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Costa Rican Beef and Chayote Recipe

Costa Rican Beef and Chayote Recipe

Equally delicious as a taco filling or a topping for refried beans and rice, this dish features chayote, a pale green, pear-shaped fruit popular in many Latin American countries. It has a mild flavor and pleasantly light crunch similar to cucumber. Chayote can be found at ethnic food markets (many conventional grocers also carry it), but zucchini makes an equally fitting substitute.


  • 2 tablespoons canola or olive oil
  • 1 medium onion, finely chopped
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 pound lean ground beef (or turkey)
  • 1/2 teaspoon curry powder
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon pepper
  • 3/4 cup diced green pepper
  • 2 medium ripe tomatoes, peeled, seeded, and finely chopped
  • 2 tablespoons tomato paste
  • 1 large chayote, peeled, cored, and cut into 1/4-inch dice, or zucchini cut into 1/4-inch dice
  • 1/2 cup fresh or frozen corn kernels
  • 3 tablespoons finely chopped fresh cilantro or parsley


  1. Heat the oil in a large heavy skillet over medium heat. Add the onion and sauté, stirring occasionally, until golden brown, about 7 minutes. Stir in the garlic and sauté for a few more seconds.
  2. Add the meat, curry powder, salt, and pepper to the mixture. Continue to sauté until the meat loses its pink color, breaking it up with a wooden spoon as it cooks, about 3 minutes.
  3. Add the green pepper, tomatoes, tomato paste, chayote, and corn. Lower the heat, cover, and cook until the chayote is tender, about 15 minutes (zucchini will take about 5 minutes to cook).
  4. Stir in the cilantro or parsley and season with salt and pepper to taste. Serve with rice and refried beans or as a taco filling. Serves 4.

Nutritional Information:

Per serving (1 1/4 cups):

Calories 342

Total Fat 19 g (29% DV)

Saturated Fat 5 g (26% DV)

Cholesterol 74 mg (25% DV)

Sodium 696 mg (29% DV)

Total Carbohydrate 19 g (6% DV)

Fiber 5 g (19% DV)

Sugars 9 g

Protein 26 g (52% DV)

Vitamin A 1210 IU (24% DV)

Vitamin C 49 mg (82% DV)

Iron 4 mg (21% DV) Percent daily values are based on a 2,000-calorie diet. Your daily values may be higher or lower depending on your calorie needs.