Chayote squash: An easy vegetable snack or side dish

A new vegetable experience may be found in an easy, take-with-you snack or side dish for dinner.

With after-school programs and sports in high gear, families frequently find themselves in need of that hold over snack for that ever hungry child or a quick and easy meal.

As a snack, the light green, pear-shaped vegetable can be cut into bite size pieces and sprinkled with some lime juice. Pop them into a traveling container and presto – an on-the-go, low-calorie, fat-free snack is at the ready. When selecting a chayote squash, choose one that is firm, smooth and unwrinkled. A chayote squash can also be referred to as a vegetable pear.

As part of a meal, the chayote squash can be used in a variety of ways both raw and cooked, from soups, salads and sides to desserts. A lime juice marinade when serving raw will enhance the vegetable or sauté it with ingredients like garlic, olive oil and vinegar. It is a very simple side dish that takes just 10 minutes to cook after it is prepped. It is a nice compliment to fish or chicken.

Chayote squash is approximately 15 calories for a half-cup serving and is a good source of vitamin C and amino acids. The vegetable should be stored in your refrigerator. As it ages it will become wrinkled, dry and very tough. Chayote squash can also be a recipe substitute for summer squash and has an edible skin and seeds.

For an in-depth review of the taxonomical characteristics of the chayote squash, please visit Purdue University.

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