The past week or so Saul has been popping into my office each morning with breakfast—one day it’s huevos mexicanos with extra jalapeno topped with queso fresco and avocado, the next it’s homemade lentil stew right off the stove, and days like today it’s grilled chayote with onion, tomatoes, and garlic. You may be asking yourself the same question I did this morning: what in the world is chayote (chahy-oh-te)? It turns out this delicious edible plant belongs to the gourd family, along with melons, cucumbers, and squash, and has the texture of what could be best described a cross between a potato and a cucumber. In fact, when Saul came into my office this morning I thought it was some sort of potato dish. I was pleasantly surprised when he said “No mija, it’s chayote.” My ears perked up.
Popular in Mexico and Latin America, chayote can be found here at home in most major grocery stores as “pear squash” or “vegetable pear” and is enjoyed by people all around the world—from Thailand to Brazil, from Indonesia to Nepal. Apparently, I’ve overlooked this wonderful fruit for too long and fortunately, we don’t have to go far to get it. In fact, at work have a chayote vine full of these fruits in our Organic Gardens.
A quick google search of “chayote” yielded several interesting results, including its wonderful health benefits. It turns out that chayote is packed full of vitamins and minerals that are good for the heart and brain, and help to prevent cancer, constipation, leg cramps, acne, and bone loss, while also helping to reduce blood pressure, keep the thyroid healthy, and produce energy.
Check out this chayote casserole recipe from Susan Voisin at the FatFree Vegan Kitchen—I think I will try it out this week! I’ll let you know how it goes.
Keep warm and happy eating!