Calabacitas con Maiz or Mexican Zucchini with Corn

Before I get to the recipe I would like to congratulate Radhika of Just Home Made for winning May’s Honest Cooking feature. Congratulations Radhika and we will all be looking forward to reading your featured post at Honest Cooking.

Zucchini; Corn; Mexican; Recipe; tomato; onion; fresh; canned; vegetarian; vegan; side dish; healthy; mild; spicy; elote; maize; maiz; choclo

Maíz (Spanish for corn or maize) is the most important crop and ingredient in Mexican cuisine. Corn was domesticated in Mexico 10,000 years ago*, and as the time passed the crop spread throughout the Americas. After the conquistadors arrived it was then sent to Europe and later spread around the world. Nowadays there are thousands of variations of corn and it has become a very important crop around the world. The foundations of Mexican cuisine are held strong by this valuable crop. Without corn there would be no tortillas, and without tortillas there wouldn’t be tostadas, enchiladas, quesadillas, nor tacos. Lest not forget atole and champurrado. You get the point, Mexican food revolves around corn.

One of my favorite childhood dish uses corn as part of it’s foundation, Calabacitas con Maíz/Elote or Zucchini with Corn. My mom served it on the side of meat, like a steak. I loved, and still do, this side dish so much that I could eat only it and ignore the main dish. The sweet smell of onions caramelizing alongside the fresh scent of corn is unforgettable. The moist and mild zucchini absorbs the flavors of the corn and tomato perfectly. The tomatoes provide extra moisture and a little sweetness to the dish. The spices are minimal and all of the flavors come from the vegetables. It is fresh, healthy, light yet hearty enough to be served as a vegan meal.

Corn is not in season right now so canned corn will do for now. Zucchini however is in season and this is a great way to enjoy fresh seasonal zucchini. Once corn comes into season in a few months you can continue to enjoy the dish and compare the taste using canned versus fresh corn on the cob. There are also a few variations to my recipe that you could try to give the dish another dimension. Some people also add fresh Poblano chile, or for a spicier version Serrano or fresh Jalapenos can be added. Toppings such as crema fresca, Mexican sour cream, or crumbled queso fresco can be added to the zucchini. Personally I like it simple, no toppings and just the few ingredients you see in the recipe below. Buen Provecho and give this healthy low-fat dish a try this summer.

Zucchini; Corn; Mexican; Recipe; tomato; onion; fresh; canned; vegetarian; vegan; side dish; healthy; mild; spicy; elote; maize; maiz; choclo

Serves: 2
1 large zucchini, quartered and sliced
1 can of corn or fresh corn when in season
1 large tomato, roughly chopped
1 small white onion,finely chopped
2 garlic cloves, minced
salt, to taste
ground black pepper, to taste
1 tbsp. corn or vegetable oil

additional variations:
chile poblanos or spicy green chile like Serrano or Jalapeno
queso fresco and or Mexican sour cream, as a topping

1. Heat the oil, saute the onions until translucent. Next add the garlic and cook for 2 minutes stirring often. Add the corn and cook for 5 minutes. If using fresh corn cook until the corn becomes tender. Next add the tomatoes, zucchini and spices. Stir to combine the ingredients. Cover, turn the heat to low and continue to cook until the zucchini has soften and tomatoes have broken apart.

2. Taste and adjust seasoning if desired. Serve warm as a side dish or as a vegan meal. If using any of the suggested toppings add them before serving.
Zucchini; Corn; Mexican; Recipe; tomato; onion; fresh; canned; vegetarian; vegan; side dish; healthy; mild; spicy; elote; maize; maiz; choclo
What is your favorite way of eating and cooking zucchini?

Other Zucchini Recipes :
Crispy Zucchini Coins, A Vegan Delight! , Spicie Foodie

Summer Salad with Vanilla Vinaigrette, Kitchen Konfidence

Zucchini Blossoms and More, Honest Cooking, The Food Magazine

Chocolate Zucchini Cake, Scandi Foodie


  1. says

    Awww, yay! We're friends on Food Buzz now…love that site, so much!

    This dish looks amazing…I love zuchinni so much…I like just having it steamed with onions…and then seasoned with spices. I actually have a recipe for it on my site. Thanks for sharing yours!

  2. Anonymous says

    just needs some queso fresco and crema San Juan style and perfect just like the one we eate when growin up in mexico!!!

  3. says

    @Alina, Thanks!

    @Heide, Thanks!

    @Claudia, Thank you!

    @Torviewtoronto, Thanks!

    @Belinday, Thanks!

    @Anonymous, Yes exactly! It would complete the sensory memories and tummy :)

  4. says

    what a beautiful dish Nancy! Corn is actually in season around here, we are seeing it everywhere in the grocers, I'm not sure what state its coming from but its been sweet and tender! Of course you know my favorite way to serve zucchini is as a blossom!

  5. says

    I studied archaeology in undergrad and one of the turning points in the prehistory of the Americas was the domestication of maize. Incredibly important stuff! Delicious too, especially in this dish.

  6. says

    @Kimberly, Sounds yummy!

    @Michelle, Yes I bet it would be.

    @Lizzy, Thanks!

    @Chef Dennis, Oh that is great that corn is already available there. Yes I know you love the yummy blossoms :)

    @Cooking Rookie, Thank you, and yes perfect for that.

    @Carolyn, Makes you wonder what if, if maize hadn't been domesticated. Thanks!

    @Maria, Thank you Maria:)

  7. says

    sounds absolutely yummmmmmmy…
    first time your space..excellent recipe collection with gorgeous clicks..
    Am your happy subscriber now..:)
    do stop by mine sometime..
    Tasty Appetite

  8. says

    This looks amazingly delicious Nancy, and so colorful and festive! I love this recipe!
    My favorite zucchini meal is probably in a bread form with cheese, egg and is just fantastic combination!

  9. says

    This could be my favorite dish of yours…or at least in the high favs range, no probably a good solid favorite :) Oh OK… so I love them all but I can still have favorites right?!:)I adore everything here and have both fresh zucchini as well as corn in my possession :)

  10. says

    found this recipe on Tasteologie and I was SHOCKED at how delicious it truly was..and so SIMPLE! My only alteration was adding sour cream at the end.


  1. […] now so perhaps next time we will have it served Mexican snack style. Do you remember this recipe “Calabacitas con Mais or Zucchini with Corn”? It would be perfect to switch out the canned or frozen corn for the fresh kernels. Also if you […]

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