Zucchini and corn make a delicous combination. Try it with this super easy Mexican recipe that’s perfect as a side dish or as a light main meal.
Maíz is Spanish for corn or maize, and it’s the most important crop and ingredient in Mexican cuisine. The foundations of Mexican cuisine are held strong by this valuable crop. Without corn there would be no tortillas, and without tortillas there wouldn’t be tostadas, enchiladas, quesadillas, nor tacos. Lest not forget the warming drinks of atole and champurrado. You get the point, Mexican food revolves around corn.
One of my favorite childhood dishes uses corn and it’s what I’m sharing with you today. This is called calabacitas con maíz o elote, in English it translates to simply as zucchini with corn. Another name commonly used for this dish is calabacitas a la mexicana or Mexican style zucchini. Growing up my mom served it as a side dish and I loved it so much that I would eat only it and ignore the main dish.
The sweet smell of onions caramelizing alongside the earthy scent of corn is unforgettable! The moist and mild zucchini absorbs the flavors of the corn and tomato perfectly. The tomatoes provide extra moisture and a little sweetness to the dish, and the serrano pepper adds just a touch of heat to balance out all of the flavours. The spices are minimal and all of the flavors come from the vegetables. It is fresh, healthy, light-yet hearty enough to be served as a vegan meal.
When corn is not in season canned may be used, otherwise if you’d like you can use fresh kernels whenever possible. Zucchini is in season pretty much all year so if you wanted to you could really eat this this all year long. The recipe is vegan but as you’ll see in the video you can top with some crumbled queso fresco if you’d like — you could even drizzle some crema over the zucchini too! Serve as a side dish or you can enjoy it like we recently did and pair it with some black beans and some steamed brown rice.
Table of Contents
Calabacitas con Maiz or Mexican Zucchini Recipe
- 1 very large zucchini quartered & sliced*
- 1 can of corn**
- 2 Roma tomatoes roughly chopped
- half small white onion finely chopped
- 1-2 fresh serrano peppers roughly chopped
- 3 garlic cloves minced
- large handful chopped cilantro
- sea salt to taste
- 1.5 Tablespoons of olive or vegetable oil
- Heat the oil, once hot add the onion and saute until soft. Add the garlic and cook for a couple of minutes. Next, add the chiles and cook another minute, add the tomato and allow to cook until softened. Sprinkle in a little bit of sea salt and stir to combine.
- Add the corn kernels and mix until well combined. Mix in the zucchini and cook until the zucchini is soft. Mix in the fresh cilantro, remove from the heat and serve. Enjoy as a side dish or as a main meal when paired with boiled beans and rice or any other pairings of your choice.
Nancy Lopez is a food blogger and author of the cookbook Mexican Tamales Made Meatless. Born in Mexico, raised in the US, and currently living in Southern Mexico, she has followed a meatless diet for almost 10 years. It is her passion and mission to share all she has learned about vegan Mexican cooking and vegetarian Mexican recipes. Mexican Made Meatless is a blog dedicated to preserving the authentic flavors of Mexican cuisine just without the meat. It’s a place to celebrate Mexican culture and all it’s delightfully delicious traditional foods. Read more…