Jamaican Callaloo

I enjoy visiting my homeland Jamaica and eating locally prepared foods.  Most locally prepared foods are mostly unprocessed and organic.

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Jamaican Callaloo on white plate with ackee, yellow yam, dumplings and roast bread fruit

Eating callaloo (Amaranthus Viridis) is so reminiscent of my childhood where I enjoyed this dish prepared in a variety of ways. It is eaten here for breakfast, lunch, and dinner.

Callaloo is traditionally cooked by itself with onion, tomatoes, green onions, and Scotch bonnet pepper and thyme or cooked with salt fish or served with steamed fish, rice or fried breadfruit.

It is also added to soups, and used as a filling for a savory pastry called patty like my Jamaican Lentil Patties and even made into a drink.

What is Jamaican Callaloo?


Callaloo has been consumed for thousands of years, it is an ancient green leafy vegetable also known as amaranth. It is similar to spinach but has a stronger flavor,

Jamaican Callaloo Greens

Farmers grow callaloo seeds in Jamaica and sell the plant in the local markets.  I love to grow my own, so I normally allow a few of my callaloo plants to seed. I then allow the seeds to dry and store them for after winter.

What Are The Health Benefits Of Jamaican Callaloo?

But this notorious weed is a valuable source of iron, calcium, folate, potassium, magnesium, vitamin A, and Vitamin C. Purchase callaloo in the Caribbean, Asian, and /or International supermarkets.

Jamaican cooked callaloo in a silver saucepan with a wooden spoon on a white background

1 cup of cooked callaloo provides:

  • 90 kilocalories
  • 6.9 milligrams of iron
  • 1074 milligrams of potassium
  • 602 milligrams of calcium
  • 13 grams of fiber
  • 484 milligrams of sodium
  • 86 milligrams of vitamin C
  • 7.2 grams of protein

Scotch bonnet pepper is also a key ingredient in Jamaican cuisine, its similar to habanero pepper, which may be substituted. It is extremely hot therefore I use it whole just for the unique and authentic flavor it imparts to the dish.

Callaloo is delicious served with Ackee, Vegan Rundown, Dumplings or Festival, Breadfruit or Yam.

How To Cook Jamaican Callaloo

  1. To prepare callaloo, first remove dead leaves, debris, and any hard stalks. I like to fill a large pot of cold water and add salt to it and submerge the callaloo in the pot for about 10 minutes, the salt will help to remove debris.
  2. Discard the water and rinse the callaloo. Strip the outer thin layer of the callaloo stems. Finely cut leaves and stem of callaloo and set aside.
  3. Saute, onion, garlic, spring onion, thyme, tomatoes in oil. Add chopped callaloo, salt, and Scotch bonnet pepper, cover, and allow to steam. 
  4. At this time, you may add a little water, but not too much, as the callaloo will produce its own liquid during cooking.

Step by Step Photos of how to prepare callaloo

Where can I purchase Jamaican Callaloo? 

If you are not able to physically purchase this weed, Amazon does in fact have it for purchase. 

Other Gluten-Free Vegan Callaloo Recipes To Try

  1. Jamaican Callaloo Patty
  2. Jamaican Callaloo Fritters

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Below, I served my callaloo with Jamaican yellow yam, gluten-free, vegan boiled dumplings, Ackee, and roast breadfruit.

Overhead photo of Jamaican Callaloo served with ackee, boiled dumplings, yellow yam on white plate

YouTube video

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Overhead photo of cooked Jamaican Callaloo in a white bowl

Jamaican Callaloo

Jamaican Callaloo is a popular local staple green leafy vegetable, cooked with onion, garlic, tomatoes, thyme, and Scotch bonnet pepper. It is a perfect healthy side dish for a tropical breakfast, lunch, or dinner.
4.94 from 62 votes
Print Pin Rate
Course: Side Dish
Cuisine: Jamaican
Keyword: callaloo, Jamaican callaloo
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 10 minutes
Servings: 3 servings
Calories: 86kcal



  • 4 cups callaloo chopped and tightly packed
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil or coconut oil
  • 1 small onion chopped
  • 2 cloves garlic minced
  • 2 green onions chopped
  • 2 sprigs thyme
  • 1 medium tomato chopped
  • Salt to taste
  • 1 Scotch Bonnet pepper whole or 1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • 2 tablespoons water


  • Peel the outer membrane of each stalk of the callaloo and remove the old outer leaves. Place callaloo in a bowl and cover it with cold water. Place 1/2 tsp salt and set aside while preparing the remaining vegetables. Discard water, then rinse with water and drain. Chop callaloo
  • Place oil in a large pot, add onion, garlic, spring onion, thyme, tomato, and scotch bonnet pepper on medium heat, and saute until onion is translucent. Add callaloo and water, and allow to simmer on low heat for 5-10 minutes or until tender.


Calories: 86kcal | Carbohydrates: 9g | Protein: 3g | Fat: 5g | Saturated Fat: 1g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 1g | Monounsaturated Fat: 3g | Sodium: 14mg | Potassium: 298mg | Fiber: 3g | Sugar: 3g | Vitamin A: 2895IU | Vitamin C: 33mg | Calcium: 137mg | Iron: 1mg

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  1. Loved what you typed about when Callaloo is eaten, and how it’s typically consumed. (Read here that it’s a weed? Say that isn’t so!)
    I’ve been enjoying buying callaloo from the farmer’s market every summer, but each summer am faced with needing fresh (or similar ways to how I have in the past) to preparing it. Great ideas included on this website!! I don’t have any Scotch Bonnet right now (it’s one of the more intimidatingly spicy peppers for me), but I may just have to try it since your description sounds too good to be missed. Until then, I’m heading to the kitchen to prepare callaloo as closely to how you detailed it in your recipe. Thanks very much for sharing!!

  2. I have never heard of callaloo but it sounds both really healthy and nutritious! I would love to try this recipe.

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