I enjoy visiting my homeland Jamaica and eating locally prepared foods. Most locally prepared foods are mostly unprocessed and organic.
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,
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.
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.
How To Cook Jamaican Callaloo
- 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.
- 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.
- Saute, onion, garlic, spring onion, thyme, tomatoes in oil. Add chopped callaloo, salt, and Scotch bonnet pepper, cover, and allow to steam.
- you may add a little water at this time but not too much because the callaloo will ‘spring its own water’ (produce its own liquid as it is cooked).
Other Gluten-Free Vegan Callaloo Recipes To Try
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Below, I served my callaloo with Jamaican yellow yam, gluten-free, vegan boiled dumplings, Ackee, and roast breadfruit.
- Peel outer membrane of each stalk of callaloo and remove outer old leaves. Place callaloo in a bowl and cover with cold water, place 1/2 tsp salt and set aside while preparing 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, saute; until onion is translucent. Add callaloo and water, allow to simmer on low heat for 5-10 minutes or until tender.
Depending on how tender your callaloo is, it can take anywhere from 5 to 10 minutes to cook.