” pies are made instead with chayote. Chayote has the same texture as apples but less sugar content. It has a very mild flavor, and therefore, similarly to potatoes, can take the flavor of the sauce or other ingredients in a dish.
How do you eat chayote?
Chayote can be eaten raw, with the skin on. However, boiling it or sautéing the chayote before eating is the most common. Because the flavor of chayote is so mild, spices or sauces are often where the flavor comes in.
In this chayotes Maria, it is important to add the lime juice to help keep the chayotes fresh and crisp.
How to prepare the chayotes for Chayotes Maria
For the chayotes Maria, you will want to wash, peel and dice the chayotes. Peeling chayote was an endeavor I wasn’t fully prepared for. You can use a vegetable peeler or a paring knife to peel the chayotes.
In this video, the world famous abuelita (grandma) from De Mi Rancho a Tu Cocina peels and dices the chayotes with ease. The chayote preparation is from 1:10-2:05.
How do you remove the chayote sap from your hands?
This is the question you didn’t know you’d need an answer to! When you cut open chayotes, they create this sap that gets on your hands and surfaces. It’s not easily removed with soap and water.
The best way I’ve found is to coat your hands in olive oil (or another oil). Ideally, you would let the oil soak in and then wash it away. I’m too impatient for this though, so I usually end up doing this process several times.
How to serve Chayotes Maria
As with pretty much any Latin American food, tortillas are always a good choice. You could also toast some French bread to add a crunchy texture.
If you are a meat-eater, traditionally chayotes Maria is served with diced or sliced ham. Ground beef or pork would be a good addition for this recipe.
Often, grated American cheese is also sprinkled on top. In this form, the dish reminds me strongly of the classic Midwestern green pea/ mayonnaise/ cheddar cheese “salad”.
Other recipes you will love!
If you love this chayotes Maria, I think you will love these other recipes as well:
Honduran Chayotes Maria
- Large saucepan or Dutch oven With cover
- large bakeware or serving dish
- small bowl
- small saucepan
- cutting board
- vegetable peeler
- 4 Quarts water
- 2 Tsp salt
- 6 chayotes washed, peeled, trimmed and seeded. Cut into 1/4-inch chunks
- 1/4 Cup lime juice
For the sauce:
- 1/3 Cup flour
- 3 Cups milk divided
- 1 Cup evaporated milk
- 1/2 Cup sour cream
- 1.5 Tbsp fresh parsley finely chopped
- 1/2 Cup green onions trimmed and minced
- 1/2 Tsp salt
- 1/2 Tsp HeathGlen’s enchilada spice mix optional, add any spices to your preference
Cooking the chayotes
- In a large sauce pan or Dutch oven, bring 4 quarts of water and salt to a boil Over medium-high heat.
- Add the chayotes and reduce heat to maintain a simmer. Cover and cook until fork tender (but not mushy)- about 5 to 8 minutes. Add the lime juice a minute or so before removing from heat. Transfer to serving dish and cover with foil to keep warm.
Preparing the sauce
- In a small bowl, whisk together the flour and 1/2 cup milk; mix until smooth.
- In a small saucepan, heat remaining milk and evaporated milk. Bring to a simmer over medium heat, stirring constantly. Gradually whisk in flour/ milk mixture. Continue stirring constantly until sauce thickens slightly, about 3-5 minutes.
- Reduce heat to low and cook an additional two minutes. Continue stirring constantly.
- Remove from heat and add sour cream, parsley, green onions, salt and spice mix. Stir to combine.
- Pour sauce over chayotes and serve immediately