A little bit spicy and a whole lot of flavor.

Paige Grandjean


Credit: Victor Protasio; Food Styling: Margaret Monroe Dickey; Prop Styling: Audrey Davis

Recipe Summary test

25 mins
25 mins

"My aunt and uncle live in Hatch, New Mexico (the Chile Capital of the World), and my family goes there every fall to roast green chiles and make red chile sauce to stock our freezers for the year," writes Test Kitchen Professional Paige Grandjean. "Our Thanksgiving wouldn't be complete without green chiles. They usually make an appearance in multiple dishes: calabacitas, cornbread, and mac and cheese."

This Thanksgiving, Southern Living's editors and contributors are sharing the recipes that grace our tables year after year—like Paige's Calabacitas. "Calabacitas (which means little squash) is made of sautéed squash, onion, and corn and has a smoky, slightly sweet flavor from the chiles," notes Grandjean. "It feels like a New Mexican take on succotash." Green chiles are the spicy star of this vibrant Thanksgiving side dish. If possible, use frozen roasted green chiles rather than the canned kind, which can have a metallic taste. Pro Tip: Soak up the cheesy sauce at the bottom of the skillet with a slice of buttermilk cornbread.


Ingredient Checklist


Instructions Checklist
  • Melt unsalted butter in a large (12-inch) cast-iron skillet over medium. Add chopped onion. Cook, stirring often, until slightly softened, about 5 minutes. Add garlic. Cook, stirring constantly, until fragrant, about 1 minute. Add yellow squash, zucchini, salt, cumin, Mexican oregano, and pepper. Cook, stirring often, until softened, 10 to 14 minutes. Stir in corn and green chiles. Cook, stirring occasionally, until corn is tender and flavors meld, 5 to 8 minutes. 

  • Reduce heat to low. Add the Mexican cheese blend, stirring until melted and well combined, about 2 minutes. Season to taste with additional salt and pepper, if desired. Sprinkle with queso fresco, and garnish with cilantro before serving.