Nigerian Spinach Stew (Efo Riro): Yoruba Style

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!

Nigerian Spinach Stew (Efo Riro): Yoruba Style - Dished and ready to eat with fish and a starch or rice

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.

Nigerian Spinach Stew (Efo Riro): Yoruba Style - Spinach prepared and freshly washed


This dish is not your typical stewed spinach, because it comes packed with a major wallop of flavor. Locally this Efo Riro stew is made with a Nigerian spinach called Efo Shoko  literally translated as “Lagos Spinach”, but as you can see, any local spinach will suffice nicely! Efo Riro is a favorite Yoruba staple that is so well beloved, it is sometimes the basis on which cooking skills are assessed! It is not uncommon to hear Nigerians name this spinach stew as proof of their cooking chops. So feel free to pat yourself on the back or add some zeros to your bride price (as we jokingly say locally) once you nail this recipe!

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 Nigerian style with fufu or pounded yam (my favorite!).

Nigerian Spinach Stew (Efo Riro): Yoruba Style - Stew preparation steps

Nigerian Spinach Stew (Efo Riro): Yoruba Style - Spinach stewed in pot

4.67 from 3 votes
Nigerian Spinach Stew: Yoruba Style - Ready and served with eba
Nigerian Spinach Stew (Efo Riro): Yoruba Style
Prep Time
10 mins
Cook Time
45 mins
Total Time
55 mins
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!
Calories: 451 kcal
Author: Yummy Medley
  • 4 pounds of spinach chopped
  • 1 pound of cooked meat of choice I used fried Tilapia
  • 1/2 pound of small fresh water shrimp
  • 2 roma tomatoes
  • 1 red bell pepper
  • 1 large red onion
  • 2 habanero peppers
  • 2 cloves of garlic
  • 1/4 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.

Nigerian Spinach Stew (Efo Riro): Yoruba Style - Ready and served with eba

Sound off below if you’ve tried my Efo Riro recipe. I know for sure you will love it! And while you’re here, feel free to check out my Spicy Nigerian Peanut Stew, Afang Soup, my hometown favorite or my favorite alternative to Egusi soup: Nigerian Almond Stew as well!


  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!

    • Adaku

      September 10, 2017 at 8:45 pm

      I had this at Tasties resteraunt while visiting Lagos Island. The stew is legit! Thanks for posting this. I’m gonna try it out.

      • Ms. Yum

        September 11, 2017 at 9:46 am

        You are very welcome Adaku! I hope you like it!

    • Dd D

      September 18, 2017 at 4:26 am

      Wow Im not Nigerian but try this for sunday dinner and lets just say the pot was bare..all a win win dish in my house! Thank you for sharing

      • Lois

        September 18, 2017 at 8:24 am

        This is awesome! I am happy to hear the recipe worked from you and your family.

  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.

  6. Gifted hands

    September 19, 2017 at 7:30 am

    This is my all time favorite Nigerian soup/stew. I will be making it this week following your recipe and will let you know how it turns out. Thank you for sharing!

    • Lois

      September 19, 2017 at 9:58 am

      That is awesome Gifted. I am sure you will enjoy it.

  7. iCelebrateU365

    February 19, 2018 at 3:50 pm

    I love all the ingredients in this recipe. I love the vegetarian option as I embrace a fasting lifestyle. Thank you for posting. I will sign up for your news letter. #iCelebrateU365 💚🌱💜 Yummy Medley.


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