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Stuffing these unique squash with a simple tomato sauced ground turkey stuffing is an easy, healthy, and Make-Ahead dinner. I’ve added in a few extra veggies and salty olives for the occasional briny bite. I know you’ve walked by these beauties in your grocery store before. Next time, stop and grab a few!
As a general rule in my house I try to keep 2 hearty vegetables a week in my vegetable crisper that can serve as a side dish to any meal. When I say hearty, I mean something that won’t go moldy or slimy if I don’t use it within 2 days of grocery shopping on Sunday. Things like broccoli, carrots for roasting, cauliflower, and zucchini are great options. If I have a Fibro Flare and end up needing to order delivery from a nearby restaurant, I can muster enough energy to cook up one of these so I can be certain to get my daily serving of vegetables. But, periodically I get sick of these few staples.
They’re shaped a bit like a deflated coin pouch but with a lovely mint green color. They sort of look as though they could be an unripe avocado, or some funky potato. Don’t be turned off by their quirky shape.
Looking for more veggie filled meals? Try my Summertime Stroganoff; A Light & Healthy Vegetarian version, No Heavy Cream or Sour Cream!
What is a Chayote?
Chayote are in fact squash but much more flavorful than the usual zucchini or yellow squash. They have a sweeter flavor that reminds me of artichokes, especially the seeds!
It couldn’t be simpler to prepare. Grab a pot of boiling water and you can eat them plain, sliced with butter, or layered with melty cheese (like my mom made when I was a kid). I go for to stuffing them, just as you would a zucchini. Once the “meat” is scooped out, they make a perfect little cup for whatever filling you like. Go Latin as I did for this recipe, or top with store-bought rotisserie chicken and a peanut sauce for a Thai twist. Mix with pizza sauce and mozzarella for a kid-friendly version. Chayote are another great “blank pallet” food to do with what you prefer.
Does it matter which Ground Turkey I use?
For this recipe I used ground turkey flavoring it with a bunch of pantry and freezer staples. Although it can be tempting to buy meat with as little fat as possible, avoid “lean” ground turkey usually labeled at 93%-99& lean. A mantra in culinary school is “fat is flavor!” Now, you don’t want deep fried turkey drenched in fat 3 nights a week. But when cooking with ground turkey, a little bit of it is key. Turkey is already very lean, but going that as low as 1% means eating dry and mealy meat. Balance flavor and texture with health.
A flavorful sauce of tomato paste with a few spices and seasonings makes this universally liked. I snuck in frozen corn and peas for texture and protein. Black olives and shredded cheese give a little salty bite to compliment the delicious squash.
In the mood for another easy squash recipe? Take a gander at A No-Recipe Spaghetti Squash Recipe.
Have you ever seen Chayote in your grocery store? Comment below on your thoughts about this odd looking squash.
Easy Ground Turkey Stuffed Chayote
- 2 large chayote squash
- 1 lb ground turkey
- 1/2 yellow onion, about 1 cup, minced
- 1 cloves garlic, minced
- 2 tbsp tomato paste
- 1/2 tsp cumin
- 1/4 tsp smoked paprika
- New Mexico Green Chili Powder (optional)
- 1/3 cup frozen corn
- 1/3 cup frozen peas
- 1-2.25oz can sliced black olives
- 1/3 cup shredded cheese- cheddar, Mexican blend, etc. (+ extra for topping, optional)
- Juice of 1/2 lime
- 1/4 cup cilantro, rough chopped
- Cut the first chayote in half. Rub the cut sides together to coax out the milky moisture which can turn sticky. Rinse it off under cool water. Set aside and repeat with the other squash.
- Lay the chayote in a pot and cover with cold water, coming a few inches above them. Bring to a boil. Reduce to a high simmer/low boil and cook for 25-30 mins. Remove from pot, eat the seeds…(trust me, they taste like artichoke), and allow to cool.
- Using a spoon, hull out the center making room for stuffing. Chop the pulp and set aside.
- Heat 1 tbsp of olive oil in a sauté pan over medium heat. Add in the turkey and stir to break up. Add in the onion and bell pepper and cook until turkey is cooked through. Once browned, stir in the garlic, tomato paste, cumin, paprika, and (chili powder if using), and cook another minute. Dump in all Chayote pulp and frozen vegetables.
- Stir in the cilantro and olives, and squeeze lime over all of it. In an oiled pan that keeps them tightly together(I used a 9″ cake pan), lay in the Chayote and divide the turkey mixture among them.
- Top with 1 tbsp of cheese each if you choose. Bake in 350° oven until heated through, about 20-25 mins.