I have seen some good recipes using spinach and have heard over and over that callaloo (amaranth) can be used in place of it.

There is confusion about callaloo the plant and callaloo the dish I am refering to the plant amaranth.

I have never tasted spinach and I can not get it to buy where I am from, callaloo is easy to come by, I am hoping that someone here who have tasted both can tell me if this is true that callaloo can be used as a substitute for spinach. If i can get an answer here it would be a bit better than experimenting.

I have seen some substitutes for spinach on the Internet but unfortunately all fall in the hard to get category for me.

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3 Answers 3


I've only had red amaranth, so apologies if that is distinct from the type you have access to. As I recall, spinach is a bit sweeter and the leaves are a bit softer so they break down more readily. Also I believe the stem on spinach is less fibrous.

That said, they are both leafy greens and I've yet to find a recipe so touchy that one leafy green can't be substituted for another.

  • Spinach has an acidic bite to it, even when canned. That can be tempered some by cooking it about 1/2 way. Leaves are also quite thin/soft.
    – zanlok
    Commented Jan 19, 2011 at 21:00

I've had callaloo substituted in recipes, for instance spinach quiche is normal but I've had callaloo quiche which tasted quite good. I'd imagine you might need to deal with the seasoning and cooking a little bit differently. Spinach wilts very quickly when you cook it, but callaloo is normally sauteed, so there are definitely some differences. As others have said, the leaves are not as soft as spinach. You'll have to do a little experimentation.

Side note: Are you Caribbean? I've never heard of Callaloo from a non Jamaican.

  • Yes Kami, I am Caribbean Commented Jan 21, 2011 at 20:11

I am a Jamaican living abroad, and it is not easy to get the Callaloo, so yes I use Spinach as a substitute. The difference is, you really have to cook the Callaloo, were as you can eat the spinach raw, but both can be cooked in the same recipes.

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