Spinach Stew: Yoruba Style

Afro- Foods, Savory | January 23, 2015 | By


I’m sure most of us have already come up with (and hopefully not yet broken) some new year resolutions. If you’re like me, the majority of your new year resolutions tend to focus on a more healthy lifestyle. One specific resolution I made this year was to eat more vegetables in 2015, I even bought a squash the other day… (still not sure what I’ll be making with it, but more on that later). One of my favorite vegetables is spinach, and though that word sometimes triggers distasteful memories of its bland taste usually unmasked by boring recipes, or disguised in green smoothies, allow me to introduce you to a very common Nigerian recipe that will change the way you feel about this vegetable forever! This spinach stew locally known as “Efo Riro” is guaranteed to be one of the most savory and delicious spinach recipes you will ever taste.



This is not your typical stewed spinach, because it comes packed with a major wallop of flavor. This stew can be adapted to appeal to both vegetarians and meat eaters, without losing its rich depth of flavor either way. In this recipe, I primarily used seafood, but for vegetarians, feel free to substitute the meat with dried mushrooms for that rich umami flavor ( you will find the instructions in the recipe below). This stew can be served with steamed rice, or in typical African style with fufu.



Spinach Stew: Yoruba Style
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
  • 4 pounds of spinach chopped
  • 1 pound of cooked meat of choice( I used fried Tilapia)
  • ½ pound of small fresh water shrimp
  • 2 roma tomatoes
  • 1 red bell pepper
  • 1 large red onion
  • 2 habanero peppers
  • 2 cloves of garlic
  • ¼ cup palm oil/ annatto oil
  • 3 tbsp powdered dried shrimp
  • Salt to taste
  1. To prep, blend half of the red onion with the tomatoes, bell pepper, garlic, and hot pepper. Chop the other half of the red onion.
  2. In a deep sauce pan or stock pot, heat the oil and saute the onions over medium heat until its golden brown.
  3. Add the blended tomato mix, and allow to cook over medium heat for about 30 minutes. Stir occasionally to avoid the mix from burning.
  4. After 30 minutes, the sauce should be significantly reduced, at this point season it with powdered dry shrimp and salt to taste.
  5. If cooking with cooked red meat or chicken, add them to the sauce at this point. If using dried mushrooms, re-hydrate and them at this point as well.
  6. Add the fresh shrimp to the sauce, then add the spinach. At this stage, the spinach may look too much, but allow to sit in the pot for about 1 minute.
  7. Gently stir the stew and the spinach until the spinach is wilted till about half the its original volume.
  8. Adjust the seasoning with salt to taste if necessary. At this point I added the fried tilapia, stirred and served.
  9. This stew is best served warm and freshly cooked.



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  1. Isi

    January 23, 2015 at 1:35 pm

    This looks so amazing Ms. Yum. Wow.

    • Ms. Yum

      January 23, 2015 at 1:52 pm

      Thanks Isi! Hope you try out the recipe.

    • Don L.

      February 19, 2017 at 9:55 pm

      My Ex used to prepare this for me, as it was taught to her as a little girl. I had never had anything this amazing in my life, at the time, and have tried to make it since then. I’ve been close, but your recipe not only gave me the confidence to perfect it, but also allowed me to get over her lol! Thank you so much Ms. Yum!

      • Ms. Yum

        February 20, 2017 at 11:53 am

        I am glad you found the recipe helpful. Enjoy!

  2. Tim

    February 6, 2015 at 11:27 am

    This is good!!! You need to also talk of the health benefits of these healthy meals. Most of us eat without consideration for the health benefits. Let you followers know why they should pay the cook instead of the doctor. When your meals are healthy and balanced, you have zero visit to the doctor. Let this site be complete for food and healthy eating habits. Kudos!!!

    • Ms. Yum

      February 6, 2015 at 11:33 am

      Thanks for the tip, I will definitely take it into consideration. I like the idea of paying the cook instead of the doctor.

  3. ChiO

    February 6, 2015 at 3:32 pm

    This soup just screams come and eat! well done 🙂

    • Ms. Yum

      February 7, 2015 at 7:59 am


  4. Judi Jordan

    August 9, 2016 at 12:47 am

    Years ago my Senegalese friend made a delicious spinach dish with red palm oil. I tried to duplicate it with horrible results. Today, I decided to try the dish again. I had a huge bag of spinach and wanted something different than my ordinary recipe. Saw your recipe and followed it exactly without the seafood. I had some leftover rotisserie chicken. I also didn’t have the habanero peppers and substituted with 1/2 a jalepeno. One daughter doesn’t like spicy. The results were absolutely amazing and delicious. My family really enjoyed this dish. Thanks for sharing!!!

    • Ms. Yum

      April 25, 2017 at 1:15 pm

      I am so happy to hear that you enjoyed the recipe Judi!

  5. Mark

    April 25, 2017 at 12:11 pm

    I always forget to say thank you each time I visit your page, I’m a guy and an absolute beginner when it comes to cooking, No girl will be able to do yanga from me after I am through with this. LOL

    • Ms. Yum

      April 25, 2017 at 1:12 pm

      It is awesome to hear that you are giving this recipe a go Mark… show them how it is done o! When you are done cooking I am sure they will be begging you for the recipe. Feel free to share the pictures with me when you are done.


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