Greens all year round- even in our hot, humid, subtropical summer!

Brazilian spinach is a low growing perennial leaf vegetable. It forms a bush to 30 cm high. The leaves are mid green, round and crinkled. The flowers are small and white. It is suitable for subtropical and tropical areas. It will tolerate most soils, although it prefers a moderate to rich loam. It dislikes waterlogging. It can be planted in full sun to medium shade.

Permaculture Noosa will have Brazilian Spinach seedlings available for purchase at our fundraising BBQ at Pomona markets (Saturday 20 November and Saturday 18 December) and at Club Day at Cooroy Community Permaculture Gardens, Sunday 21 November.

Uses: Food, Living Mulch, Edging Plant 

  • It is a green leafy vegetable, without the slimy texture that people often dislike with Aibika or Ceylon spinach.
  • Fresh Brazilian spinach is firm and has a crunchy texture.
  • You can use it in the same way you would use spinach or silverbeet.
  • If eaten in large quantities, it requires steaming or boiling because of the presence of oxalates.
  • Serving suggestions include: salads; added to quiches, pies, curries, dahl, pasta sauces, lasagne; added to dishes like stir-fries (late in the cooking process as a spinach substitute and to add a nutty flavour)
  • It can be planted as a living mulch e.g. under fruit trees
  • Its growth habit makes it a handy plant for edging paths

Planting Details

  • Grows easily from cuttings. Propagate during spring
  • Plant cuttings that are 15 – 20 cm long. Strip the leaves off the bottom half of the stems and bury a quarter of the length. Keep moist. When established, the cuttings shoot from the roots and quickly form dense clumps.
  • Space 60 cm apart, mulch well.
  • Brazilian spinach does not set viable seed and is not considered invasive.
  • Plucking the leaves downward encourages new leaves to shoot from the stem.
  • The plant is cut back to the ground every year, refreshing the foliage.

If you missed our Club Night talk on Brazilian Spinach then click here to hear the audio version by Johanna Scanlan

Recipe Idea


500g Brazilian spinach

2 tbsp ghee (can be substituted for oil or butter)

150g paneer cubed (can be substituted for tofu, haloumi or feta)

1 small onion, thinly sliced

4 garlic cloves, finely sliced

4cm ginger, grated

1 fresh small green chilli, deseeded and thinly sliced

1 tsp garam masala

½ tsp turmeric

½ tsp salt

  1. Bring a large pot of water to the boil. Drop in the washed Brazilian spinach, blanch for 1 minute, drain, and roughly chop the leaves.
  2. Heat the ghee in a large heavy based frying pan on a medium-high heat and fry the paneer cubes, in batches if necessary, until golden and crusted. Set aside on kitchen paper with a slotted spoon, leaving as much ghee in the pan as possible.
  3. Add the onion, garlic, ginger and chilli to the pan along with the spices and salt and fry, stirring vigorously, until well coloured, but not burnt.
  4. Add the chopped Brazilian spinach and paneer and stir.
  5. Cook, uncovered, for 5-10 minutes, stirring regularly.
  6. Serve with rice or roti bread and ENJOY!