Discover The Vegetable: Mirlitons

Dawson Steele

Wondering about mirlitons? Check out our most recent post to learn more about their history, uses, and preparation methods.

Have you ever heard of mirlitons? This unique and versatile vegetable is a staple in many New Orleans dishes, and it’s gaining popularity across the country. In this article, we’ll explore the history, nutritional benefits, cultural significance, and uses of mirlitons. We’ll also discuss how to cook them, where to buy them, substitutes for them, common dishes made with them, and the different varieties and types available. So let’s get started on our journey into the world of mirlitons!

History of Mirlitons

Mirlitons, also known as chayote squash, are a popular vegetable in New Orleans. They have a mild flavor and can be eaten raw or cooked. The mirliton is native to Central America and has been cultivated for centuries. It was brought to Louisiana by the Spanish in the early 1700s, and it quickly became a staple of Creole cuisine.

Mirlitons are often used in dishes such as gumbo, jambalaya, and even salads. They can be boiled, steamed, fried, or stuffed with seafood or other fillings. The mirliton is also popularly pickled and served as a condiment.

Cultural Significance

Mirlitons are an important part of New Orleans culture. They are often used in traditional Mardi Gras floats and decorations. The mirliton is also celebrated at the annual French Quarter Festival where they are served in many dishes and even made into art pieces.

Nutritional Value

Mirlitons are low in calories but high in fiber and vitamins A and C. They are also rich in minerals such as calcium, iron, magnesium, phosphorus, potassium, zinc, copper, manganese, selenium, and sodium. These nutrients make mirlitons a healthy addition to any diet.


Mirlitons have been an important part of New Orleans culture for centuries. Not only do they add flavor to dishes but they are also packed with essential vitamins and minerals that make them a nutritious addition to any meal.

How to Cook Mirlitons

Mirlitons, also known as chayote squash, are a type of squash native to the Caribbean and Central America. They are popular in New Orleans cuisine, where they are often served stuffed with shrimp or crabmeat. The mirliton has a mild flavor and a crisp texture that makes it ideal for stuffing, baking, and sautéing. Here’s how to cook mirlitons:


Step 1: Preparing the Mirlitons

Before cooking mirlitons, you’ll need to prepare them by peeling away the tough outer skin and removing the seed core. To do this, cut off each end of the mirliton and then cut it in half lengthwise. Use a spoon to scoop out the seed core from each half.


Step 2: Cooking the Mirlitons

Once the mirlitons have been prepared, you can begin cooking them. For sautéed mirlitons, heat some oil in a skillet over medium-high heat. Add the mirliton halves to the skillet and cook until they are tender and lightly browned on both sides. For stuffed mirlitons, preheat your oven to 350°F (175°C). Place the prepared mirliton halves in an oven-safe dish and fill each one with your desired stuffing. Bake for 30 minutes or until the mirlitons are tender.

Step 3: Serving the Mirlitons

Once cooked, serve your mirlitons hot with your favorite accompaniments such as rice or vegetables. Enjoy!

Nutritional Benefits of Mirlitons

Mirlitons, also known as chayote squash, are a popular vegetable in New Orleans. They are considered to be a superfood due to their many nutritional benefits. Mirlitons are low in calories and fat, yet high in dietary fiber, vitamins, and minerals. They contain antioxidants which help fight off free radicals that can cause cell damage and disease. Additionally, mirlitons are a good source of folate and vitamin C which can help boost the immune system.

Mirlitons are also rich in potassium which helps regulate blood pressure levels. Potassium is essential for proper muscle function and helps maintain healthy nerve signals. Mirlitons are also a good source of magnesium which is important for bone health and energy production. They contain copper which is necessary for the formation of red blood cells and iron absorption.

Mirlitons have anti-inflammatory properties that can help reduce inflammation in the body. They are also high in manganese which helps with digestion and metabolism. The fiber content in mirlitons can help promote regularity and keep you feeling full longer. Additionally, mirlitons contain lutein which has been linked to eye health and reducing the risk of age-related macular degeneration.[1]

Overall, mirlitons provide many health benefits due to their nutrient-rich content including vitamins, minerals, antioxidants, fiber, and more. Eating mirlitons regularly can help improve overall health by boosting the immune system, promoting eye health, reducing inflammation, aiding digestion and metabolism, regulating blood pressure levels, and much more!

Health Benefits of Mirlitons

Mirlitons, also known as chayote squash, are a popular vegetable in New Orleans. They are a member of the gourd family and have a mild, sweet flavor. Mirlitons are low in calories and high in vitamins and minerals. They are also rich in dietary fiber, which can help with digestion and weight management. Additionally, they contain antioxidants that can help protect against free radical damage and reduce inflammation.

Vitamin Content

Mirlitons are an excellent source of vitamin C, which helps boost the immune system and promote healthy skin. They also contain vitamin A, which is important for vision health and cell growth. Additionally, mirlitons provide B vitamins, such as folate and thiamin, which are essential for energy production and nerve function.

Potassium Content

Mirlitons are an excellent source of potassium, which is important for maintaining healthy blood pressure levels. Potassium helps regulate fluid balance in the body and can help reduce the risk of stroke and other cardiovascular diseases. Additionally, potassium helps to maintain muscle strength and can reduce fatigue during exercise.

Fiber Content

Mirlitons are a good source of dietary fiber, which is important for digestive health. Fiber helps to keep the digestive system running smoothly by promoting regular bowel movements. It can also help to lower cholesterol levels and reduce the risk of heart disease. Additionally, fiber helps to keep you feeling fuller for longer periods of time, making it easier to maintain a healthy weight.

Cultural Significance of Mirlitons

Mirlitons, also known as chayote or cho-cho squash, are a type of summer squash native to Central and South America. In Louisiana, they are an important part of the culture and cuisine. Mirlitons have been grown in the region since the 1700s and are used in a variety of dishes such as stews, soups, salads, and even pies. They are also eaten raw or pickled.

The mirliton is a symbol of New Orleans’ Creole culture and is celebrated during the annual Mirliton Festival in November. The festival features live music, cooking demonstrations, and activities for children. It’s a great way to experience the culture of New Orleans and learn more about mirlitons.

Nutritional Value

Mirlitons are low in calories but high in fiber and vitamins A, C, and K. They are also rich in minerals such as magnesium, potassium, calcium, iron, zinc, and phosphorus. Eating mirlitons can help boost immunity and provide essential nutrients for overall health.

Cooking with Mirlitons

Mirlitons have a mild flavor that pairs well with other ingredients like garlic, onions, peppers, tomatoes, herbs, and spices. They can be boiled or steamed until tender then mashed or pureed into soups or stews. They can also be stuffed with meats or vegetables then baked or fried. No matter how you prepare them, mirlitons make a delicious addition to any meal.

Uses for Mirliton Seeds

Mirlitons, also known as chayote squash, are a popular vegetable in New Orleans cuisine. The mirliton is a pear-shaped fruit with a mild flavor and crunchy texture. Inside the mirliton is a seed that can be used in many different ways. The seeds can be cooked, ground into flour, or even pressed for their oil.

Mirliton seeds can be cooked to bring out their nutty flavor. To prepare them, the seeds must first be removed from the mirliton and boiled until tender. Once cooked, the seeds can be added to salads or roasted with other vegetables. They can also be ground into flour and used as an alternative to wheat flour in baking recipes.

Oil Pressing

The oil from mirliton seeds has many uses in cooking and cosmetics. To extract the oil, the seeds must first be pressed using a cold press machine or mortar and pestle. The resulting oil has a nutty flavor and is rich in essential fatty acids like oleic acid and linoleic acid. It can be used as a cooking oil or for making homemade beauty products like soaps and lotions.

Nutritional Benefits

In addition to their culinary uses, mirliton seeds are also high in nutrients like protein, fiber, vitamins A and C, calcium, and iron. Eating mirliton seeds regularly can help boost your immune system and provide your body with essential minerals and vitamins. They are also low in calories and fat which makes them an ideal snack for those looking to maintain a healthy weight.

Where to Buy Mirlitons

You may be able to find mirlitons at a local farmers market or specialty grocery store that carries a variety of international produce. You can also try checking with a local Hispanic market, as mirlitons are popular in many Latin American countries.

If you are unable to find mirlitons locally, you may be able to order them online from a specialty produce supplier or through an online marketplace such as Amazon. It is also possible to purchase mirliton seeds or seedlings online, which can be a good option if you want to grow your own mirlitons at home.

Keep in mind that mirlitons are a tropical fruit and may not be available in all areas, especially if you live in a region with a cooler climate. In this case, you may need to look for alternative sources or consider growing your own mirlitons in a greenhouse or other controlled environment.

In New Orleans, mirlitons are available at most grocery stores. They can usually be found in the produce section alongside other types of squash. Some specialty stores may also carry them, as well as farmers markets during the summer months.

Growing Mirlitons

If you’re feeling adventurous, you can even try growing your own mirlitons! All you need is a warm spot with plenty of sunlight and some well-draining soil. Plant the seeds in early spring and harvest the fruits when they’re mature (usually around 6-8 months).

  1. Choose a sunny spot in your garden with well-draining soil. Mirlitons prefer a sunny location with at least 6 hours of direct sunlight per day.
  2. Plant your mirlitons in the spring, after the last frost has passed. You can plant mirlitons directly in the ground or in containers, as long as the container is large enough to accommodate the roots.
  3. Water your mirlitons regularly, providing enough moisture to keep the soil evenly moist but not waterlogged. Mirlitons are drought-tolerant, but they do need regular watering to produce healthy fruit.
  4. Fertilize your mirlitons with a balanced fertilizer every 2-4 weeks. You can use a granular fertilizer or a liquid fertilizer, depending on your preference.
  5. Prune your mirlitons regularly to keep them healthy and productive. Remove any diseased or damaged leaves, and prune off any suckers that appear at the base of the plant.
  6. Harvest your mirlitons when they are about 6-8 inches long and still firm. You can eat them raw or cooked, and they are often used in soups, stews, and other dishes.

Substitutes for Mirlitons

Mirlitons are a type of squash native to the Gulf Coast region of the United States. They have a mild flavor and can be used in a variety of dishes, from salads to casseroles. Unfortunately, they can be hard to find outside of their native region. Fortunately, there are several substitutes that can be used in place of mirlitons.

Chayote Squash

Chayote squash is a type of squash native to Mexico and Central America. It has a similar texture and flavor to mirlitons, making it an ideal substitute. Chayote squash can be found in many grocery stores or specialty markets.

Zucchini Squash

Zucchini squash is another popular substitute for mirlitons. It has a mild flavor and is widely available in grocery stores. Zucchini squash can be used in many of the same dishes as mirlitons, such as salads and casseroles.

Acorn Squash

Acorn squash is another good substitute for mirlitons. It has a slightly sweet flavor and is readily available in most grocery stores. Acorn squash can be used in place of mirlitons in salads, soups, and casseroles.

Common Dishes Made with Mirlitons

Mirlitons, also known as chayote squash, are a popular vegetable in New Orleans. They have a mild flavor and a crisp texture that makes them an ideal ingredient for a variety of dishes. Common dishes made with mirlitons include salads, soups, stews, casseroles, and even desserts.


Mirlitons can be used to make a variety of salads. They can be cooked or raw and added to other vegetables like tomatoes, bell peppers, and onions. For an extra kick of flavor, mirlitons can be seasoned with herbs like oregano or thyme.

Soups and Stews

Mirlitons are perfect for soups and stews because they hold their shape well when cooked. They can be added to any soup or stew recipe along with other vegetables like potatoes and carrots. The mirlitons will add a subtle sweetness to the dish that will complement the other flavors perfectly.


Mirlitons are also great for casseroles because they don’t break down easily when cooked. They can be combined with cheese, meat, and other vegetables to create a hearty dish that is sure to satisfy any appetite. The mirliton’s mild flavor will blend in nicely with the other ingredients in the casserole.


Surprisingly, mirlitons can also be used to make desserts! They can be boiled until tender and then mashed into a puree that can be used as the base for pies or cakes. The mirliton’s subtle sweetness makes it the perfect addition to any dessert recipe.

Mirliton Varieties and Types

Mirlitons, also known as chayote squash, are a type of summer squash native to Central America and the Caribbean. They have a mild flavor and a crunchy texture, making them perfect for pickling, stuffing, or adding to salads. Mirlitons come in a variety of shapes and sizes, ranging from small pear-shaped fruits to large oblong ones. The most common varieties are green mirlitons, which have a light green skin and white flesh; yellow mirlitons, which have a pale yellow skin and white flesh; and purple mirlitons, which have a deep purple skin and white flesh.

The most popular type of mirliton is the green variety. It has a sweet flavor that pairs well with other vegetables in salads or side dishes. It can also be cooked in various ways such as sautéed, stuffed, or boiled. Yellow mirlitons are slightly sweeter than green mirlitons and can be used in similar ways. They’re often used in stews or soups for added sweetness.

Purple Mirliton

Purple mirlitons have a more distinct flavor than the other varieties. They can be eaten raw or cooked in many different ways such as baked, boiled, fried, or grilled. Their sweet flavor makes them great for adding to salads or other dishes for an extra burst of flavor. Purple mirlitons can also be pickled for an interesting twist on traditional pickles.

Closing Thoughts

Mirlitons are a unique and versatile vegetable that have been around for centuries and are still enjoyed today. They have a variety of uses, from being used as a side dish to being used as a stuffing for dishes like gumbo. They are also packed with nutrition and offer many health benefits. Mirliton seeds can be used to make mirliton oil, which has many medicinal uses.

No matter where you live, you can find mirlitons in stores or online, and they come in different varieties and sizes. There are also plenty of substitutes if you can’t find mirlitons in your area. Common dishes made with mirlitons include casseroles, soups, stews, salads, and more.

We hope this article has given you an appreciation for the history, nutrition, cultural significance, and culinary uses of mirlitons. Thanks for following along! If you have any thoughts or information on the topic of mirlitons that we didn’t cover here, please share them in the comments below!

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