Efo Riro: The Nigerian Stew You Need to Try.

Efo Riro: The Nigerian Stew You Need to Try.

Published by Solomon on 15th Aug 2023

For years, palates have been mesmerised by the stunning symphony of hues, textures, and flavours that make up Nigerian food. Efo Riro, a colourful and flavorful soup, is a symbol of Nigeria's rich cultural heritage and ingrained customs. Each spoonful sends you on a voyage beyond basic nutrition, asking you to savour the flavorful fusion of components and tales that elevates Efo Riro to the status of a renowned culinary masterpiece around the world. Join us as we explore the luscious depths of Efo Riro soup.

What is Efo Riro?

Efo Riro is a traditional Nigerian vegetable soup that originates from the Yoruba ethnic group, primarily found in southwestern Nigeria. The name "Efo Riro" translates to "mixed vegetables" in the Yoruba language, and true to its name, the dish features a rich medley of assorted vegetables and flavorful ingredients.

The soup is characterized by its vibrant colors, bold flavors, and a slightly spicy kick that leaves a delightful tingle on the tongue.

What does Efo Riro Taste Like?

Efo Riro offers a symphony of umami-rich flavors that dance on the taste buds. The combination of leafy greens, succulent meats or seafood, and aromatic spices creates a harmonious balance of savory notes.

Efo Riro envelops the senses in a luxurious, velvety embrace. The inclusion of palm oil imparts a silky richness that coats the ingredients, creating a sumptuous mouthfeel. 

As you savor each spoonful, the medley of tender greens, tender meats, and delicate seafood unfolds in layers of textures, from the melt-in-your-mouth goodness of the proteins to the satisfying bite of the cooked vegetables.

Nutritional Value of Efo Riro

The nutritional value of Efo Riro can vary based on the specific ingredients and proportions used in its preparation. 

Vitamins and Minerals

Efo Riro is rich in vitamins and minerals, especially when prepared with a variety of leafy greens. It can provide significant amounts of vitamins A, C, and K, as well as folate and iron. These nutrients are essential for maintaining healthy skin, immune function, blood clotting, and overall well-being.


The inclusion of leafy greens and other vegetables in Efo Riro contributes to its dietary fiber content. Fiber promotes healthy digestion, helps regulate blood sugar levels, and supports a feeling of fullness.


The choice of protein sources, such as meats or seafood, adds to the protein content of Efo Riro. Protein is crucial for muscle growth and repair, immune function, and hormone production.

Healthy Fats

While palm oil is a key ingredient in Efo Riro, it also provides a source of healthy fats, including monounsaturated and saturated fats. These fats are important for energy production, nutrient absorption, and supporting overall bodily functions.


The mix of colorful vegetables in Efo Riro contributes to its antioxidant content. Antioxidants help combat oxidative stress and inflammation in the body, potentially reducing the risk of chronic diseases.

Efo Riro Ingredients

To make Efo Riro you'll need the following:

  • Assorted leafy greens (e.g., spinach, kale, or amaranth leaves), washed and chopped
  • Palm oil
  • Protein sources (e.g., chickenbeef, shrimp, or fish), cut into bite-sized pieces
  • Tomatoes, chopped
  • Bell peppers (different colors), chopped
  • Onions, finely chopped
  • Scotch bonnet peppers (adjust quantity to taste), finely chopped or blended
  • Locust beans (iru), ground (optional)
  • Crayfish, ground (optional)
  • Seasonings (salt, bouillon cubes, or your preferred seasoning blend)
  • Water or broth
  • Optional: garlic, ginger, thyme, curry powder, or other herbs and spices

How to Make Efo Riro

Prepare the Greens

Wash the leafy greens thoroughly and chop them into manageable pieces. Blanch them in boiling water for a minute or two, then drain and set aside.

Saute the Base

In a pot, heat some palm oil over medium heat. Add chopped onions and sauté until translucent.

Add Tomatoes and Peppers

Add the chopped tomatoes and bell peppers to the pot. Cook until the tomatoes are soft and the mixture forms a thick sauce.


Season the sauce with your preferred seasonings, including salt, bouillon cubes, and any other herbs and spices you desire. You can also add ground crayfish and locust beans at this point for added flavor.

Add Protein

Add the protein sources (chicken, beef, shrimp, or fish) to the pot. Cook until they are fully cooked and have absorbed the flavors of the sauce.

Incorporate Greens

Gently fold in the blanched and chopped leafy greens. Be careful not to overcook them; they should retain their vibrant color and texture.

Adjust Spiciness

If desired, adjust the level of spiciness by adding finely chopped or blended scotch bonnet peppers. Remember to taste as you go and adjust the seasonings accordingly.


Allow the Efo Riro to simmer for a few minutes, allowing the flavors to meld and the greens to absorb the delicious sauce.

What To Eat With Efo Riro

Efo Riro pairs wonderfully with a variety of traditional and complementary side dishes. Here are some popular options to consider eating with Efo Riro:

Pounded Yam: Pounded yam is a classic and beloved side dish in Nigerian cuisine. The smooth and elastic texture of pounded yam provides a perfect contrast to the rich and hearty Efo Riro.

Eba (Garri): Eba, also known as garri, is a staple made from cassava. It's often enjoyed with soups and stews, including Efo Riro. The slightly grainy and dough-like consistency of eba complements the flavors and textures of the soup.

Amala: Amala is another popular Nigerian side dish made from yam flour or yam peelings. It has a distinct dark color and a unique taste that pairs well with the flavors of Efo Riro.

Rice: Steamed white rice or jollof rice, a flavorful one-pot rice dish, can be a great accompaniment to Efo Riro. The softness of rice complements the robust flavors of the soup.

Fufu: Various types of fufu, such as semolina fufu, plantain fufu, or yam fufu, can be served with Efo Riro. Fufu has a soft and starchy consistency that contrasts nicely with the soup.

Boiled Plantains: Boiled or fried plantains provide a sweet and savory element that pairs well with the bold flavors of Efo Riro.

Yam: Boiled or roasted yam is a wholesome and satisfying choice to enjoy alongside Efo Riro. The natural sweetness of yam complements the savory and slightly spicy profile of the soup.

Tips for Making Efo Riro

  • Blanch your Spinach before stirring them in the sauce. Then pour the spinach into a sieve and rinse it under the coldest water in order to stop the cooking process.
  • Remember to drain off as much water as you can from the Spinach, excess water from the Spinach can cause your stew watery.
  • Don't leave the spinach too long on the stovetop, otherwise, the vegetables will turn brown and lose most of their nutrients in the water.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)

Can Vegetable Oil be used in making Efo Riro?

Yes, vegetable oil can be used as a substitute for palm oil when making Efo Riro. While palm oil is traditionally used to add color, flavor, and richness to the soup, vegetable oil can also work well and produce a tasty dish.

What Leaf is used for Efo Riro?

A leaf called Green or Callaloo is used for Efo Riro . It is a popular choice for Efo Riro due to its mild flavor and tender texture. It cooks relatively quickly and retains its vibrant green color.

How many Calories are in Efo Riro?

A typical serving of Efo Riro (approximately 1 cup or 240 ml) made with a moderate amount of palm oil, assorted leafy greens, tomatoes, peppers, and a protein source such as chicken or fish, might contain around 150-250 calories


In the colorful tapestry of Nigerian cuisine, Efo Riro stands as a shining star, weaving together flavors, tradition, and a sense of community. With each tantalizing spoonful, this vibrant soup tells a story of generations past, a tale of resilience, and a celebration of unity. Efo Riro reminds us that food is more than sustenance; it is a journey that connects us to our roots, our loved ones, and the ever-evolving landscapes of our taste buds. If you're in the UK and are looking for a place to purchase quality african groceries to make your favorite meals why not try our African Grocery Store?