When I lived back home in Jamaica, some of my favorite places to frequent were the vegetarian or Ital restaurants. Ital cooking originated in the Jamaican Rastafarian community and traditionally excludes the use of salt, meat (especially pork), preservatives, or any artificial flavoring or colorings. The word Ital is derived from the word “vital” and refers to food that is natural, organic, fresh and pure.
This callaloo inspired recipe comes really close to my Jamaican Ital food so I just had to share! Callaloo, which is a green leafy vegetable grown in the Caribbean, can also be found at most West Indian market or as canned product in the international foods aisle at the supermarket. For this recipe, the callaloo is substituted with half spinach and half collard greens.
Let me know if you decide to try this Jamaican Callaloo inspired recipe, and check back next week for more Meatless Mondays recipe!
3 Tbs. canola oil
1 large onion, cut into thin slices (2 cups)
1 lb. collard greens, chopped
1 lb. spinach, stems trimmed
5 cloves garlic, minced (1½ Tbs.)
Hot Pepper Vinegar
½ cup finely diced red bell pepper
½ cup finely diced yellow bell pepper
½ to 1 Scotch bonnet pepper, minced
½ cup cider vinegar
½ tsp. sugar
To make the veggies: Heat oil in stockpot over medium heat. Add onion, and sauté 5 to 7 minutes, or until beginning to brown. Add collard greens, spinach, and garlic; cover, and increase heat to medium-high. Cook 7 to 10 minutes, stirring often with tongs, or until greens wilt. Add 2 cups water, and season with salt and pepper. Cover, reduce heat to medium-low, and cook 45 minutes, or until greens are tender. Season with salt and pepper.
To make Hot Pepper Vinegar: Combine bell peppers and Scotch bonnet pepper in 2-cup glass measuring cup. Stir together vinegar, sugar, and ½ cup water in small saucepan. Bring vinegar mixture to a boil, then pour over peppers. Cool.
To serve: top each serving of spinach and collard greens with hot pepper vinegar.