This chayote salad is layered with flavors and textures to create a side dish that can be served warm or cold. With crisp apple, tender chayote, pickled onions, and salty feta, it’s a fresh and delicious salad perfect alongside any dinner.
If you’ve never tried a chayote squash, this refreshing salad is the perfect way to start. My family loves the tender, firm bite of gently cooked squash mixed with the crunchy tang of pickled onions and crisp, sweet apples.
I was first introduced to a chayote salad from Pati Jinich’s book “Pati’s Mexican Table” and we loved it. It’s just one of the many ways to cook chayote, but I was inspired and couldn’t resist adding my own touches to make it just right for my family.
It’s turned into a wonderful side dish we all enjoy, especially since it can be served warm or cold and I can make it in advance for a quick addition to any meal. It’s fantastic with light pasta or protein, especially those that complement the zesty flavors.
A combination of fresh ingredients and a vibrant vinaigrette make the salad flavorful but still light. Chayote’s are in season from fall through spring, but you can find any of the ingredients at a grocery store year-round.
- Chayote – Choose 3 firm and green chayotes for 6 full servings.
- Vinegar – You can use white vinegar, or swap it for red wine, white wine, or any light vinegar you like.
- Salt & pepper – You’ll season the vinaigrette to taste with both.
- Oregano – I recommend using the dried herb but to use fresh oregano, double the amount and chop it finely.
- Sugar – Use just a pinch to balance the vinegar in the dressing.
- Olive oil – Oil is essential to the vinaigrette, but you can use up to half vegetable or canola oil.
- Red onion – You’ll only need half, thinly sliced.
- Apple – I prefer red apples, but you can use any sweet, crisp apple you prefer.
- Radishes – Sliced radishes bring a peppery, crisp bite. Use whatever variety looks the freshest when you buy them.
- Cilantro – It’s hard to replace the flavor of fresh cilantro, but you can use parsley for a herbaceous green addition instead.
- Feta cheese – A salty, crumbly cheese is essential. You could use queso fresco or goat cheese instead.
There are a few steps to getting the salad perfect, and it starts with gently simmering the chayote whole until they’re tender, but not soft.
Place them in a pot of boiling water and reduce it to a simmer, then cook for 25-30 minutes or until they can be pierced with a fork, but still feel firm. Drain and set them aside to cool while you prep the onions and vinaigrette.
Combine the vinegar, salt, pepper, oregano, and a pinch of sugar in a large enough bowl to hold the onions. Stream the oil in slowly, whisking the whole time, until it’s emulsified into a silky vinaigrette. Then add in the sliced onions and stir. Let them marinate for 10 minutes.
Meanwhile, peel the cooled squash and slice them in half lengthwise. Remove the seeds and cut each half into slices. Slice the apples and radishes as well, then chop the cilantro.
Combine everything except the feta with the vinaigrette and onions and toss it all together. Then add the feta and toss gently one final time to combine. Serve immediately, or chill it.
Serving & Storage
One big perk to making this tangy chayote salad is that it can be prepped ahead, either whole or in stages. The vinaigrette can be made up to 5 days in advance and stored in the fridge. Or you can prep the entire salad and cover it in the fridge for up to a day.
You can even serve it cold or at room temperature, both are delicious! I recommend pairing it with something that compliments the flavors like my Za’atar Salmon or my Chili Lime Shrimp Stuffed Avocados. No matter how you choose to serve it, I think you’ll love the textures and flavors of this fresh and light salad. It’s great for brightening up a meal from fall through spring.
My guide about what chayote is and my collection of chayote recipes are great for inspiring more meals like this salad. And of course, don’t forget to also check out some of my other delicious salads while you’re here.
- Creamy Celery Root Apple Salad
- Star Fruit Salad with Avocado and Arugula
- Chickpea Avocado Radish Salad
- Shaved Brussels Sprout Pomegranate Salad
Pickled Chayote Salad with Apple and Radishes
- 3 chayotes
- 3 tablespoons vinegar
- 3/4 teaspoon sea salt , or to taste
- 1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper , or to taste
- 1/2 teaspoon dried oregano
- Pinch of sugar , or to taste
- 1/4 cup olive oil
- 1/2 red onion , thinly sliced
- 1 red apple , sliced
- 4 oz. (120g) radishes
- 2 tablespoons chopped fresh cilantro
- 1/4 cup crumbled feta cheese
- Adapted from “Pati’s Mexican Table” by Pati Jinich
- Place the chayotes in a large pot, cover with water, and bring to a boil. Simmer for 25-30 minutes over medium heat, until the chayotes can be pierced with a fork, but are still firm. Drain and let cool.
- In a large bowl, mix together the vinegar, salt, pepper, oregano, and sugar. Slowly whisk in the olive oil in a thin stream until the vinaigrette is emulsified. Add the red onion and let sit for 10 minutes.
- Peel the chayotes, cut in half lengthwise, and remove the seeds. Cut into slices.
- Toss the chayote slices, apple, radishes, and cilantro with the vinaigrette. Finally, add the crumbled feta and toss gently. Serve immediately.