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Mexican Vegetable Sauté – Calabacitas with Black Beans

5 from 5 votes

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This Mexican Vegetable Sauté is easy to put together in one pan. It’s a delicious and healthy meal that is a great way to use some of your summer garden produce.

Plate of Calabacitas with vegan sour cream and tortilla chips; vegetables and bowl of sour cream in background

One of my favorite things about summer is the bounty of fresh produce. And one of my favorite cuisines is Mexican.

Several years ago, when I was still a vegetarian and not yet a vegan, I had delicious meal at a Mexican restaurant. It was called Calabacitas. I remember this dish having summer squash, corn, tomatoes, and a creamy cheese sauce. I thoroughly enjoyed that meal, and always looking for something else to do with zucchini, I set out to make a vegan version of it.

Calabacitas is the Spanish word for zucchini or squash. It translates as “little squash.”

There are many versions of calabacitas recipes, but all of them contain zucchini or summer squash. These recipes also usually contain onion, corn, peppers, sometimes tomatoes, and often meat. Sometimes it is served meatless as a vegetable side dish.

I chose to make mine a vegan main dish by adding black beans. Instead of a cream sauce, I chose to top my calabacitas with some vegan sour cream.


Ingredients for Calabacitas with black beans
  • Zucchini or other summer squash
  • Onion – yellow or white
  • Red bell pepper
  • Garlic
  • Corn – I used frozen, but fresh or canned can also be used
  • Tomatoes – I used canned diced tomatoes. Fresh peeled and diced tomatoes will also work.
  • Black Beans – canned or cooked from dry
  • Spices
  • Lime juice

How to make this recipe

Bowl of Mexican vegetable saute

I love the ease of this recipe. Just dice a few vegetables, open a couple of cans, and start sautéing.

  1. Start by dry sautéing the diced onion and the diced bell pepper in a large stainless steel skillet. Use small amounts of water to deglaze the pan and prevent the onion from sticking.
  2. When the onion is translucent, add the garlic and sauté for a couple of minutes, until the garlic is fragrant.
  3. Next add the zucchini, cilantro, and spices, and cook just until the zucchini begins to soften.
  4. Then stir in the black beans, corn, and diced tomatoes. Simmer the mixture until it is heated through.

Mexican Vegetable Saute cooking in pan

Finish by stirring in the juice of one lime, and salt and pepper to taste. Serve the Mexican Vegetable Sauté over baked tortilla chips, and top with a fat free vegan sour cream and some chopped cilantro.

How to serve this recipe:

How to store this recipe:

Leftovers can be stored in the refrigerator in an air tight container for 5 to 7 days. It can also be frozen in a Ziploc type freezer bag for up to 3 months.

Here are some other tasty Mexican dishes:

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Plate of Mexican vegetable saute with sour cream and toftilla chips, vegetables in background

Mexican Vegetable Sauté – Calabacitas with Black Beans

Teresa Sklenicka
This Mexican Vegetable Sauté is easy to put together in one pan. It's a delicious and healthy meal, and a great way to use some of your summer garden produce.
5 from 5 votes
Prep Time 20 mins
Cook Time 30 mins
Total Time 50 mins
Course Main Course
Cuisine Mexican
Servings 6
Calories 145.8 kcal


  • 1 large sweet onion diced
  • 1 red or orange bell pepper diced
  • 5 cloves garlic minced
  • 2 small zucchinis quartered lengthwise and sliced
  • 1/4 cup chopped fresh cilantro
  • 2 tablespoons chili powder
  • 1 teaspoon cumin
  • 1 teaspoon oregano
  • ½ teaspoon coriander
  • 1 can black beans
  • 1 ½ cup frozen corn
  • 14 ounce can diced tomatoes
  • 1-2 tablespoons lime juice
  • Salt and pepper to taste


  • Sauté the onion and bell pepper in a large stainless steel pan, using a small amount of water to deglaze the pan.
  • When the onion is translucent, add the garlic and sauté for just a minute or two, until the garlic is fragrant.
  • Add zucchini, cilantro, and spices, and simmer until zucchini just begins to soften.
  • Stir in the black beans, corn, and tomatoes.
  • Simmer until hot.
  • Finish with the lime juice, salt and pepper.


Calories: 145.8kcalCarbohydrates: 30gProtein: 6.6gFat: 1.3gSodium: 412.4mgFiber: 8.6gSugar: 6.2gVitamin A: 2450IUVitamin C: 86.6mgCalcium: 90mgIron: 2.3mg
Keyword Black Bean, Corn, Gluten Free, Oil Free, Zucchini
Tried this recipe?Let us know how it was!

Nutrition calculations are approximate.

By on July 3rd, 2019

About Teresa Sklenicka

I love creating tasty, oil-free, vegan recipes that everyone will love (even non-vegans)! Here you'll find vegan versions of your favorite comfort foods, as well as some new tastes! Join me on a path to improving your health, helping the planet, and saving animals.

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8 thoughts on “Mexican Vegetable Sauté – Calabacitas with Black Beans”

  1. A new family favorite!!
    And interchanging veggies works too! What ever you have on hand ..
    Adding tofu or tempeh next time , with fresh jalapeños..
    The sautéed onion , garlic & spices are a great base .
    Thank you for sharing .:)

  2. 5 stars
    Made this last night and my non vegan family loved it. I used taco seasoning instead of spices. We absolutely loved this! Going on our meal rotation.


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