Callaloo is abundant in the Cayman Islands and can be purchased at the farmers’ markets or grocer’s. It is really the perfect vegetable.
While it almost resembles spinach, it doesn’t quite taste like it. It has a slightly bitter flavour with a nice nutty undertone. Callaloo is truly a “super food”: just 100 grams of uncooked callaloo is rich in iron, vitamins A and C and contains vitamin E, magnesium, phosphorus and potassium, which are all exceptional in fighting disease-causing free radicals. As with many fibrous plants, callaloo also aids in improving digestion and reducing cholesterol, if combined with a healthy diet and lifestyle.
This is a simple, healthy recipe that can be enjoyed as a side dish or my favourite, added to soba noodles or brown rice and tossed together for a delicious lunch.
2 pounds callaloo
1 tablespoon 100% olive oil
1 tablespoon butter (optional)
1 onion, chopped
3 whole scallions, chopped
2 local sweet peppers, chopped
1 sprig fresh local thyme, or 1/2 teaspoon dried
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1/3 cup water
Remove the small branches with leaves from the main stem
and submerge the callaloo into a bowl of cold water. Let soak for a minute and remove, discarding the water. Repeat two more times. Finely chop the leaves and branches and set aside.
Heat the oil and butter in a medium-sized skillet over medium heat until the butter is melted. Add the onion, peppers and scallions, stirring until the onion begins to soften, about 2 minutes. Add the callaloo, thyme, salt, and black pepper. Mix all of the ingredients together, add the water, and cover. Cook over medium heat until the stems are tender, about 8 minutes.
Maureen Cubbon is the wellness director for Bestlife Wellness Solutions and chef with Bon Vivant in Camana Bay.