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Vegan Chayote Chile Soup (Instant Pot pressure cooker option)

A nutritious blend of bright clean vegetable flavors, this verdant velvety soup is made with an unusual pear-shaped light green squash, chayote. Creamy smooth with a gorgeous pale green color, you will find chayote chile soup hard to resist!

Chayote Chile Soup in bowl ready to eat

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Tasting of smoky raisin-y roasted poblano chile and traces of fresh serrano and jalapeño chiles, the chile heat is there, but it doesn’t overwhelm your taste buds. Pre-cooked brown rice thrown into the pot and cooked a second time along with all the other ingredients gives this vegan soup a nutty flavor and its buttery creamy texture–without a lick of cream!

Using an Instant Pot or stovetop pressure cooker, this soup can be ready in less than 45 minutes. You will need to cook the rice beforehand because rice cooking time is not included in the recipe times.

chayotes with cilantro and poblano chile for Chayote Chile Soup

 

Have you met the pear-shaped chayote squash? With rough wrinkly ridges and tucked-in bottoms, they make me think of a toothless old face.

chayote toothless face thinking about chayote chile soup

Like zucchini squash, chayote squash has a neutral flavor that benefits from assertive flavors, like the flavors in this chayote chile soup.

Besides turning them into delicious creamy soup, you can prepare chayotes any way you would zucchini or other summer squash. For an easy vegetable side, sauté crisp chayote slices in a skillet with olive oil. You can slice them in half, cut out their edible seed and bake with grain or protein stuffing. Or you can eat the fibrous chayotes raw in salads.

Like summer squash, chayotes are technically, botanically a fruit. In the Southern U.S. they’re known as mirltons and in other places they’re called vegetable pears.

Chayote season is September through May. When you see chayotes in the market, grab them. Enhanced with chiles, onions, garlic and cilantro, chayote chile soup is mm-mm good!

*** If can’t find chayotes, make this soup using zucchini.

cut chayotes for Chayote Chile Soup

 

Serve your chayote chile soup with sliced avocado and green onions and cilantro sprigs. If you like a little crunch, sprinkle on some toasted pumpkin seeds.

To fill out a meal, serve with warm chard and pepper jack quesadillas and a cumin vinaigrette- dressed lettuce and jicama salad.

Why are there three kinds of fresh green chiles in chayote chile soup?

  • Each of these chiles adds its own flavor notes. The large dark green poblano chile, fire-roasted on the grill, stovetop, or broiler, brings smoky smooth sweetness. The finger-size serrano gives citrusy heat, and the jalapeños add milder peppery heat. Altogether they contribute to the whole.
  • Keep in mind that chile heat varies from pepper to pepper. For less picante heat and more chile flavor, as in this recipe, you’ll want to remove the seeds and veins from green chiles. For a milder, not spicy-hot chayote chile soup, use the lesser amount of the smaller chiles.

serrano and jalapeño chiles deveined for chayote chile soup

How to prepare fresh green chiles:

  • Never touch your eyes or sensitive body parts when prepping small chile peppers. I use a grapefruit spoon with a serrated edge to scrape out the seeds and veins from serranos and jalapeños. You can also insulate your fingers by wearing gloves.

blistered poblano chile for chayote chile soup

How to puree Chayote Chile Soup:

  • The easiest way to puree this soup is with an immersion blender.
  • If you only have a regular blender, let the soup cool about 10 minutes, then blend in batches, each batch filling less than half of the blender container. Pour from the blender into a bowl, then when it’s a pureed, pour into the cooking pot, stir and reheat. (If you blend hot soup all at once, you could end up with a huge hot exploded mess on your kitchen counter.)

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5 from 3 votes
Chayote Chile Soup in bowl ready to eat
Chayote Chile Soup
Prep Time
25 mins
Cook Time
15 mins
Total Time
40 mins
 

A delicious vegan soup made with the unusual pale green pear-shaped chayote squash along with cilantro and three types of green chiles. For milder picante heat, use only one half of each serrano and jalapeño pepper. Makes 6 to 8 servings. Recipe includes instructions for Instant Pot, stovetop pressure cooker, and regular stovetop cooking. Cook time estimate is for pressure cooking. You will need to cook the rice beforehand because rice cooking time is not included in the recipe times.

Course: Soup
Cuisine: Mexican, Vegetarian, Gluten Free, Vegan
Keyword: chayote squash, poblano chiles, green chiles
Servings: 8 servings.
Calories: 83 kcal
Author: Letty Flatt
Ingredients
  • 3 chayote squash (see notes)
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 medium onion chopped (about 1 ½ cups)
  • 3 cloves garlic , minced
  • 6 cups vegetable broth
  • 1 each poblano chile , roasted, peeled and coarsely chopped
  • 1 each jalapeño chile , seeds and veins removed, chopped (see note)
  • 1 each serrano chile , seeds and veins removed, chopped (see note)
  • 1 cup cooked brown or white rice
  • ¼ cup plus another ¼ cup coarsely chopped cilantro leaves
  • ½ to 1 teaspoon fine sea salt , depending on how salty the broth
  • Cilantro leaves
  • Green onion , sliced crosswise
  • Avocado slices , optional
Instructions
  1. Peel the chayotes. Cut then in half lengthwise, following the indent at the bottom of the fruit. Cut out the seed and white part—like coring a pear. Don’t worry if you don’t get all the skin off—chayote skin is edible. Cut the squash into rough cubes.
Using the Instant Pot:
  1. Instant Pot: Press the Sauté button. Add the oil and sauté the onion until translucent, about 5 minutes. Stir in the garlic and cook another minute. Add the vegetable broth, the prepared chayote and poblano, jalapeño and serrano chiles, the rice, and the first ¼ cup of cilantro.

    Close the lid and turn the top dial to Seal. Set the Manual button for 5 minutes. Turn the top dial to Vent to reduce the presssure immediately. 

With a stovetop pressure cooker:
  1. Heat the oil and sauté the onions and garlic as for regular stovetop cooking. Add the vegetable broth, the prepared chayote and poblano, jalapeño and serrano chiles, the rice, and the first ¼ cup of cilantro. Cook at pressure for 5 minutes, then reduce the pressure immediately by running cold water over the top of the pressure cooker, or following your pressure cooker instructions.

Cooking the soup stovetop without a pressure cooker:
  1. Heat the oil in a soup pot over medium flame. Add the onion and cook and stir until the onion is translucent, 5 to 10 minutes. Stir in the garlic and cook a few minutes more. 

    Add the vegetable broth, the prepared chayote and poblano, jalapeño and serrano chiles, the rice, and the first ¼ cup of cilantro. Add the vegetable broth, the prepared poblano, jalapeño and serrano chiles, the rice, and the first ¼ cup of cilantro.

    Cover and simmer until the chayote is soft, 15 minutes or so. Remove from the heat.

To puree the soup:
  1. With immersion blender: Place the immersion blender directly in the soup pot and whir until everything is smooth. Blend in the second ¼ cup of cilantro until the leaves are tiny flecks and the soup is smooth and creamy. 
  2. With a blender jar, it’s a good idea to let the soup cool about 10 minutes. Puree in batches, each batch filling less than half of the blender container. Blend the second ¼ cup of cilantro into one of the batches. Pour from the blender into another soup pot, stir and reheat. (If you blend it all in one batch, you may find yourself with a huge hot exploded mess on the counter.)

  3. Taste the soup and season with salt as needed. (See note.)
  4. Ladle into bowls. Garnish with cilantro, green onion and avocado.
Recipe Notes
  • For milder picante heat, use only one half of each serrano and jalapeño pepper. 
  • If you can’t find chayotes, substitute medium zucchini.
  • Cooked rice, cooked again with the veggies, gives this soup perfect velvet thickness.
Nutrition Facts
Chayote Chile Soup
Amount Per Serving (1 g)
Calories 83 Calories from Fat 27
% Daily Value*
Total Fat 3g 5%
Sodium 853mg 36%
Potassium 96mg 3%
Total Carbohydrates 11g 4%
Dietary Fiber 1g 4%
Sugars 3g
Protein 1g 2%
Vitamin A 7.5%
Vitamin C 6.5%
Calcium 1.6%
Iron 1.7%
* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2000 calorie diet.

This is an updated version of the Chayote Chile Soup I posted back in March 2014.

13 comments

  • Patricia Constable

    Hi Letty, Sitting here looking out at the snow, 5″ last night. Been busy with massage. No skiing for me today. Reading your blog put a smile on my face. Hope you and Robbie are enjoying your new casa. Sounds like life has slowed to a nice pace. Be Well, Patricia Reply · 11 March, 2014

    • Letty

      Thanks for the note Patricia. That’s my goal, put a smile on your face and a new recipe in your repertoire. Reply · 11 March, 2014

  • Lisa A

    I’m thankful for your post — puts a smile on my face too (it’s catching) and now I know what to do with Chayote when I’m in Cabo! I’m grateful for my Irish roots, my grandmother, Margaret McNamara, who loved to jig and my Dad, who instilled in me a love of Celtic music! Reply · 11 March, 2014

    • Letty

      I too am grateful for Celtic music. Thanks for the comment Lisa. Reply · 12 March, 2014

  • Diane

    your description of Baja life leaves me longing to be back…..the wonderful recipe is printed and in my “take to Mexico” folder. Miss you all! Reply · 14 March, 2014

    • Letty

      Thanks Diane. And you can practice the soup at home beforehand. Reply · 15 March, 2014

  • The soup looks fabulous and living in Baja even better. Reply · 14 March, 2014

    • Letty

      Thanks Barbara,
      yes this Baja life becomes addicting. As you can see I am truly having fun in the kitchen. Reply · 15 March, 2014

  • Where in Baja are you? If you are anywhere near the Valle de Guadalupe you must visit it. I hope to go back in May. It’s my new fav place to be. Restaurant recs on my blog. GREG Reply · 18 March, 2014

  • Syd Reed

    I am now in Florida and am reminded of the lazy days of your life in Baja. Loving the warmth, fresh food and fruits, and finding your recipes nice to have handy. Welcome back Letty, thanks for your blog.
    Syd. Reply · 14 April, 2014

    • Letty

      Thanks Syd. All the fresh food and fruits–enjoy the. We ate pink grapefruit every day and papaya too. Reply · 14 April, 2014

  • What a beautiful recipe. I have to add that your squash face made me smile too! I could use that considering the fact that it’s so stupidly cold here.

    My granddaughter loves zucchini soup, so I am going to substitute zucchini and make this for her! Reply · 1 week ago

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