Sautéed Chayote Squash

published Aug 18, 2023
Chayote Squash Recipe

Sauté thinly sliced chayote squash with garlic, onion, and fish sauce for a quick side dish that’s big on flavor.

Serves4 to 6

Prep15 minutes

Cook20 minutes

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sauteed chayote squash on a plate on a marble surface
Credit: Photo: Alex Lepe; Food Styling: Rachel Perlmutter

Chayote — which also goes by vegetable pear, mirliton, and Buddha’s palm, among other names — is a type of squash that’s native to Mexico. In the Philippines, it’s typically cooked in sautéed and stewed dishes, as well as soups. When I was growing up, my mom would often make a Filipino vegetable dish known as ginisang sayote (which translates as sautéed chayote), in which chayote is quickly sautéed with onion, garlic, sometimes tomatoes, and either ground pork or shrimp. 

Directly inspired by that dish, this sautéed chayote comes together in about 30 minutes. To make it, cook thinly sliced chayote in a pan along with lightly browned garlic and softened onions. Once it’s tender, season the dish with fish sauce and lots of freshly ground black pepper. Serve with a bowl of hot white rice for a light-yet-filling meal or round it out with grilled fish or meat. 

What Is Chayote Squash? 

Bumpy, green chayote is a type of squash. It has a mild flavor with hints of cucumber and apple. Although the squash is native to Mexico, it is grown around the world. You can often find chayote in mainstream grocery stores, as well as Asian, Mexican, and Caribbean markets. 

Credit: Photo: Alex Lepe; Food Styling: Rachel Perlmutter

How to Pick the Best Chayote

When shopping for chayote, look for ones that are free of blemishes, firm to the touch, and even in color. 

How to Prep Chayote

Chayote can be eaten raw, pickled, cooked, and fried. If served raw, it has a crunchy texture that’s reminiscent of jicama or honeydew melon. Even when cooked, chayote will retain a slight crispness. 

However you choose to enjoy it, always start by washing your chayote. From there, you can either peel the chayote or leave it unpeeled. (I always peel mine, just like my mom does. It’s purely for aesthetic reasons; the peel itself is a bit more opaque than the flesh, which veers more translucent). Then, slice it in half lengthwise and remove the pit and the white part surrounding it at the center of the squash. 

How to Store Chayote

Because chayote is sold ripe, you’ll want to keep yours on the kitchen counter or in the refrigerator for a few days. If your kitchen is running warm, store it in the refrigerator right away. 

Chayote Squash Recipe

Sauté thinly sliced chayote squash with garlic, onion, and fish sauce for a quick side dish that’s big on flavor.

Prep time 15 minutes

Cook time 20 minutes

Serves 4 to 6

Nutritional Info

Ingredients

  • 3 cloves

    garlic

  • 1

    medium yellow onion

  • 3

    chayote squash (about 8 ounces each)

  • 3 tablespoons

    vegetable oil

  • 1 tablespoon

    plus 2 teaspoons fish sauce

  • Freshly ground black pepper

Instructions

  1. Mince 3 garlic cloves. Finely dice 1 medium yellow onion (about 1 cup). Peel 3 chayote squash, then halve each squash lengthwise. Using the tip of a sharp knife or a spoon, remove the pit, including the white part surrounding it, from the center of each half. Place the squash cut-side down. Halve each piece lengthwise; then thinly slice crosswise.

  2. Heat 3 tablespoons vegetable oil in a 12-inch nonstick or cast iron skillet over medium heat until shimmering. Add the garlic and cook, stirring occasionally, until just beginning to brown, about 2 minutes.

  3. Add the onion and cook, stirring occasionally, until it begins to soften, about 3 minutes. Add the chayote and cook, stirring often, until tender and cooked through, about 10 minutes. Add 1 tablespoon plus 2 teaspoons fish sauce and stir to combine. Taste and season with freshly ground black pepper as needed.

Recipe Notes

Storage: Leftovers can be refrigerated in an airtight container for up to 5 days.