Spanish style calabacitas (zucchini)

A great dish that will remind you of Spanish rice, this is my take on a traditional stewed zucchini recipe from Spain. I hope you enjoy it as much as I do with beloved flavors such as spicy peppers and cilantro-lime.

Another one of my ventures into Mediterranean cooking. This is a bit more “Iberian” as they like to call it, but I don’t think most of you will care where it’s from just what’s in it.

I have never used saffron before, but I guess it’s a pretty important ingredient in Spanish cooking (and EXPENSIVE). Despite it’s price, you actually use relatively small quantities of it at a time. Only a small pinch. I soaked it in water, because by doing this the flavor actually becomes much more potent so you end up using even less. The longer you soak the better it tastes!

I love onions so this was great for me, and I think I like this type of cuisine cooking. I hate just cooking the same type of stuff a;ll the time so this really forced me to use different ingredients that I wouldn’t normally use like the saffron or the peppers. I will mention this, I have a big fear of delving into the world of peppers because it’s completely over my head. They are very much unlike spices, I fear for my taste buds burning out when trying to taste the different peppers. I also don’t appreciate the bathroom as a dear friend in these circumstances either. But I got over it.

In reality most of the heat actually comes from the seeds and the white veins on the insides of the pepper, so if you don’t like heat, then don’t use the seed or the white stuff on the inside.


Spanish style calabacitas


  • 4-5 zucchini thinly chopped and diced
  • 1 large spicy red pepper thinly slice (with or without the seeds is up to how spicy you would like it)
  • pinch dried saffron threads soaked in a bout 1 tbsp. water for at least 20 minutes
  • 1 1/2 large sweet yellow onions, dice
  • pepper
  • 1/4 cup lime juice
  • 1 handful fresh cilantro chopped
  • 2 small cloves garlic finely minced
  • pinch paprika


  1. heat some oil in a pan and add in the garlic and peppers, stir for about a minute and then add int eh onions cooking until they become transparent, about 2-3 minutes.
  2. Then add in the zucchini and a pinch of salt and let cook for about 4 minutes just until they begin to soften. You can add a little water if you would like, but the salt should be enough.
  3. Add in the soaked saffron plus the water it was soaked in and the paprika. Also add in the lime juice and pepper, cooking for another 3-5 minutes.
  4. Turn off the heat and stir in the cilantro.
  5. Serve and enjoy!

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