“In Haiti, chayote (christophine) or mirliton as we call it is mostly eaten in meat stews or legumes and au gratin. Chayote au Gratin, or Mirliton au Gratin, is a scrumptious and versatile dish! The taste is somewhat like a meat and cheese quiche but without the crust. It’s usually made with ham, Gruyére or Parmesan cheese, but my personal favourite is asiago cheese for its tartness.” – Tamara Douge, Caribbean Green Living

2.81 from 1651 votes
Chayote au Gratin
Prep Time
10 mins
Cook Time
50 mins
Total Time
1 hr

When making this dish, I have found that it is best to use fresh spices or dried spices. Seasoning spices mixed with salt does not particularly go well with all the other ingredients added.

Course: Appetizer, Side Dish
Servings: 4 to 6
Author: Tamara Douge
  • 4 chayotes peeled, cored, halved and cut into small cubes
  • Salt to taste
  • Oil for frying
  • 1 cup cooked ham or low sodium turkey spam, cubed
  • 1 medium white onion chopped (about ½ cup)
  • 1 Tbsp. chopped parsley
  • 1 tsp. thyme leaves only, chopped
  • Black pepper to taste
Béchamel Sauce
  • 2 Tbsp. unsalted butter
  • 2 Tbsp. all purpose flour
  • 2 cups whole milk
  • 1 cup grated cheese: Asiago Gruyére, or Parmesan
  • Dried breadcrumbs for topping
  • Additional butter and grated cheese for topping
  1. Put cubed chayote in a pot with enough water to cover. Add salt to taste and bring to a boil. Cover ajar and let cook for 20 to 25 minutes. Remove from heat and drain well; discard water.
  2. In a frying pan, with oil, fry ham or spam cubes until they start turning light brown, then add onion. Stir to mix; add parsley, thyme and pepper to taste. Let mixture cook until onions are halfway cooked. Remove from heat and set aside.
  3. Make the béchamel sauce: heat butter in a saucepan and add flour. Stir to blend (best to use a wooden spoon). Once butter and flour are well mixed, gradually add milk while stirring. When milk is fully incorporated, add grated cheese. Stir and let mixture cook for about 2 to 3 minutes on low heat. Mixture should be thick. Remove from heat and set aside. In a large bowl, mix chayote with meat mixture; fold in béchamel sauce.

  4. Add mixture to a prepared buttered dish. Sprinkle with breadcrumbs and more grated cheese. Add a few dots of butter and bake at 375 degree F for 20 to 25 minutes until top is starting to brown. Remove and serve immediately with bread as an appetizer or a side dish.
Cook's Notes

The chayotes will release more water as they cook, so the béchamel sauce must be thick. Drain them thoroughly before mixing all ingredients.

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