Calabacitas soup is a family favorite; we have been making it for years. Normally, we make this soup on the stove top, but we are having a get together with friends and serving soups and appetizers, so I decided to make this in the crock pot so I didn't have to prep when guests arrived.
Calabacitas is Spanish for zucchini, but there is much more to this version than squash. I think the beauty of this recipe is its simplicity. It is so easy to make and it tastes delicious! We have tweaked this recipe over the years, and this is what we have come up with. It's spicy and cheesy, but the vegetables are the stars of the show. I'd love to hear suggestions on how to improve this.
Step 1: To the Grocery Store...
This recipe does have a lot of ingredients, and while you certainly can omit some, I think they work well together.
Here is the Grocery List:
- Yellow Squash - 2 medium, chopped
- Zucchini - 2 medium, chopped
- Onion - 1 small, diced
- Garlic - 2-3 cloves, diced
- Tomatoes - 1 can of diced. It is definitely better with fresh tomatoes, but I had this in the pantry.
- Bell pepper - 1 chopped
- Corn - 2 cups frozen, not pictured
- Carrot - 1 chopped thin, or diced
- Olives - sliced, around 7-8 oz.
- Black beans - 1 can drained and rinsed, 15 oz
- Sausage - I used 1/2 of a Polish Kielbasa.
- Chipotle peppers - in adobo sauce. Vary amount depending on how spicy you like it. We like it hot!
- Dried oregano - 1/2 teaspoon
- Cumin - 1/2 teaspoon
- Chicken broth - I recommend the low sodium kind, 32 oz.
- Cheese sauce - 2 cans of Cambells Chedder Cheese, 10.25 oz
- Cotija cheese
Step 2: Prep Work
This is such a simple soup. Once you round up all of your ingredients, you just need to prep them and put them in the crock pot. The zucchini and squash are the main players of the soup, so I like to cut those a little bigger than the rest of the ingredients. I chopped my carrots a little on the thick side for this soup, I would suggest chopping those a bit thinner. The carrots add a little crunch, and the texture is good, but you don't want too much crunch. Be careful when adding the chipotle peppers, they add a punch to the soup. We like it on the spicy side, so I diced up two healthy sized peppers and about a teaspoon or two of the adobo sauce. It adds a smokiness that is delicious!
Once you finish chopping the vegetables, you are pretty much done. All you need to do is throw it all in the crock pot. I love the colors that this soup has.
Step 3: Assembly
Add everything to your crock pot. Hold the cilantro, avacado, cojita cheese, and the lime. That is for the finished soup. Give the pot a good stir, set it on low, and go find something to do for the next 6 hours. Total prep time for me was around 20 minutes.
Step 4: Garnish
When serving, I like to use a slotted spoon to dish out the vegetable mixture, then use a ladle to add the broth. Garnish with fresh chopped cilantro, cojita cheese, and a couple of avacado slices. A squeeze of lime juice freshens the dish up.
Step 5: Bon Apetite
This is a great soup to make in the summer when the vegetables are all in season, but you can't beat it on a cold night. This soup tends to get better the next day, if you have any left... As prepared it serves 8 comfortably with room for seconds. I think it goes well with some corn bread and a nice Chardonnay.
But if you do have left overs, you can use a slotted spoon and serve the vegetable mix as a side dish or you could put it in a tortilla and have tacos.