Grilled Chayote Salad

This Grilled Chayote Salad features diced chayote squash (aka mirliton and chocha), tomatoes, and queso fresco tossed with a chipotle vinaigrette, and served on a bed of crisp greens. Perfect for a cookout with tajín-rubbed and grilled chicken, it’s summer grilling season at its best!

A red platter with grilled chayote salad, print napkin and salad tongs.

👩🏻‍🍳 Tamara Talks – About Chayote Squash

Having spent most of my life in border states in the southwest, I ought to have discovered chayote squash much sooner. I have only cooked it a handful of times. However, chayote (aka mirliton squash and chocho) originated in Central Mexico, making it an important food in Mexican cuisine. It is a summer squash variety.

All that to say, I plan to incorporate more healthy chayote squash into our diets, and create recipes for my readers. Chayote squash is low in calories but packed with fiber, antioxidants, and essential nutrients that make it a healthy addition to almost any diet.

In this preparation of chayote, the squash are peeled, seeded and diced. With a fairly small (1/2″) dice, they grill fairly quickly. I’ve combined the grilled chayote with tomatoes and queso fresco. The chipotle vinaigrette I use on my sweet potato and arugula salad is the perfect dressing for this chayote salad. Served on a bed of crisp greens, it makes a lovely presentation with little effort. Of course, toasted pepitas and fresh herbs make an appearance as they often do on my Mexican recipes.😊

I would be remiss in crediting my inspiration for this salad if I didn’t mention Rick Bayliss’ chayote salad. My salad doesn’t really resemble his salad, but it was a jumping off point for mine.

Note: As an Amazon Associate I earn from qualifying purchases at no additional cost to you. This helps to offset the costs of maintaining my blog and creating awesome content! 😊

Health Benefits of Chayote Squash

Chayote is high in many nutrients – especially folate (vitamin B9) – while being low in calories, carbs, and fat. These points are taken from Healthline’s 10 Impressive Benefits of Chayote Squash. A single chayote squash (203 grams) provides the following nutrients:

  • Calories: 39
  • Carbs: 9 grams
  • Protein: 2 grams
  • Fat: 0 grams
  • Fiber: 4 grams — 14% of the Reference Daily Intake (RDI)
  • Vitamin C: 26% of the RDI
  • Vitamin B9 (folate): 47% of the RDI
  • Vitamin K: 10% of the RDI
  • Vitamin B6: 8% of the RDI
  • Manganese: 19% of the RDI
  • Copper: 12% of the RDI
  • Zinc: 10% of the RDI
  • Potassium: 7% of the RDI
  • Magnesium: 6% of the RDI

📋 Grilled Chayote Salad Ingredients

Ingredients for grilled chayote salad: Chayote squash, sugar bomb tomatoes, queso fresco, baby leaf lettuce, and chives.
  • chayote squash – To choose a ripe chayote, choose fruit that are firm to the touch, between light and dark green in color, and without any brown soft spots (varying colors are fine as long as the fruit is firm).
  • tomatoes – I love these sugar bomb tomatoes on the vine. Choose your preferred tomatoes. I usually slice tiny tomatoes in half lengthwise to make them easier to eat.
  • cheese – We love queso fresco in this salad recipe, but there are certainly other options. Crumbled cotija, fresh mozarella, even blue cheese or manchego are good options. Make it your own!
  • greens – I splurged on my greens because I love pretty photos. This is baby green leaf lettuce. Choose crisp, tender greens like arugula, baby spinach, etc.
  • chipotle vinaigrette – This salad dressing pairs really well with the chayote squash salad. It requires olive oil, vinegar, an orange, a small shallot, and a chipotle in adobo. If heat level is an issue, use only half of a chipotle, or a little bit of the adobo. The smoky flavor is the key ingredient in this dressing. However, there are other options, including this cilantro jalapeño ranch. If I haven’t persuaded you to make your salad dressing, stick with salad dressings that enhance the savory, fresh salad ingredients like this chile lime vinaigrette, this mango cilantro jalapeño vinaigrette, or this smoky chipotle salad dressing.
  • garnishes – I love toasted pepitas, but you can substitute pine nuts or almonds, or omit. Fresh herbs make everything taste more fresh IMHO, and on photo day, I clipped chives from my garden. Cilantro is always a great choice too.

🔪 Instructions

  • Prepare the vinaigrette – Add all ingredients to a blender or food processor. Pulse until smooth. Set aside. NOTE: If you have a partner that likes to grill, you can make the vinaigrette while he/she grills the squash.
Step 1 - Diced chayote squash in a grill basket on the grill.
  • Prepare and grill the squash – A fairly small dice on the squash will get it grilled more quickly. Chayote is more dense than zucchini, and requires a little more time. I like this vegetable chopper with the large dice grid. Preheat the grill to medium-high. Grill until tender, stirring occasionally. This size dice takes 8-10 minutes. NOTE: you do want some caramelized edges!
Step 2 - A glass bowl with queso fresco, grilled diced chayote, tomatoes, and chipotle vinaigrette.
  • Combine the tomatoes, grilled squash, and diced cheese in an appropriately sized bowl.
Step 3 - The grilled chayote, queso fresco, and tomatoes tossed with chipotle vinaigrette.
  • Toss the salad – Drizzle with about half the vinaigrette, and toss. Reserve a little dressing to drizzle over the top.
  • Finish the salad – Arrange crisp, leafy greens on a platter. Scoop the salad atop, garnish with toasted pepitas and fresh herbs. Drizzle with additional vinaigrette as desired.
A close up of the completed grilled chayote squash on a red platter with black flatware and a print napkin.

❓ FAQ

Is this chayote salad good leftover?

I almost always prefer salads fresh, but this salad will be fine the next day. You may wish to garnish individual portions of salad with pepitas and fresh herbs, and leave them off of the leftover salad until serving.

What type of vinegar do you recommend?

I use sherry vinegar, but I keep a variety of vinegars on hand. You want something smooth and not too bold or abrasive like wine vinegar or apple cider vinegar.

💭 Tips

Using small plates rather than large dinner plates is a great way to reduce portions without it looking reduced!

Chipotles are smoked jalapeños. If they’re too hot for you, proceed cautiously. You can use just a bit of the adobo rather than a whole chipotle, then taste. Add more if you want to spice it up a bit.

Note: As an Amazon Associate I earn from qualifying purchases at no additional cost to you. This helps to offset the costs of maintaining my blog and creating awesome content! 😊

A black ceramic plate with grilled chayote salad, grilled fish, and grilled corn with a glass of rosé.
Serving suggestion: Grilled Chayote Salad with redfish on the half shell, and grilled corn. A dry rosé pairs really well!

This Mexican-inspired salad comes together so quickly with just a few healthy ingredients. I hope you’ll give it a try!

Signature in red and green with chiles and limes. Healthyish Latin cuisine.

A close up of a red platter with grilled chayote salad and 2 black forks.

Grilled Chayote Salad with Chipotle Vinaigrette

A simple side salad of grilled chayote squash, tomatoes, and queso fresco with a homemade chipotle vinaigrette
5 from 3 votes

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Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 10 minutes
Total Time 20 minutes
Course Salad
Cuisine Mexican
Servings 3 servings
Calories 294 kcal

Equipment

Ingredients
  

Chipotle Vinaigrette

  • ¼ cup olive oil
  • 1 tablespoon sherry vinegar - see Ingredients for substitutions
  • 1 small orange - zest and juice
  • 1 lime - juice
  • 1 chipotle in adobo - use half if heat is a concern
  • 1 small shallot - cut in chunks
  • 1 clove fresh garlic
  • sea salt and fresh ground pepper - to taste

Chayote Salad

  • 2 chayote squash - peeled, seeded, and diced
  • 5 ounces tiny tomatoes - halved lengthwise
  • 2 ounces queso fresco - diced
  • green leaf lettuce - or other greens
  • fresh herbs - chopped; chives, cilantro, epazote, oregano, etc.
  • 2 tablespoons toasted pepitas - for garnish

Instructions

  • Add all vinaigrette ingredients to a blender or food processor. Pulse until smooth. Set aside
  • Grill the diced squash on medium-high heat until tender and caramelized on the edges.
  • Add grilled squash, tomatoes, and queso fresco to a bowl. Drizzle with half the vinaigrette, and toss.
  • Arrange salad atop greens. Garnish with toasted pepitas and chopped fresh herbs.

Nutrition

Calories: 294kcal | Carbohydrates: 14g | Protein: 7g | Fat: 24g

NOTE: Macronutrients are an approximation only using unbranded ingredients and MyFitnessPal.com. Please do your own research with the products you’re using if you have a serious health issue or are following a specific diet.

Did you make this recipe? Please leave a comment and/or star rating! Email us with any questions: tamara@beyondmeresustenance.com

🥗 Pairing Suggestions

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