Chayote Is An Ultra-Versatile Veggie You’ll See Everywhere Soon

  • Chayote squash is a vegetable that originates from Central America.
  • It’s packed with fiber, folate, and magnesium.
  • Chayote is highly versatile: You can eat the entire plant, either raw or cooked.

Chayote squash proves that you should not judge a food by its appearance. This odd-looking pear-shaped gourd is lumpy and green (and sometimes prickly) with crunchy flesh inside that you can pair with just about anything.

The vegetable (also called mirliton, choko, and vegetable pear) has a mild taste that soaks up the more exciting flavors around it. Plus, chayote adds texture to soups, desserts, and spicy dishes. Though this veg isn’t usually the star of the show, it deserves time in the spotlight for its supporting role, and impending appearance in your kitchen.

What is chayote?

“Chayote is a squash that originates from Central America,” says Erin Palinsky-Wade, RD, author of Belly Fat Diet For Dummies. The crunchy vegetable was long-ago cultivated by the Aztecs, but more recently, its large vines and flowers have made their mark in other tropical and subtropical regions including Florida and the Dominican Republic where the chayote’s shape and color vary slightly. No matter where it grows, though, this squash maintains its nice mild taste.

Chayote’s flavor most closely resembles that of its gourd cousin, the cucumber, says Palinsky-Wade, or jicama thanks to its high-water content. Its subtle sweetness is significantly tamer than that of chayote’s other cousin, spaghetti squash, but strong enough for chayote to enjoy raw and on its own.

A post shared by My Vietnamese Mum (@myvietnamesemum) on

Still not satisfied? Help yourself to the vines, leaves, and flowers of the chayote plant; though not as popular, they’re edible, too.

Okay, but is it nutritious?

Yup. Chayote is a great source of fiber, plus its packed with folate, choline, and magnesium (shout out to those skin, heart, and bone-health benefits), says Palinski-Wade. It’s also very low in calories (only 25 cals per cup) and carbs (just under 6 grams), so pile it onto your plate with other protein- and fat-rich foods for a well-rounded meal.

Chayote nutrition info:

  • Calories: 25
  • Protein: 1.08 g
  • Fat: 0.17 g
  • Carbohydrates: 5.95 g
  • Fiber: 2.2 g
  • Sugar: 2.19
  • Calcium: 22 g
  • Magnesium: 16 g
  • Vitamin C: 10.2 g
  • Folate: 123 g

How do I cook with it?

A silent (sweet and savory) star, you can eat chayote raw or cooked, according to Palinsky-Wade. She suggests adding it to salads and salsas for an added crunch. And if cooking it is the way you want to go, add it to soups, stir-fry, slow-roast it, bake it into a pie, or simply sauté it with every seasoning under the sun and let chayote take on the spices like a champ. It pairs especially well with pepper, citrus, and garlic seasoning.

If you’re dealing with a young and tender chayote, Palinksy-Wade says you can go ahead and eat the skin. But if it’s older and the skin is tough, peeling is 100-percent the move. Just be careful when you do, since it will release a sticky liquid, which can irritate your skin. Grab gloves or peel it under running water to protect your hands.

And if you don’t use the entire chayote, store the rest in the vegetable compartment of your refrigerator, where Palinsky-Wade says it will keep for two-to-three weeks.

Source: Read Full Article