Oil Free Nigerian Soup – Efo (Vegetable)


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Oil Free Nigerian Soup – Efo Riro (Vegetable)

I often get questions on how to make oil- free Nigerian soups. Honestly, It’s really as simple as just skipping the oil; there is no magic trick to it.

One thing I always consider when preparing oil free soups is the purpose oil serve in the soup, let me explain. In the case of efo-riro for example, oil serves two purposes. It enhances the color of the prepared vegetable soup and it also adds to the taste. In the case of okro, egusi and ogbono soup, oil especially helps with color enhancement.

When you cook for yourself and your family , it’s advisable not to add lots oil into your stew and soups. Nigerian stew and soups often come with loads of protein (goat, beef, smoked turkey, fish etc), these proteins have natural oils that is added into whatever you are cooking, additional oil if often an overkill. Excess oil consumption will eventually lead to weight gain and other ailments.

Today i am sharing my oil-free efo riro recipe, it looks and taste like the traditional version. We already shared our oil free ogbono soup procedure in this post here. You can easily make oil free okro soup with this recipe we shared here, the main picture in the post is actually oil-free; simply skip the oil to achieve this.

Oil free Nigerian soup – efo (Vegetable)

Prep time: 

Cook time: 

Total time: 

Serves: 8

Part A
  • 4 red bell peppers (Tatashe)
  • 1 medium onion bulb
  • 2-3 scotch bonnet peppers (Ata Rodo)
Preparation: Chop all listed ingredients. Combine in a blender and pulse to a rough coarse consistency. Pour mixture into a strainer and rest to remove excess fluid
Part B
  • 2 Tablespoon blended crayfish
  • ½ cup red prawns (ede)
  • 2 cups shredded smoked fish
  • 8 pieces boiled meat (goat, beef, shaki and ponmon )
  • 2-4 tablespoons whole locust beans (Iru)
  • Salt- to taste
  • 2-3 cubes maggi
Part C
  • 15 Cups chopped fresh callaloo (Efo tete) ~4 bunches
  • OR 3 packs chopped frozen spinach (9oz packs) – Defrosted
Preparation: If using fresh spinach, place the spinach in a bowl, add ½ teaspoon of salt, cover with boiling water and place a lid over the bowl. Allow to rest for 5-6 minutes. Rinse out the spinach and squeeze to remove excess water.
  1. Place a large pot over medium heat, add in the end result of part A and the left over ingredients in part B. Cover and leave to simmer for 10-15 minutes
  2. Add in the spinach. Stir well to combine. Taste and adjust for seasoning. Simmer covered for another 3 - 5 more minutes.
  3. Serve on rice or with your choice on okele

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By |July 23rd, 2015|32 Comments


  1. Rose May 5, 2017 at 3:33 am - Reply

    How do I get this right if I don’t have a blender

  2. Soph July 24, 2016 at 3:12 pm - Reply

    Tried this today and got really yummy results!

    • Faith January 23, 2017 at 4:19 pm - Reply

      Thanks for sharing the oil free efo. But will peppers/onion blend, cook well without oil? And must I blanch the shoko( I am assuming shoko is spinach, cos not so sure). Besides, I have seen the shoko vegetable that can just be watched, sliced and used. I am just concerned ab so much heat and loss of nutrients from the leaves

      • 9jafoodie
        9jafoodie January 27, 2017 at 1:54 pm - Reply

        1) yes, it will cook without oil
        2) you do not have to blanch the vegetables.

  3. tobbie March 31, 2016 at 3:41 am - Reply

    God continue to bless and keep you, you’re saving lives. Esp bachelors such as myself.

  4. Ayo December 6, 2015 at 7:51 am - Reply

    I’m starting the GM diet tomorrow and this recipe is perfect. All veg and no oil. Thanks for this 🙂

    • Julia March 8, 2016 at 8:27 am - Reply

      I came here too cos I am on GM diet, Tomorrow is day 7 Rice and Veg and needed to enjoy with naija veg got tired of cabagge and d rest.

  5. Pebbles November 28, 2015 at 12:09 pm - Reply

    Hi, please where can I get the callaloo? I live in Canada. Is there a substitute for it?

    • 9jafoodie
      9jafoodie November 28, 2015 at 3:26 pm - Reply

      Where in Canada? if you are in ontario, you will find it in Afro Caribbean food stores. everywhere else check Asian style grocery stores.

  6. Christy November 28, 2015 at 11:52 am - Reply

    Hi, pls where can I get this your plates to buy in bulk?

  7. sain October 28, 2015 at 9:46 am - Reply

    The whole process is kinda confusing… Go confused n decided to try shortcut which eventually worked.
    I added all ingredients same time starting with the efo and placed on fire.. Bingo my vegetable soup was ready n yummy..

  8. Kim Barkley October 4, 2015 at 5:06 am - Reply

    I live in Washington state. I have not found a Nigerian food store.

  9. Kim Barkley September 29, 2015 at 6:47 pm - Reply

    Where in the US can I purchase or find Iru- Locast Bean, please.

    • 9jafoodie
      9jafoodie October 2, 2015 at 9:07 pm - Reply

      Where do you live? is there a local Nigerian food store?

    • Funmi December 16, 2016 at 3:25 am - Reply

      You can also get locust beans at any Chinatown or Korean grocery store. I often found mine there.

  10. Tina lamai August 27, 2015 at 4:15 am - Reply

    thanks, Ronke

  11. Tina lamai August 27, 2015 at 4:14 am - Reply

    I cooked this yesterday, my husband thanked me at least four times.

  12. Netta August 4, 2015 at 3:23 am - Reply

    Hi there, this looks amazing. What is callaloo? And do you where can I find locust beans in the UK?

    • 9jafoodie
      9jafoodie August 4, 2015 at 7:42 am - Reply

      Callaloo is efo-tete, it’s the main vegetable used in preparing vegetable soup in Nigeria. Locust beans – check avilauk online.

  13. Amy August 1, 2015 at 11:48 am - Reply

    Hi there, I would love to try make this but I can’t see all of the directions.. It is only showing 1, 4 and 6.

    • 9jafoodie
      9jafoodie August 2, 2015 at 9:16 pm - Reply

      The setup on the recipe writer is a little weird. The recipe is actually complete, the inserted pictures just count as steps.

  14. Seun Shen July 24, 2015 at 1:32 am - Reply

    Pls can one use efo soko instead of tete?

  15. Whododislikedis (@chiching_eges) July 23, 2015 at 7:52 am - Reply

    this is delectable………

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