Crust-less Callaloo Quiche and Curried Chicken: Jamaican Keto Food

Jamaican Callaloo & Keto: Quiche and Beyond!

People tend to balk at the things that people on the keto diet do NOT eat. “No rice? No potato? I LOVE pasta! How will I manage without bread? I simply cannot give up my fruit!” My response to them is always the same: “And how is that working for you?” Radio silence. It’s plain crazy to want change and keep doing the same things. I also tell them that I choose to focus on what we can and do eat! There’s a whole new, colourful, exciting, delicious world out here in keto-land! One of the things I told myself when I started this keto journey over a year ago is that I’m going to treat this as an adventure and learn to make delicious low-carb dishes that utilize the local ingredients that I grew up with here in Jamaica. I am going to prove to myself and others that the keto diet is possible and sustainable right here in Jamaica and the wider Caribbean. I started documenting my journey on Instagram, to showcase my awesome food 🙂 and also as away of holding me accountable. Yup…can’t afford to quit publicly, right? Here’s how I use Jamaican callaloo to make keto dishes that even non-low carbers LOVE!

Crust-less Callaloo Quiche: keto perfection!

Callaloo in Jamaica is different from what they call callaloo in Trinidad and other islands in the Eastern Caribbean. Jamaican callaloo is called “bhaji” in that part of the world. Our peeps in North America may have access to callaloo in ethnic stores or in the International aisle of larger supermarket chains in the form of canned callaloo and they can sometimes even get the fresh stuff at local markets. I’m pretty sure they could successfully replace the callaloo in the recipes I’m about to share though. The actual quantity of spinach to use may differ, especially if it’s frozen since volumes and weights of callaloo vs spinach may vary. Not to worry, you can’t spoil a crust-less quiche. It’s a very forgiving dish that you will likely tweak with each attempt until you get the perfect taste and consistency to suit your own palette.

In Jamaica, callaloo remains one the more affordable and widely available vegetables. It is typically steamed and served with salted cod for breakfast or steamed and served as a side with many dinner and lunch options. I have found it to be consistently on my own supermarket list since I started this keto journey as I have found it to be versatile (oh yes indeed!) and extremely budget friendly. We buy it already cleaned and shopped and sold in 1lb packs in see through plastic bags or we buy it by the bundle from our favourite market or road-side vendor. I discovered a farmer who grows his own and sells callaloo for a mere J$50.00 a bundle in my own little mountain village of Red Hills. His callaloo is the greenest most tender callaloo I have ever eaten in my life. I willingly expend the effort to clean and chop this callaloo. Yum!

crust-less callaloo quiche and curried chicken
crust-less callaloo quiche and curried chicken

Ingredients

  • 4 cups shredded uncooked callaloo
  • 5 large eggs
  • 1/2 cup heavy cream
  • 3/4 cup water
  • 1/2 cup grated cheddar cheese (or cheese of your choice)
  • 1 cup grated mozzarella cheese
  • 2 stalks of escallion
  • 1 medium onion
  • couple sprigs of thyme
  • 1/2 of a ripe scotch bonnet pepper, seeded
  • 1/2 large red sweet pepper (bell pepper) (if you don’t have red, use green or yellow!)
  • 4 cloves garlic
  • Salt to taste or your favourite seasoning salt
  • 1/4 tsp of ground black pepper
  • Butter to grease baking dish
  • 2 tbsp extra virgin coconut oil

The Method

  • Chop up the escallion, onion, scotch bonnet pepper, sweet pepper and garlic.
  • In a wide saucepan, heat the virgin coconut oil.
  • Once hot, saute the escallion, onion, scotch bonnet pepper, sweet pepper and garlic. Do not burn them. This should take about a minute max.
  • Add the chopped up callaloo and sprigs of fresh thyme to the pot. Stir to combine and immediately turn the flame down low low low. Add a 1/4 cup water and cover pot tightly.
  • After 3 minutes, open the pot and add your salt or seasoning salt to taste and the black pepper. Don’t go overboard with the salt. Remember you’ll be adding cheese which it salty and you’re going to eat this most likely with well seasoned meat or a nicely dressed salad, both of which will have good amounts of salt.
  • Stir and cover again. Check in another 2 minutes. Once the callaloo has wilted in the pot (half-way to what we’d consider as “cooked” in Jamaica) turn off the fire.
  • While the cooked callaloo cools a bit, go ahead and grease your casserole dish with the butter. A standard 9 x 13 casserole dish will work.
  • Turn on your oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit
  • Whip the eggs until frothy. Add the heavy cream and 1/2 cup water. Whip together
  • Add this liquid mixture to the cooled callaloo and add the grated cheddar cheese. Combine to one homogeneous mixture.
  • Pour mixture into the greased casserole dish
  • Sprinkle the mozzarella over the top
  • Bake in center of oven until set and the top is all brown and bubbly, about 35-45 min. If the top is brown but the quiche is not fully set, simply turn the oven down to 250 and let it remain until set.
  • Remove from oven, cool, slice and enjoy!

Pro tip: Quiche stores well so you can slice and leave in the fridge until tomorrow (will last for up to 2 days) and I have even frozen it and simply zapped it in the microwave for lunch days after I made it. Soooo convenient and a great idea for meal prep.

Callaloo and escoveitch fish
Callaloo and escoveitch fish
Jamaican keto food: Callaloo with feta and salted cod with tomato and onions
Jamaican keto food: Callaloo with feta and salted cod with tomato and onions

Beyond Quiche: Callaloo run-down

Callaloo Run-down (callaloo simmered in coconut milk)
Callaloo Run-down

Sometimes I feel for a creamy callaloo or vegetable dish without the intense cheese flavour. This is it! “Run-down” simply refers to simmering in coconut milk. Coconut milk makes everything better in my humble opinion. It is creamy and flavourful and absolutely keto approved, being rich in the healthy fats that turn us into fat burning machines! It is a creamy, delicately flavoured dish that pairs well with heavily seasoned or spicy meats or fish. I find that callaloo run-down is a great accompaniment for jerked chicken or pork or grilled fish!

Ingredients

  • 4 cups shredded uncooked callaloo
  • 1/4 cup water
  • 2 stalks of escallion
  • 1 medium onion
  • couple sprigs of thyme
  • 1/2 of a ripe scotch bonnet pepper, seeded
  • 1/2 large red sweet pepper (bell pepper) (if you don’t have red, use green or yellow!)
  • 6 crushed dried allspice berries (pimento as we call it in Jamaica)
  • 4 cloves garlic
  • Salt to taste or your favourite seasoning salt
  • 1/4 tsp of ground black pepper
  • 2 tbsp extra virgin coconut oil
  • 3/4 cup thick coconut milk

The Method

  • Chop up the escallion, onion, scotch bonnet pepper, sweet pepper and garlic.
  • In a wide saucepan, heat the virgin coconut oil.
  • Once hot, saute the escallion, onion, scotch bonnet pepper, sweet pepper and garlic. Do not burn them. This should take about a minute max.
  • Add the chopped up callaloo and sprigs of fresh thyme to the pot. Stir to combine and immediately turn the flame down low low low. Add a 1/4 cup water and cover pot tightly.
  • After 3 minutes, open the pot and add your salt or seasoning salt to taste and the black pepper.
  • Add the coconut milk. Combine.
  • Cover and allow to simmer for another 4-5 minutes.
  • Serve with any meat or fish of your choice.

Let me know how these recipe ideas work for you please. I’ve put together 8 more easy recipes that I have used to transition with ease to the keto lifestyle. Subscribe to my blog for your own free copy 🙂

And when you make your callaloo quiche or callaloo run-down share your pics and tell us what you paired them with in our FaceBook support group Caribbean Keto Tribe! 

callaloo and curried chicken
callaloo and curried chicken
Crust-less Callaloo Quiche and Curried Chicken: Jamaican Keto Food
Crust-less Callaloo Quiche and Curried Chicken: Jamaican Keto Food
Jamaican keto food: fried fish with pickled veggies and callaloo
Jamaican keto food: fried fish with pickled veggies and callaloo
Jamaican keto food: curried chicken with callaloo
Jamaican keto food: curried chicken with callaloo

3 thoughts on “Jamaican Callaloo & Keto: Quiche and Beyond!”

  1. I had never even heard of callaloo until thirty seconds ago! I really want to try it now but I imagine it’ll be hard to track down in South Africa.

    1. Hi Sophie. Spinach and kale are similar…think green, leafy and “cook-able”… as against something like lettuce 🙂 Callaloo’s proper name is amaranth. If you do find it please let me know, and let me know what they call it in SA!

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