Mexican Zucchini, Corn, and Peppers (Calabacitas) — An EASY Mexican-inspired recipe ready in 15 minutes with zucchini, corn, bell peppers, tomatoes, and green chiles!! HEALTHY, vegan, and naturally gluten-free! When there’s an abundance of summer produce, this recipe is PERFECT!! 

Overhead of Skillet Zucchini, Corn, and Peppers (Calabacitas) in pan

Mexican Calabacitas Recipe  

What is calabacitas? Well, in Spanish, calabacitas means zucchini. But there’s definitely more than just zucchini in this dish.

Although most people would consider this calabacitas recipe a side dish, I consider it a meal that keeps me full for hours from all the veggies.

This super flavorful side dish with so many flavors, textures, and vibrant colors is both vegan and gluten-free. You’d never guess it was ‘missing’ anything because it’s so filling.

Because it’s also a warm side dish, it has a comfort-food vibe to it, although it holds great at room temp or can be served chilled.

I gave half the batch to my neighbor because it makes a very big batch and she said her family devoured it and asked for more.

Just wait until you see the volume of food this recipe makes! It makes an easy 6 hearty servings and it also holds well at room temperature, so it’s perfect for parties, picnics, and potlucks.

Skillet Zucchini, Corn, and Peppers (Calabacitas) - An EASY Mexican-inspired recipe ready in 15 minutes with zucchini, corn, bell peppers, tomatoes, and green chiles!! HEALTHY, vegan, and naturally gluten-free! When there's an abundance of summer produce, this recipe is PERFECT!! 

What’s In Calabacitas?

In my version of Mexican calabacitas, there’s a mixture of:

  • Olive Oil
  • Onions
  • Red and orange bell peppers
  • Zucchini
  • Fire-roasted green chiles
  • Corn
  • Cherry tomatoes
  • Cumin
  • Oregano
  • Salt and pepper
  • Lime Juice
  • Cayenne pepper, optional 

The cayenne doesn’t make the dish spicy, but rather flavors a very large skillet of vegetables so that they’re not bland. Mexican-inspired food as we know it doesn’t tend to be bland.

How to Make Calabacitas 

This Mexican calabacitas recipe is very easy to make! Simply sauté the onion and bell peppers until they start to soften. 

Then, add the zucchini, corn, and chiles. Season with the spices and continue cooking until the veggies are tender as desired. 

Add the tomatoes and lime juice last and cook just until warmed through. That’s it! 

Skillet Zucchini, Corn, and Peppers (Calabacitas) - An EASY Mexican-inspired recipe ready in 15 minutes with zucchini, corn, bell peppers, tomatoes, and green chiles!! HEALTHY, vegan, and naturally gluten-free! When there's an abundance of summer produce, this recipe is PERFECT!! 

What to Serve with Calabacitas 

This Mexican zucchini and corn dish a perfect side dish to accompany anything from Grilled Lime Cilantro Chicken to Chile Lime Salmon to Grilled Sriracha Lime Chicken.

It’s also super versatile and would make a great taco, burrito, or enchilada filling

Recipe Substitutions 

Like so many recipes that use similar ingredients to this one, you can easily doctor this recipe up and adapt it suit your needs. 

Suggestions include:

  • Use poblano chiles or green bell peppers
  • Add garlic
  • Add jalapeños
  • Add avocado
  • Add black or garbanzo beans
  • Use regular tomatoes, Roma, or heirloom rather than cherry or grape 
  • Add cheese at the end such as cotija or shredded pepper Jack
  • Garnish with cilantro 

Skillet Zucchini, Corn, and Peppers (Calabacitas) - An EASY Mexican-inspired recipe ready in 15 minutes with zucchini, corn, bell peppers, tomatoes, and green chiles!! HEALTHY, vegan, and naturally gluten-free! When there's an abundance of summer produce, this recipe is PERFECT!! 

Tips for Making This Calabacitas Recipe 

This is an easy recipe to mix and match based on what you have hanging around in your fridge. It’s a very forgiving recipe! 

This is great for bringing to potlucks because it’s gluten-free and vegan, so it’s suitable for a wide range of dietary needs. 

Extra will keep airtight in the fridge for up to 5 days or in the freezer for 4 months, noting that the texture of the vegetables will be softer upon thawing if you choose to freeze it.

Skillet Zucchini, Corn, and Peppers (Calabacitas) - An EASY Mexican-inspired recipe ready in 15 minutes with zucchini, corn, bell peppers, tomatoes, and green chiles!! HEALTHY, vegan, and naturally gluten-free! When there's an abundance of summer produce, this recipe is PERFECT!! 
Yield: 6

Skillet Zucchini, Corn, and Peppers (Calabacitas)

Prep Time 8 minutes
Cook Time 12 minutes
Total Time 20 minutes

Skillet Zucchini, Corn, and Peppers (Calabacitas) - An EASY Mexican-inspired recipe ready in 15 minutes with zucchini, corn, bell peppers, tomatoes, and green chiles!! HEALTHY, vegan, and naturally gluten-free! When there's an abundance of summer produce, this recipe is PERFECT!! 

Ingredients

  • 3 to 4 tablespoons olive oil, plus more if necessary
  • 1 large or extra large yellow onion, diced small
  • 1 large red bell pepper, seeded and diced small
  • 1 large orange bell pepper, seeded and diced small
  • 2 large zucchini, diced small
  • 1 1/2 cups corn (I used previously frozen corn that I thawed first; canned or fresh may be substituted - if using fresh, add it from the beginning)
  • one 4-ounce can fire-roasted green chiles (or regular green chiles for a bit less heat)
  • 2 teaspoons cumin, or to taste
  • 1 teaspoon dried oregano or dried Mexican oregano, or to taste
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt, or to taste
  • 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper, or to taste
  • 1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper, optional and to taste
  • 2 tablespoons lime juice
  • 1 1/2 cups cherry or grape tomatoes, halved

Instructions

  1. To a very large skillet, add the oil, onions, bell peppers, and cook over medium-high heat for about 5 minutes, or until onion and peppers are beginning to soften; stir intermittently.
  2. Add the zucchini, corn, chiles, evenly sprinkle with the cumin, oregano, salt and pepper, optional cayenne, and stir to combine. If necessary, add additional oil if it's looking at all dry. Cook for about 5 minutes, or until vegetables are as tender as desired; stir intermittently.
  3. Add the tomatoes, lime juice, and stir to combine. Taste the dish and if necessary, add more salt, pepper, cayenne, etc. Note - the cayenne doesn't make the dish spicy, but rather flavors a very large skillet of vegetables so that they're not bland. Serve immediately. Recipe also holds well and can be served at room temp. Extra will keep airtight in the fridge for up to 5 days or in the freezer for 4 months, noting that the texture of the vegetables will be softer upon thawing if you choose to freeze it.

Nutrition Information:

Yield:

6

Serving Size:

1

Amount Per Serving: Calories: 174Total Fat: 10gSaturated Fat: 1gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 8gCholesterol: 0mgSodium: 358mgCarbohydrates: 21gFiber: 3gSugar: 10gProtein: 3g

More Easy Mexican Recipes: 

Creamy Mexican Grilled Corn and Zucchini Salad — A healthy EASY salad that’s ready in 15 minutes and so flavorful!! Corn, zucchini, cilantro, queso fresco and more are tossed in a DELISH creamy lime sauce!!

Grilled Mexican Corn and Black Bean Salad — An EASY corn salad with black beans, zucchini, red onions, cilantro, lime juice, and more!! So much Mexican-inspired FLAVOR in every bite of this family favorite recipe that’s sure to be a hit!!

Skinny Mexican Bean and Corn Salad – Two kinds of beans, juicy corn, tomatoes, peppers, and more tossed in a light chili-lime-cumin vinaigrette! Healthy, easy, ready in 5 minutes, and loaded with flavor!

Skinny Mexican Bean and Corn Salad - Two kinds of beans, juicy corn, tomatoes, peppers, and more tossed in a light chili-lime-cumin vinaigrette!! HEALTHY, EASY, ready in 5 minutes, and loaded with flavor!!

Avocado, Black Bean and Corn Salad with Lime-Cumin Vinaigrette – Everything tastes better with avocado! Easy, healthy and tons of flavor!

Avocado, Black Bean and Corn Salad with Lime-Cumin Vinaigrette - Everything tastes better with avocado!! Easy, healthy and tons of flavor!

Chicken Avocado Black Bean Salad — A Mexican-inspired salad with tender chicken, black beans, creamy avocado, juicy tomatoes, cilantro, lime juice and more! EASY, ready in 20 minutes, HEALTHY, and packed with fiesta FLAVORS galore!

Chicken Avocado Black Bean Salad on white plate

Avocado Black Bean Mexican Salad – EASY, ready in 10 minutes, and there’s so much FLAVOR from the lime-cumin-chili vinaigrette!! Great for lunch or a meatless Monday dinner! Accidentally vegan, gluten-free, HEALTHY, and DELISH!!

Avocado and Black Bean Mexican Salad - EASY, ready in 10 minutes, and there's so much FLAVOR from the lime-cumin-chili vinaigrette!! Great for lunch or a meatless Monday dinner! Accidentally vegan, gluten-free, HEALTHY, and DELISH!!

Grilled Chicken and Corn Salad –  An EASY salad that’s ready in 15 minutes and you won’t be able to stop eating it!! Tender chicken, juicy corn, crisp bell peppers and tomatoes, creamy avocado, cilantro, and fresh lime juice for the WIN!!

Grilled Chicken and Corn Salad -  An EASY salad that’s ready in 15 minutes and you won’t be able to stop eating it!! Tender chicken, juicy corn, crisp bell peppers and tomatoes, creamy avocado, cilantro, and fresh lime juice for the WIN!!

We are a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to amazon.com.