Delicious Callaloo and Saltfish

Simple Callaloo and Saltfish

Callaloo is a delicious green vegetable commonly referred to as Jamaican Callaloo or Jamaican spinach. Its real name is slender amaranth (Caribbean amaranth).
Callaloo and Saltfish is a traditional Caribbean dish. When Callaloo is cooked on its own it tastes good, but when it is paired with saltfish, it goes from good to great.
Other Caribbean countries have their version of Calalloo but don’t use Callaloo vegetables. For example, In Trinidad and Tobago, The Taro leaf is used for this dish even though it is called Callaloo.
Delicious Callaloo and Saltfish
In Nigeria, Callaloo is called “Green” (Green Amaranth) or in the western part of the country, it is called Tete. It is used in many dishes like Vegetable yam (Ji Akwukwo), Vegetable Rice, Vegetable Yam Pottage, Healthy Vegetable Dip, Nigerian Green and Beans and Efo riro.
Jamaicans also prepare Callaloo Rice with this vegetable.

Jamaican Callaloo is seasoned and cooked with saltfish, then served with fried or boiled dumplings, fried plantains, fried or roasted breadfruit, boiled green bananas and ground provisions. It can also be eaten with rice for a hearty dinner.

Substitute for Callaloo

This dish is best prepared with Fresh callaloo but canned callaloo, fresh spinach or Swiss chard are good alternatives.
For those living in North America, you can usually buy Calalloo from an African shop. If you are using spinach, bear in mind that Calaloo has a stronger vegetable flavour than spinach and spinach needs very little cooking time compared to callaloo.

How to prepare saltfish for cooking

Soak the saltfish overnight in clean water, enough to cover it, to remove excess salt. Then boil for 10-15 minutes, drain and discard the boiling water. Carefully remove the bones and skin.

How to prepare Callaloo for cooking

Cut off the hard stems of the fresh callaloo leaving the tender part of the stem, also, take off the bad leaves. Wash thoroughly in several changes of water.
callaloo and saltfish ingredients

How to Prepare Callaloo and Saltfish

100g Saltfish
1 bunch (100g) of callaloo leaves
2 tablespoons vegetable Oil
1 medium Onions, chopped or sliced
2 Stalks Scallion (Spring onions)
2 cloves Garlic, crushed
1 medium Tomato, diced
1 Scotch Bonnet 
1/4 cup coconut milk or water
2 sprigs fresh thyme (OR 1 teaspoon dry thyme)
1 teaspoon Black Pepper
1 Seasoning cube or powder
1 tablespoon butter

Soak the saltfish in a bowl of water and place it in the refrigerator overnight to remove excess salt. Then boil for 10-15 minutes, drain and discard the boiling water.

Allow the saltfish to cool and carefully remove the bones and skin. Then shred it into small pieces using your hands or a fork, set aside.

Wash the callaloo leaves thoroughly to remove any dirt or sand.

Remove the tough stems, and chop the leaves and soft stems into smaller pieces.

shredded callaloo in a plate

In a large pot or deep skillet, heat cooking oil over medium heat. Add the chopped onions and sauté until they are soft.

chopped Tomato, onions and scotch bonnet in a sauce pan

Add the minced garlic and cook until fragrant.

Stir in diced tomatoes and whole Scotch bonnet pepper, and cook for a few minutes until the tomatoes soften.

Add the shredded saltfish and stir well.

Saltfish frying in a pan


Pour in the coconut milk, and stir to combine.

Add the dried thyme (or fresh thyme) and season with black pepper and seasoning cubes or powder.

Shredded Saltfish in a pan

Cover the pot and let the mixture simmer for 10-15 minutes, allowing the flavours to meld together.

Once the saltfish is fully cooked and tender, add the chopped callaloo leaves.

Callaloo in a saucepan

If you’re using spinach or Swiss chard, add it at this stage as well.

Gently mix the callaloo and saltfish together allowing the leaves to steam and cook in the mixture.

Add butter, stir and cook for 30 seconds.

Taste the callaloo and saltfish and adjust the seasoning with salt and additional black pepper if needed.

Remove the whole Scotch bonnet pepper and sprigs of thyme before serving.

Delicious callaloo and saltfish with fried Dumplings

Serve the callaloo and saltfish hot with steamed white rice or rice and peas.


  • Canned callaloo can also be used for this recipe.
  • You can use boneless saltfish or remove it altogether if you wish to.
  • Salt is optional because the saltfish should add salt to the dish. However, if you wash away all the salt from the saltfish, you may have to add salt.
  • Remember, the saltfish adds saltiness to the dish, so be cautious when adding more salt.


If you enjoyed my Callaloo and Saltfish, you will also enjoy the Jamaican rice and peas, Jamaican seasoned riceVegetable Coconut rice, Jamaican Escovitch Fish, Jamaican goat curry, Nigerian Coconut Jollof rice and Nigerian Coconut Rice.

You can also learn more about The Jerkfest Toronto, Grace Jerkfest.

If you have any comments, questions or suggestions, please comment below.

Share this recipe using the share buttons. Subscribe to the blog for instant notifications of new recipes.

Follow on Instagram: @thepretendchefofficial, Twitter: @thepretendchef Facebook: and Pinterest:

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *