Like its family members zucchini and cucumbers, chayote can be eaten raw or gently cooked. When steamed, chayote has a natural sweetness. Chayote is inexpensive and picks up the flavors of whatever it’s cooked with. Mexican cooks use it in soups and stews. Some folks cook it with sugar and milk to make a pudding.
If you’re new to using chayote, this salad will win you over. Crunchy, blanched green beans, steamed chayote, chopped tomatoes and salty queso cotija are so tasty when combined that there’s no need for a dressing. My husband, who less than enthusiastic when it comes to vegetables, has declared this salad a favorite. He even asked me a few weeks ago for the recipe. (In seven years of marriage, this is the first time that’s happened.)
Makes 4 generous servings.
2 small to medium-sized chayotes, diced into 1/2-inch cubes
8 oz. green beans, chopped into about 2-inch pieces (about 2 heaping cups)
2 small, ripe tomatoes, chopped
A good handful of cilantro, stems included, chopped (optional)
1/4 c. crumbled cotija cheese
- Bring a saucepan of water to a boil.
- Add 1 T salt and green beans.
- Cook beans for 3 to 5 minutes. They should be bright green and crisp.
- Remove with slotted spoon to bowl with water and ice cubes. When cool, drain in colander.
- While green beans cook, place diced chayote into microwave-proof bowl and mix generously with salt.
- Cover with plastic wrap that’s been perforated a few times with fork or with sheet of wax paper.
- Cook until crisp-tender, about 2 to 3 minutes on high.
- Place cooled chayote and chilled, drained green beans into a serving bowl.
- Add diced tomatoes, cilantro and cheese. Mix until well combined. Taste for salt.
- Serve cold or at room temperature.