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Corn and chayote squash salad with basil vinaigrette

Make this corn and chayote squash salad with frozen corn and zucchini, and it will be just as good!

At this time of year -- beautiful springtime in New England -- I get asked often whether I miss living in the log house in rural northwest Rhode Island. To be honest, I don't miss the pollen clouds, the stink bugs, the carpenter bees. I don't miss mowing the lawn, or weeding the large herb garden, or fending off deer, squirrels and rabbits, just to save a few tomatoes on the vine.

Another thing I do not miss is the limited access to a wide range of ingredients. Now that we're living The Downsized Life here in Boston, we can get anything. Our regular grocery store carries a variety of produce used in Caribbean and Latino cooking, to meet the needs of those large populations. Chayote squash is as common here as zucchini, which makes a fine substitute, and I couldn't be happier. Chayote (also called mirliton or christophene) is a mild, delicately flavored squash, light green on the outside with a dimpled end. I often steam it lightly and add it to salads, but lately I've been slicing it (no need to peel), and tossing it on the grill with a light seasoning of salt, pepper and olive oil. Here, it's sautéed with some frozen corn kernels to make a simple salad that's more than the sum of its parts.

Frozen corn makes this corn and chayote squash combo a year-round salad.

Corn and chayote salad with basil vinaigrette {vegan, gluten-free}

From the pantry you'll need: extra virgin olive oil, white balsamic vinegar, Dijon mustard, kosher salt, fresh black pepper, garlic.

Serves 3-4; can be multiplied.

Ingredients

2 tsp extra virgin olive oil
1 large chayote squash (or medium zucchini), seeded and diced (no need to peel)
10-12 oz frozen corn, or 4-5 ears fresh corn kernels
1/2 red bell pepper, diced
1 clove garlic, minced

For the vinaigrette:
2 Tbsp extra virgin olive oil
1 Tbsp white balsamic vinegar
1/2 tsp Dijon mustard
8-10 basil leaves
Pinch each of kosher salt and fresh black pepper

Directions

In a nonstick frying pan over low-medium heat, heat the oil, and sauté the squash, corn, bell pepper and garlic, until the squash is tender when pierced with a knife, and the corn is just beginning to char. Shake the pan or stir often, to keep everything from sticking.

While the vegetables are cooking, add the ingredients for the vinaigrette to a blender, and process until smooth.

Transfer the cooked vegetables to a mixing bowl, and pour on the vinaigrette. Stir to combine, then let the salad sit for a few minutes, and stir again. Repeat until the salad is room temperature.

Serve at room temperature, or cool completely and chill for up to 1 day, and serve cold.

[Printer-friendly recipe.]


More ways to use chayote:
Chayote squash, avocado and strawberry salsa, from The Perfect Pantry
Albornia de chayote, from The Perfect Pantry
Southwestern chayote casserole, from FatFree Vegan Kitchen
Stuffed chayote with carne molida (Caribbean squash with ground beef), from My Halal Kitchen

A lovely corn and chayote squash salad for summer (use zucchini if you can't find chayote).

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Disclosure: The Perfect Pantry earns a few pennies on purchases made through the Amazon.com links in this post. Thank you for supporting this site when you start your shopping here.

Comments

Oh YUM! I'm definitely going to make this. I have a counter full of zucchini and yellow squash in need of a good recipe.

Thank You! Pamela

Pamela, this would be great with a mix of green and yellow squash -- and pretty, too!

I've never cooked or eaten chayote squash, but now I am intrigued!

Kalyn, if you can find it, try it on your new grill. You'll be amazed at how good it is. Everyone I serve it to loves that grilled flavor.

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