Vegetarian Calabacitas ‡

If your friends, family, or neighbors have a garden, then in the fall, with high probability, their squash plants have produced more than they can use, and are happy to share their bounty with you if express the least interest. Happily also, supermarkets seem to have a variety of squash available throughout the year, at inexpensive pricing. You will find a number of recipes incorporating it in this work, mostly in the form of calabacitas, a side dish that is often served in Southwestern restautants as an option to the usual rice and beans that accompany your entree.

As explained elsewhere, calabaza is Spanish for squash, but in New Mexico cuisine the word generally applies to any dish made with squash in Southwestern or Tex-Mex style. The one here is perhaps too elaborate to be classified a side dish; but it can undoubtedly serve as one if a more prominent entreé is present. It certainly can stand up as a delectable main course for those with lacto-vegetarian diets. True vegetarians may elect to substitute a soy cheese product for the cheddar.

  • 1 cup textured vegetable protein (TVP)
  • 1 cup hot water
  • 1 vegetable bouillon cube or 1 tsp Vegemite® or Marmite®
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 cup onion, chopped
  • 10 oz soyrizo
  • 4 oz mushrooms, sliced
  • 3 plum tomatoes, sliced
  • ½ red bell pepper, chopped
  • 1 cup frozen corn kernels
  • 3 Poblano chiles, split, charred, and chopped
  • 10 oz spaghetti squash
  • 6 oz Italian squash, sliced
  • ½ cup sour cream
  • ½ cup egg substitute (X)
  • 6 oz low-fat sharp cheddar(or soy) cheese, grated
  • 2 tbsp cilantro leaves, chopped
  • 2 oz low-fat sharp cheddar (or soy) cheese, grated

Dissolve the bouillon cube in the hot water, add the TVP, and set aside for about 5 to 10 minutes to reconstitute.

Nuke the spaghetti squash until done, cut it in half, remove the seeds, and remove the pulp inside, shredding it into strands.

Sauté the soyrizo, onion, mushrooms, in the oil until the onion is limp. Add and fold in the tomatoes, bell pepper, corn, Poblano chile, and squashes.

Whisk together the sour cream and X, fold in the cheddar and cilantro, and fold these into the TVP mix. Spread this mixture evenly into a greased 9 × 15” baking dish and top with the remaining cheese. At this point the dish may be covered and refrigerated almost indefinitely until ready for baking. Then bake at 350° F for 30 minutes or until the cheese is bubbly.

Spoon onto plates and serve with warm flour or corn tortillas.