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.
Callaloo is delicious served with Ackee, Vegan Rundown, Dumplings or Festival, Breadfruit or Yam.
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.
- Categories: Gluten-Free, Vegan
- Course: Side Dish
- Cuisine: Jamaican
- Energy: 54 kcal / 226 kJ
- Fat: 1 g
- Protein: 3 g
- Carbs: 8 g
- Preparation: 10 min
- Cooking: 10 min
- Ready in: 20 min
- For: 3 Servings
- 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 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.
This is a perfect side dish
Great read. Thanks for the tips and vegan recipe ideas.
Bren, you are welcome.
How can you get the Callaloo greens if you are in states that don’t have access to it? Your dish looked amazing!
Hello Deborah, it can grow in any of the states during the warm months from seeds online.
Made it with kale from my garden and used hot banana rings, a sprinkle each of Cheyenne and pepper flakes….tastes great
Would make again…sharing it with a neighbor…
Deb, I’m so happy you enjoyed it, thank you for sharing!
Thanks for the recipe! I am following you now. I would have liked a little more guidance about how to skin and cut the stems. I saw another person’s video and he did a whole presentation on that. If you could do the same, it would help. Thanks.
Hello Connie, thank you for your support. I believe I have a Youtube presentation about it. I literally made a callaloo yesterday that I harvested from my garden. The person who is helping me with gardening removed the rest to in order to prepare for our winter garden, hopefully, there are more remaining in other sections.
I have kale I need to pick and cook before frost … going to try this…
Thank you Deb, I hope you enjoy!
I have been to Jamaica several times, the first time I tried this was for breakfast and oh my I was hooked. I ate it for breakfast, lunch and dinner. Couldn’t get enough of it. I live in South Louisiana and I can’t find the plant anywhere here. I wonder if spinach will work? Can’t wait to go back to Jamaica for this very thing.
Darcy, that’s so awesome that you love Jamaica. Callaloo is so delicious. I made some yesterday, spinach or any other leafy greens can work. However, you can purchase the seeds from Amazon or Etsy and they will grow where you live, let some go to seed and you will have callaloo in your garden year after year.
It’s sold in the states, just go to a Caribbean store. It’s in the can.