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Jamaican Callaloo Recipe with Saltfish

You will agree that combined callaloo with saltfish is just delicious after trying this authentic Jamaican recipe. Both callaloo and saltfish are stapled foods in Jamaica and make the perfect marriage when cooked together. This savoury dish is easy to make with some simple ingredients.

Jamaican Callaloo Recipe

What type of vegetable is Jamaican callaloo

Callaloo, or Slender Amaranth, is a leafy vegetable that grows in Jamaica and throughout the Caribbean. It is an annual plant that grows up to 20 inches in height, with green leaves that can be up to 6 inches in size. The plant’s slender veiny stem is either deep red or green, which becomes harder to cook as the callaloo matures. 

Callaloo is also the name given to the taro leaf in Trinidad and Tobago and Grenada. The taro plant is entirely different from the amaranth callaloo grown in Jamaica. While the amaranth callaloo is similar to collard green, kale and spinach, the taro leaf is from the plant of a root vegetable. Even though Jamaicans eat the root vegetable of the taro plant, the leaves aren’t. Make sure to distinguish Jamaican callaloo from the callaloo of Trinidad and Tobago and Grenada. They are two different plants, the cooking method is also different, and the taste and texture will also differ.

Is callaloo the same as spinach

Even though callaloo and spinach are from the same plant family, the Amaranthaceae, their subfamily is different. Callalo is of the Amaranthus spices, and spinach is of the Spinacia. Both plants have different appearances. Spinach has smaller leaves than the callaloo. The callaloo stems are much thicker and harder than that of the spinach. Callaloo has a much more potent “green” taste than spinach. Spinach cooks quicker than callaloo, and the texture of the leaves is different when cooked. Research suggests that callaloo contains higher protein, iron and calcium than spinach.

callaloo and saltfish

Jamaican callaloo recipe

Callaloo is a staple in Jamaica, mainly eaten for breakfast. Jamaicans mostly cook callaloo with saltfish, but it can also cook without. The recipe uses Jamaican callaloo (remember there is another plant called callaloo in other parts of the Caribbean), common vegetables such as onion and garlic, and saltfish to make a healthy savoury dish.

The saltfish is hydrated by soaking it overnight, then boiling it for 10 to 15 minutes, which also helps remove the excess salt—removing the bones and skin once the saltfish cooks are much easier. Using boneless and skinless saltfish may be the better choice if you have never cooked saltfish before and if you are cooking for children. It will reduce the time it takes to prepare the saltfish, and you don’t have to worry about fish bones when eating.

Callaloo with saltfish ingredients

The Jamaican callaloo recipe includes the following list of ingredients:

Callaloo ingredients
  • Callaloo: For the most part, in Jamaican, we use fresh callaloo because it is readily available when in season. And when not in season, we look for other things to cook, so you don’t find Jamaicans in Jamaican cooking canned callaloo. I am using a fresh bunch of callaloo, but you can use canned callaloo if that’s not available.
  • Saltfish: Use skinless, boneless saltfish if you want less time preparing this callaloo recipe. But I went with the traditional choice of saltfish with its bone and scale, so I had to spend more time preparing the fish to remove the salt. I washed and then soaked the saltfish overnight. Then I boiled the saltfish and gave it another wash before shredding it. You won’t need to do all the above to remove salt from boneless/skinless fish.
  • Thyme: Most Jamaican cuisines include thyme, and when it does, don’t leave it out! Thyme is essential to Jamaican cooking.
  • Onion: I use yellow onion. Red onion won’t suit this recipe because it will overpower the callaloo.
  • Scallion: Scallion (green/spring onion) is also essential to Jamaican cook, so don’t leave it out.
  • Bell pepper: You can use any bell pepper, even though red bell pepper is used more often, not because of the taste but because of the colour. Red and green go well together.
  • Garlic: You won’t need much garlic for this callaloo recipe. One to two cloves are good enough.
  • Tomato: Tomato is an essential flavour to the callaloo and saltfish, so be sure to include it.
  • Scotch bonnet pepper: Use scotch bonnet pepper for the authentic Jamaican taste. You will only need a little if you like spicy food.
  • Black pepper: To season

How to prepare callaloo with saltfish

The steps below assume that you have already prepared the saltfish – washed, boiled, deboned, and shredded it.

How to prepare callaloo with saltfish
  1. Callaloo: If you are using fresh brunches of callaloo like me, remove any rotten leaves, seeds and part of the stems you don’t want. Give the callaloo a thorough wash. Drain away the water before chopping the callaloo into small pieces.
  2. Green seasoning: Chop and dice the onion, scallion, garlic, tomato, bell pepper and scotch bonnet pepper. Remove the seed and membrane from the scotch bonnet pepper if you don’t want your callaloo spicy.
  3. Sauté: On medium heat, start by sauteeing the onion, garlic, thyme and scotch bonnet pepper so that all those flavours infuse in the oil. Add the bell pepper, tomato, scallion and sauté for a few minutes before adding the shredded saltfish.
  1. Steam: Add the chopped callaloo and give it a good stir to incorporate all the ingredients. At this point, turn the heat down to low, cover the saucepan and let it steam. Callaloo is like spinach; it doesn’t take long to cook.
  2. Flavour: You usually don’t add salt when cooking with saltfish because the salt from the fish adds flavour to the dish. Unless you soak, wash, boil, rewash and boil again, it’s unlikely that you would remove all the salt from the saltfish. If you do, you will have to add salt and black pepper. I’m just adding black pepper.

What to serve this dish with

What Jamaicans serve with callaloo depends on the meal and the time of day. Callaloo is usually eaten for breakfast and is served with fried dumplings, fried breadfruit, fried plantain and sometimes, ground provisions (hard food).
At lunch, callaloo is served with roasted breadfruit, ground provision or fried dumpling. When eating callaloo at dinner, it’s usually eaten with rice.

canned callaloo and saltfish recipe
callaloo and saltfish

Jamaican Callaloo Recipe With Saltfish

This callaloo with saltfish recipe is a tasty staple in Jamaican cooking. Combined, callaloo and saltfish make a delicious side dish.
4.97 from 26 votes
Print Pin Rate
Course: Side Dish
Cuisine: Jamaican
Keyword: Jamaican callaloo recipe with saltfish
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 22 minutes
Servings: 4 Servings
Calories: 93kcal
Author: Lesa


  • 688 g (1.52 lb) Callaloo 2 bunches
  • 445 g (0.98 lb) Saltfish (Cod) You may use boneless/skinless saltfish instead
  • ¾ Small red bell pepper Diced
  • 1 Small onion Chopped
  • 2 Garlic cloves Crushed
  • 2 Scallion Chopped
  • 4 Sprig of thyme
  • 1 Small tomato Diced
  • ¼ Scotch bonnet pepper Seeds remove and finely chopped
  • ¼ tsp Black pepper
  • 3 tbsp Cooking oil
  • Salt Optional


  • Wash away as much of the salt from the saltfish, then boil it in a pot with fresh water for 15 to 20 minutes. (To remove more salt from the saltfish and dehydrate it quicker, soak it for at least two hours, preferably overnight).
  • Wash the saltfish in cold water to cool it. If you are not using boneless/skinless fish, remove the fish scale, de-bone it, and then shred and set it aside.
  • Add the cooking oil to a saucepan and put to heat on medium fire.
  • Add the thyme, onion, garlic, scotch bonnet pepper, bell pepper, tomato, and sauté for 3 to 4 minutes until the vegetable softens.
  • Add the shredded saltfish and cook for another three minutes or so.
  • Stir in the chopped callaloo. Cover the pot, turn the heat low, and let it steam for about 10 minutes or until the callaloo cooks.
  • Add the black pepper and salt if your using any. Serve immediately.


  • Canned callaloo can use for this recipe also.
  • 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.


Nutrition Facts
Jamaican Callaloo Recipe With Saltfish
Serving Size
277 g
Amount per Serving
% Daily Value*
Saturated Fat
Polyunsaturated Fat
Monounsaturated Fat
Vitamin A
Vitamin C
* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2000 calorie diet.

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  1. Marcia Morgan

    5 stars
    Delicious food

  2. 5 stars
    This looks fantastic, although I probably would leave out the Scotch bonnet pepper since I’m not big on super spicy things. 🙂 I love how it incorporates fresh herbs as well!

    • Thank you Sarah. I love my food very spicy and aways adds to much pepper lol, so I would suggest to leave it out it you are not as crazy as I am.

  3. 5 stars
    My husband loves spicy food and fish, so I have to make this for him. He will enjoy it I’m almost certain.

  4. 5 stars
    Looks delicious, I really should try this recipe x

  5. Keith Jemison

    5 stars
    I made the Saltfish and Callaloo for dinner, I had
    it with boiled green bananas and red sweet yam.
    I’ve made it before following this same recipe. It is absolutely delicious! But one thing I noticed is, you forgot to say when the Tomatoes should be added in the recipe. I have always used my own discretion and it turns out fine. Thanks for sharing.

    • mmmm, very nice. I could taste your cooking from your description. Tomato goes in with the bell pepper. Thanks for pointing that out, will change it.

  6. 5 stars
    Love this recipe. Tried this yesterday and the family has ordered me to make it again lol

  7. 5 stars
    I love ackee and saltfish and will be cooking saltfish and calallo today. Have you combined all three as dish? If yes how was it?

  8. Hey Sandra, hope you calalloo and saltfish turned out great. Yes I have tried all three together, if you love all three, you will definitely enjoy them cooked together.

  9. 5 stars
    This simple recipe was delicious 😋 Easy to make and everyone loved it!

  10. 5 stars
    Made this for the first time today and it was lovely. I served it with rice and peas cooked in my Pressure cooker. I also did some jerk chicken, so we could have a feast 😁

  11. Ava Watson

    Is scalding for 10 minutes once enough? Did you Pre soak? I usually rinse the salt off first then boil two to three times for 20 minutes changing the water in between.

  12. 5 stars

  13. 5 stars
    This sounds absolutely amazing. I have never had Callaloo before, but the flavors sound fantastic. I can’t wait to try this!

  14. That looks pretty delicious and healthy. I’ll have to test out this recipe sometime.

    • 5 stars
      I’ve never had either callaloo or saltfish. But, the combo of both together sounds delicious! I would enjoy trying this authentic Jamaican recipe.

  15. I’ve never heard of this dish, but it looks delicious! I’d love to try it out. I will have to see if I can find the ingredients near me.

  16. 5 stars
    This site always has unique recipes with ingredients I’ve never cooked with before! This is another Jamaican recipe I need to try from you – looks so inviting.

  17. Gervin Khan

    5 stars
    Wow! This is such a great-looking dish! I love green dishes, it looks absolutely delicious and very healthy too! Many will gonna love this dish!

  18. 5 stars
    Your Jamaican Callaloo recipe with Saltfish sounds absolutely mouthwatering! The combination of flavors and the detailed instructions you provided have me eager to try it out. I can already imagine the delicious taste and aroma. Thank you for sharing this delightful recipe!

  19. Barbie Ritzman

    5 stars
    The Slender Amaranth sounds delicious. I love spinach and it seems to be similar. I’ve never heard of Salt fish before.

  20. 5 stars
    This is perfect. At least I know I can pull this recipe off and have something I can look forward to trying out this weekend.

  21. 5 stars
    Good tip on not getting the onion too strong. This sounds like a great recipe!

  22. 5 stars
    I don’t think I have tried any Jamaican food but this recipe look so yummy. I would love to try it one day.

  23. 5 stars
    Oh wow, Lesa! This is a really good-looking breakfast dish! I haven’t had the honour of eating saltfish. This is my opportunity now. Thank you for sharing the recipe.

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