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Jamaican Callaloo and Saltfish Recipe

This Callaloo and Saltfish recipe is an easy and healthy delicious meal. Popular in Jamaica and usually eaten for breakfast, it’s a dish that your whole family will enjoy.

callaloo and saltfish in skillet with wooden spoon sticking out and scotch bonnet peppers on the side

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Many people recognize Jamaica’s national dish, ackee and saltfish. But there is a lesser-known dish that is just as delicious, callaloo and saltfish. Growing up, callaloo was eaten more often around our house. Mainly because it was cheaper and easier to prepare than ackee.  

Callaloo, also known as amaranth or dasheen, is a green leafy vegetable known to the Caribbean islands. Its appearance is similar to fresh raw spinach, although the taste is slightly different.  

Pairing callaloo with saltfish is common in Jamaica and cooking it down with onions, tomatoes, and black pepper is a must. 

callaloo and saltfish recipe in a skillet with a wooden spoon sticking out and thyme on the side

Ingredients Needed 

  • Callaloo – Fresh callaloo may be hard to find but canned callaloo makes a great substitute. Rinse the canned callaloo to remove any excess salt. Canned callaloo is usually available in ethnic grocery stores or online. 
  • Saltfish – Saltfish is a popular ingredient in Caribbean cuisine. It is made from salted, dried codfish. Saltfish is usually soaked overnight to rehydrate it and remove excess salt. You can also boil it for a few minutes and drain to remove the excess salt. You can also use fresh cod that has been cooked and flaked. I recommend purchasing saltfish that has had the bones removed.
  • Olive Oil – You’ll need to sauté the ingredients in oil for added flavor. 
  • Seasoning – Onions, Garlic, Scotch Bonnet Pepper, Roma tomatoes, thyme, and black pepper give this recipe a much-added flavor. 

How to make Jamaican Callaloo and Saltfish

First, start by prepping your saltfish. You can either soak the saltfish overnight or add the fish to a pot, cover with water, and bring it to a boil. Allow it to boil for about 10-12 minutes. Taste the fish. If the fish tastes too salty, bring it to a boil again to remove the excess salt. 

While boiling the saltfish, you’ll notice foam at the top. Watch carefully to ensure that the foam does not boil over. 

Once boiled, drain the fish and allow it to cool. Flake the fish into bite-sized pieces.

Next, place a large skillet over medium heat. Once the pan is hot, add the oil. Then add the yellow onion, green onion, scotch bonnet pepper, and garlic to the skillet and stir. Cook for about 3 minutes or until onions soften. 

Add salted fish to the skillet and stir for an additional minute. 

Next, add callaloo, Roma tomatoes, thyme, and black pepper. Stir to combine and cook until heated through, about 2 minutes.

What does callaloo taste like?

Callaloo has a mild, slightly bitter flavor that is complemented by the saltiness of the saltfish. Some people describe it as tasting similar to spinach, while others find that it has its own unique flavor. Regardless, callaloo is a popular ingredient in Caribbean cooking and can be enjoyed in a variety of dishes and recipes.

What to serve this with?

This dish is great served with fried dumplings. Breadfruit or even a piece of bread is delicious with this recipe. 

Other additions to this callaloo and saltfish

Feel free to make this recipe your own by modifying the ingredients. Here are a couple of suggestions:

  • Add 4 pieces of cooked bacon to add a smokey flavor. 
  • Sub the salted fish with freshly cooked fish, like cod, tilapia, or salmon. 
  • Use spinach leaves or kale in place of the callaloo.
  • Leave the scotch bonnet pepper out if you don’t like spicy foods.  
  • Sprinkle a bit of hot sauce for added flavor. 

I hope you enjoy this callaloo and saltfish recipe as much as I do. 

finished dish of callaloo and saltfish

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Callaloo and Saltfish Recipe

This Callaloo and Saltfish recipe is an easy and healthy delicious meal. Popular in Jamaica and usually eaten for breakfast, it’s a dish that your whole family will enjoy.
Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 10 minutes
Total Time 20 minutes
Servings 4 people
Calories 187kcal

Ingredients

  • 1/2 lb salt fish cooked and flaked
  • 2 Tablespoons olive oil
  • 19 oz can callaloo drained
  • 1 medium yellow onion chopped
  • 2 green onions chopped
  • 2 garlic cloves minced
  • 1 scotch bonnet pepper chopped
  • 2 Roma tomatoes chopped
  • 2 sprigs fresh thyme leaves removed from stems
  • 1/4 teaspoon black pepper

Instructions

Prepare Saltfish

  • First, start by prepping your saltfish. You can either soak the saltfish overnight or add the fish to a pot, cover with water, and bring to a boil. Allow to boil for about 10-12 minutes. Taste the fish. If the fish tastes too salty, bring to a boil again to remove the excess salt.
  • Once boiled, drain the fish and allow it to cool. Flake the fish into bite-sized pieces.

Cook Callaloo and Saltfish

  • Next, place a large skillet over medium heat. Once the pan is hot, add the oil. Then add the yellow onion, green onion, scotch bonnet pepper, and garlic to the skillet and stir. Cook for about 3 minutes or until onions soften.
  • Add salt fish to the skillet and stir for an additional minute.
  • Next, add callaloo, roma tomatoes, thyme, and black pepper. Stir to combine and cook until heated through, about 2 minutes.

Notes

  • While boiling the saltfish, you’ll notice foam at the top. Watch carefully to ensure that the foam does not boil over. 
  • For a smokey flavor, add cooked bacon to the recipe. 
  • You can sub spinach, kale, or thinly sliced collard greens for callaloo. 

Nutrition

Calories: 187kcal
Recipe Rating