Stuffed Squash Calabacitas

StuffedSquashCalabacitas[Jump right to the recipe: Stuffed Squash]

When I was a youngin’ growing up, my family always had a garden. My grandmother was an amazing gardener, having been the daughter of a farmer and a child of the depression, and really had a great knack for growing just about anything she put her mind to. I’m sorry to say that I did not inherit/learn/grok her gardening skills. I would even go so far as to say I have a black thumb, which is why this blog’s tagline is “Party and Eat” as opposed to “Plant and Grow”. But even though I can’t grow them, I enjoy cooking with seasonal ingredients. Its summer time in Texas and that means squash in abundance, and some cases over abundance if I’m being honest. You can’t swing a cat at the farmers market or grocery store without hitting a big ol’ pile of squash, but from my perspective that’s a good thing. Squash is versatile, colorful, and inexpensive so it’s one of my favorite summer foods.

As long as I’m being honest, I’ll confess that as kid I didn’t much like squash. When it was in season, squash of every shape, size and color it made an appearance on our dinner table once or twice a week and every time I passed it by. In retrospect, I was clearly missing out. Not surprisingly my child does the same, but I hope that one day she too will enjoy squash in all of its glory. Until then, I’ll eat her serving.


I developed my stuffed squash recipe as a twist on one of my favorite dishes from Paula Lambert’s Cheese, Glorious Cheese cookbook, Squash Calabacitas. In her recipe, Paula sautés slices of green and yellow summer squash with some onions and then mixes the whole thing up with corn kernels, tomato, and Hatch green chiles. She tops the dish off with a healthy handful of Colby cheese for an ooey-gooey squashy paradise. Growing up, my family made a very similar dish with the squash and tomatoes from our garden, along with fresh green chiles we’d picked ourselves in Hatch. The flavors in this dish whisk me back home to my childhood kitchen faster than you can say “calabacitas”.

For my take on this recipe, I create a stuffing of the corn, tomatoes, and onions, with ground up corn tortillas thrown in as a binder. I add in a bit of dried ancho chile powder for a spicier flavor, and I use manchego cheese instead of Colby because I like the complexity it brings to the dish. The dish is great for serving at a dinner party because you can stuff the squash ahead of time and then put them in the oven to roast pretty much unattended until they are ready to serve. This squash is a great side for your favorite cut of steak grilled to perfection and topped with Chipotle Cilantro compound butter.

Recipe: Squash Stuffed with Corn, Tomatoes, Green Chiles


  • Difficulty: Easy
  • Serves: 6 (½ stuffed squash per person)
  • Prep Time: 40 minutes
  • Cook Time: 30 minutes
  • Weight Watchers™ Points: 3


  • 3 medium zucchini squash
  • 2 thin corn tortillas
  • 2 tsp. ancho chile powder
  • 3 oz. manchego cheese, cubed plus 1 oz. shredded manchego cheese
  • 1 Tbsp. extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 medium shallot, diced
  • 1 small red onion, diced
  • 1 c. fresh corn kernels
  • 2 roma tomatoes, seeded and chopped
  • 4 oz. chopped green chiles
  • Salt and pepper


  1. Preheat the oven to 375 degrees.
  2. Slice the top ½ inch from the squash. Split in half horizontally and scrape out the seeds.
  3. Bring enough salted water to cover the squash halves to a boil. Drop the halves into the boiling water and cook for 2 minutes.
  4. Remove shells from boiling water; nestle close together in a glass baking pan, and season with a little more salt and pepper.
  5. Tear the corn tortillas into large pieces. Add them to the bowl of a food processor along with the chile powder and the cubed manchego cheese. Pulse until the mixture resembles very coarse cornmeal.
  6. Heat the olive oil in a large sauté pan.
  7. Cook the shallot and red onion until soft and starting to become translucent, about 5 minutes.
  8. Remove the pan from the heat and stir in the corn, tomatoes, and green chiles. Let cool for about 5-10 minutes.
  9. Combine the tortilla mixture with the sautéed vegetables. Check for seasoning; add salt and pepper to taste.
  10. Mound some of the stuffing into each squash half.
  11. Cover with foil and bake for 30 minutes
  12. Remove the foil, sprinkle with the shredded manchego cheese, and return to the oven. Cook for an additional 5-7 minutes or until the cheese is bubbly.

Recipe for Success

  • This recipe works well with any sturdy summer squash that has a bit of size to it. I haven’t tried it yet, but I expect it would work well with acorn squash as well in the fall. Bigger, thicker squash may need more time to bake.
  • To make this a main dish, cook and drain hamburger meat or chorizo, or a combination of both, to add to the stuffing. Serve two halves as a main course with a green salad.
  • You can use frozen corn for this recipe if fresh isn’t available. Thaw the corn and drain it well before using.
  • You can make this dish 4-6 hours before you’re ready to bake it. Make the recipe from steps 2-10 and refrigerate the stuffed squash. Let the squash sit out for about 15 minutes before finishing with steps 11 and 12.

Summer Squash on FoodistaLearn more about summer squash


  1. breyonce /

    These look soooo delicious. Thanks for sharing the recipe!

  2. What a great idea. I have a horrible black thumb when it comes to gardening too. Last year I planted a huge garden & everything ended up dying (or getting eaten by creatures) except for a few cherry tomatoes :) This is a perfect summery recipe!

  3. Oh my goodness, these look SO good!

  4. I added this to my Friday Recipes post which featured zucchini, thanks! You can see it here ;)


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