What is Callaloo/Wild Amaranth?
In Canada most people view these plants as weeds, similar to lambs quarters or pigweed. However, in the Caribbean amaranth is prized and is where the name callaloo comes from. In India amaranth is cultivated for their seeds (pseudo-grains) and leaves, and are eaten in South Africa as nutritious herbs. Amaranth is one of the oldest food crops in the world and Amaranth seeds have now reached gluten-free, super food cult status.
You can eat Wild Amaranth in various stages. From seedling & small tender new leaf is great raw in salad or lightly cooked (better cooked). Mature leaf, stem and seed head can be cooked in soup, stew, saute, creamed, omelet, casserole etc
Callaloo Health Benefits
You may be pulling this plant or its out of your own garden, unaware that you can replace your beloved spinach and other go to greens for this abundant plant. The leaf has a rich, deep, hearty green flavor, and is packed with nutrients.
It contains potassium helps to lower or maintain blood pressure and regulate heartbeat. Persons with kidney disease may want to avoid raw or cooked callaloo because it is a potassium-rich food. The fibre in callaloo can help form good bowel movements, makes a person feel less hungry after eating, slows the absorption of glucose in the cells, traps excess fat in the intestines and lowers LDL (bad) cholesterol. These functions of fibre in callaloo helps to reduce the risk of obesity, controls blood-sugar levels and lowers the risk of heart disease. Raw it is an excellent source of vitamin C, lightly cooking some of the vitamin C can be retained. The protein content is higher in cooked callaloo, but is not a high quality protein. Therefore, callaloo should be added to a protein rich food. Cooked it provides more iron than raw. However, to get the iron in the blood, callaloo should be consumed with vitamin C rich foods. The vitamin C helps to pull the iron into your blood.
Callaloo Coconut Curry
Serves 4 to 6.
Wash/prep all greens (lightly chop up), leeks (slices) zucchini, garlic, onions
In a soup pot at medium heat, saute onions in oil or ghee. After a couple minutes add in garlic and spices, continue cooking until onions are translucent.
Add coconut milk and let it heat up before next step
Add leeks and sun-dried tomatoes and zucchini
Cook for 20 mins at med/low to get the flavours infused
Add callaloo (or greens of choice) and cook for another 10 minutes
Serve with a squeeze of lime and cilantro, over rice, noodles meat etc.
Large salad spinner worth (that is a real form of measurement, right?) of amaranth greens (callaloo) or another green leafy veg such as spinach or kale etc.
2 cans of coconut cream or milk
2 zucchini (or any summer squash variety)
1 tbsp turmeric powder
2 tsp each of cumin and coriander
1 small onion
2 large leeks.. or 4 small
2 cloves of garlic
Cayenne powder or chili flakes to your spice tolerance
4 sun-dried tomatoes
Salt and pepper
Holly Morris, RHN
Holly Morris is a registered holistic nutritionist and Reiki practitioner in Uxbridge, Ontario. Her mission is to facilitate her clients in finding and listening to their inner voice so their needs are met in all areas of life. Learn more about Holly at https://www.hmholisticwellness.com/