Carbondale's community supported, weekly newspaper

Something to do with your calabacitas (squash)

Sections: Columns Published

By Judith Ritschard

Editor’s Note: It’s been a couple of weeks since Judith first sent us this column, so if you’re looking at frozen squash plants and wondering what she’s talking about, that’s why. If your garden’s done or you don’t have one, we bet you can get what you need for this recipe at Potato Day or Dandelion Market. 

  • 2020_eyecare thumbnail

The days are getting shorter. The colors are starting to change and in a few short months we will be back to a more limited selection of fruits and vegetables. But, for the moment my family is like the black bear about to go into hibernation. We are instinctively gorging ourselves on Olathe corn, heirloom tomatoes, cucumbers and loads of what us Latin folk call calabacitas, or squash. My inner foodie is doing cartwheels as we load our plates high with the last of summer’s local bounty.

I know, I know.  It is September you’re thinking. So, it’s not exactly summer any longer. But, here at 6,000 ft. this is when the garden starts going nuts. And by garden I mean yours, or anyone’s. Definitely not mine.

  • FSM_SoprisSun_Saul thumbnail

I’m a gardener wannabe who kills plants. A black thumb if you will. If I’m lucky I’m able to eek out carrots the size of toothpicks and some spongy radishes. My abuelos who raised every type of vegetable in their garden back in Jalisco, Mexico would not be too impressed. How do you say double face-palm in Spanish?

At our community garden plot we even had Antonio on our side. He is this elderly Mexican man who had several plots boasting big bright peppers, squash, and all sorts of juicy edible things. He had been a farmer in Mexico, and as we learned he used traditional gardening methods. Unlike us, he definitely didn’t go drop a small fortune at a nursery on gardener’s soil mix and spend any time making fancy raised beds. Often he’d come over to our sad garden site. We’d talk about his life back in Mexico and he’d give us some tips. In the end we cut our losses and moved on.

  • Basalt Library thumbnail

Looking for some fresh local produce we found Farming Goddess Erin who co-owns Erin’s Acres. Because of their hard work and dedication to local, sustainable farming, we’ve enjoyed CSA veggies all summer. In her last email she worried that we may be tired of summer squash.  Oh- but, Erin, I don’t think one can have too much of this humble vegetable. Calabacitas is the answer. Maybe you already know calabacitas and just needed a reminder. If you grew up in a Latin household you most definitely know this dish and possibly love it as much as I do. Calabacitas is like the Latin ratatouille. It is squash sautéed in one big stew of sorts.  It is a timeless, traditional dish that embodies very basic Latin flavors and it’s also super easy to make.

Start this dish by sautéing garlic and onion. Then add sliced rounds of zucchini or diced summer squash of any kind. Add Olathe corn kernels cut off the cob and if you like it hot add some roasted Anaheim peppers, or thinly sliced jalapenos. On top add goat cheese crumbles or for a more traditional taste add queso fresco, a crumbly fresh cow cheese that can be found at our local markets.  Some people add chopped tomato as well.

  • RJ_Paddywacks thumbnail

Why not marry Taco Tuesday and Meatless Monday by making Calabacita tacos? Don’t forget the fresh cilantro on and even a big spoonful of avocado on top.  If you meat lovers out there can’t imagine a vegetarian taco add pulled chicken or pork- side dish turned full meal in just a few minutes. My grandparents aren’t shaking their heads in disapproval any more.


6 zucchini (or other summer squash) cut in rounds or cubed

  • RFV_Coop thumbnail

1-2 cups sweet corn cut off the cob

1 medium white onion, chopped

  • Wheres My Peeps At? thumbnail

2 medium tomatoes, diced

1 roasted Anaheim pepper or half a jalapeño, diced (optional)

  • AVH Ortho Lecture Series thumbnail

2 cloves garlic, finely chopped

4 tablespoons olive oil

  •  thumbnail

Queso Fresco or crumbly goat cheese

Squeeze of lime, chunks of avocado, cilantro (optional)


Heat oil in large skillet, over medium heat.

Add onion first, followed by garlic making sure not to burn garlic

Add zucchini until half cooked through

Add corn and tomatoes

Cover skillet, and simmer over low heat 10-15 minutes, stirring occasionally

When mixture is well heated, season with salt to taste

If using, sprinkle cheese and avocado and a squeeze of lime on top