Calabacitas – Night Kitchen Style

What do you call someone who plants more than one summer squash – I don’t know but I think I was a bit….optimistic.  Here is a great way to build really traditional Mexican flavors with just a few ingredients and use up some of the squash that are coming on.


2-3 cups of zucchini and yellow summer squash, quartered and cut into 1/4″ thick slices

1 medium yellow onion, diced

1 clove garlic, finely minced

1 cup of shitake mushrooms, sliced

2 tablespoons olive oil

1/2 cup water or chicken stock

3 epazote leaves (or a tablespoon of oregano if you have too)

salt and pepper to taste


Sautee the onions, squash, and mushrooms over medium high heat for approximately 10 minutes.  Add a little salt early in the process to help pull out the moisture from the squash.  It should look approximately like this:



Meanwhile, chiffonade the epazote leaves.  Epazote is one of the ancient herbs of Mexico and South America.  Although the name is derived from the Nahuatl word epazōtl which means “skunk sweat”, Epazote has a citrusy, minty, savory, creosote-ey flavor that is impossible to describe but essential to a large number of classic Mexican sauces.  Subtle in this dish, it creates an incredible depth of flavor you don’t anywhere else.

IMG_0734    IMG_0742


After sautéing the vegetables for about 10 minutes (you want them soft but not taking on a bunch of color), add in 1/2 cup of water or stock and the epazote.  Cook for another 5 minutes over high heat until the dish is moist but not dry.  Add salt and pepper to taste.  I served it over a cumin, cilantro, basmati rice but it would also be great in a taco with a little sharp cheese or with a fried egg on a breakfast tostada.



Turned into a great ‘meatless Sunday’ dinner and used up some of our garden bounty.

Notes on sources:

Squash, garlic, and epazote from the Night Kitchen Gardens

Mushrooms from Black Bottom Farms