Meatless Jute Leaves Stew, Lalo Meatless Stew, lalo stew or lalo legume is a great and simple recipe for a delicious side dish all year long as long as you can find dried lalo leaves at the supermarket.
Jute leaves are a popular leafy green vegetable in many Caribbean cuisines. They have a slightly slimy texture and a mild flavor, often described as similar to spinach or collard greens. Jute leaves are a good source of vitamins A, C, and K and minerals such as iron and calcium.
Lalo stew is a traditional Caribbean dish that is made with jute leaves and meat. However, making a delicious and nutritious vegetarian version of the dish is also possible. This recipe for meatless jute leaves stew is simple to follow and can be made in less than an hour.
Why I decided to share this recipe
I received countless emails regarding a meatless recipe for Lalo or Jute and decided to share my delicious to-go recipe. One tip that has worked for me with this particular recipe is adding canned anchovie fillets. Yes! Anchovies give this stew great flavors. It is an optional ingredient, and trust me, the stew won’t taste fishy. As you might already know, when you add anchovie fillets to any dish, the fillets melt rapidly and leave you with unique flavors.
Many Caribbean restaurants serve Lalo with meat, but I’ll show you how to make a vegetarian version today. I use spinach, carrots, celery, sweet peppers, and tomatoes in my Lalo stew, but feel free to substitute or add your favorites, such as asparagus, broccoli, or cabbage.
How to cook Meatless Jute Leaves Stew (Lalo Stew or legume Lalo)
Jute leaves are known as Lalo in the Haitian community. It is available year-round because it is mainly found packaged in dry form. Lalo can be found in West Indian or Caribbean markets.
Living in New Jersey, I enjoy fresh jute leaves during Summer. I can only find them dried or frozen during Fall, Winter, and Spring. Discovering a jute farm has made it easier to enjoy fresh lalo leaves. Every year, my summer to-do list now includes visiting a jute leaves farm.
Cooking Jute leaves or Lalo is easy. Remember to treat the leaves as fresh, like any leafy vegetables. And if dried, a good soak in a baking soda bath will help the leaves loosen up. That process is highly recommended. Do not omit the soaking process.
Dried lalo or jute leaves are a leafy green vegetable popular in many Caribbean cuisines. They have a slightly slimy texture and a mild flavor, often described as similar to spinach or collard greens. Dried lalo leaves are a good source of vitamins A, C, and K and minerals such as iron and calcium.
Baby spinach is a type of leafy green vegetable that is known for its mild flavor and tender texture. It is a good source of vitamins A, C, and K, as well as minerals such as iron and calcium.
Olive oil is a vegetable oil that is extracted from olives. It is a good source of monounsaturated fats, which are considered to be healthy fats.
Garlic is a type of bulb vegetable that is known for its pungent flavor and aroma. It is a good source of vitamins C and B6 and minerals such as manganese and selenium.
Anchovies are a type of small fish that are often used to add flavor to dishes. They are a good source of protein, omega-3 fatty acids, and vitamin B12.
Tomatoes are a type of fruit that is often used as a vegetable in cooking. They are a good source of vitamins A and C and the antioxidant lycopene.
Carrots are a type of root vegetable that is known for its sweet flavor and orange color. They are a good source of vitamins A and C and beta-carotene, which is converted to vitamin A in the body.
Scallions are a type of onion that is known for its mild flavor and green color. They are a good source of vitamins A and C and potassium.
Celery is a type of vegetable that is known for its crunchy texture and mild flavor. It is a good source of vitamins A and C, potassium, and dietary fiber.
Mini peppers are a type of bell pepper that is smaller in size than the traditional bell pepper. They are available in a variety of colors, including red, orange, yellow, and green. Mini peppers are a good source of vitamins A and C and potassium.
Red onion is a type of onion that is known for its reddish-purple color and sharp flavor. It is a good source of vitamins A and C, as well as quercetin, which is a type of antioxidant.
Parsley is a type of herb that is known for its bright green color and fresh flavor. It is a good source of vitamins A and C, potassium, and dietary fiber.
Noubess Garlic and Herb Seasoning is a seasoning blend that contains garlic, herbs, and spices. It is a good source of flavor and aroma and can be used to season various dishes.
Overall, the ingredients in this recipe are a good source of vitamins A, C, and K, as well as minerals such as iron, calcium, potassium, and manganese. They are also a good source of dietary fiber and antioxidants.
To soften jute leaves or lalo:
- Add the jute leaves or lalo to a large bowl.
- Add enough water to cover the leaves.
- Add 2 pinches of baking soda to the water.
- Let the leaves soak for 20-30 minutes.
To make the stew:
- Heat the olive oil in a large pot or Dutch oven over medium heat.
- Once the oil begins to shimmer, add the garlic, anchovies, and tomatoes.
- Cook, stirring occasionally, for 4-5 minutes, until the tomatoes have released their juices.
- Add the celery, carrots, onions, and peppers.
- Cook, stirring occasionally, for 4-5 minutes, or until the onions are semi-translucent.
- Stir in the parsley and Noubess Garlic and Herb seasoning.
- Strain the jute leaves and add them to the pot.
- Add the spinach and stir to mix.
- Adjust the seasoning to taste, then reduce the heat, cover, and simmer for 3-5 minutes.
- Uncover the pot, add about 1/2 cup of water, and adjust the seasoning again.
- Add a few drops of fresh lemon juice to taste.
- Reduce the heat to medium-low and simmer for 30-45 minutes, stirring occasionally.
Notes and Tips:
- You can substitute dried jute leaves for fresh jute leaves in this recipe. However, you will need to soak the dried leaves in water for at least 2 hours before using them.
- You can omit anchovies from the recipe if you cannot find anchovies. However, they add a nice depth of flavor to the stew.
- You can also add other vegetables to the stew, such as potatoes, green beans, or zucchini.
- Serve the stew with rice or quinoa.
What vegetables are good for lalo stew or jute leaves stew?
All leafy vegetables are good for stews. In the Caribbean, and precisely in Haiti, a stew usually includes spinach, chayote, cabbage, and carrots. Okra and eggplant are also found in stews. Potatoes in stews rarely make their way into Haitian cuisine.
A good rule of thumb! You must cut your vegetables to approximately the same size and even the leafy greens. This way, your stew will look more appetizing, and depending on your stew ingredients, all the vegetables will cook evenly.
Always remember to add the vegetables that take the longest to cook in the pot first. Bell Peppers cook quicker and are best added later.
How long does it take to cook lalo?
Cooking time will vary depending on fresh, frozen, and dried Jute leaves. Timing will also vary depending on the add-ons (vegetables). Usually, Lalo takes about 45 – 50 minutes to cook. Stews must be slow-cooked and not at high temperatures. You want the vegetables to take their time to release their flavors and be thoroughly cooked when served.
Are vegetable stews good reheated?
Yes, absolutely! Stovetop stews make great leftovers heated in either the microwave or in the oven. You can also use any leftovers to make bouillon or soup. Simple add more vegetables (your choice), more broth or calabaza, or butternut squash.
This stew is also perfect for your meal planning. Make it in advance, freeze, reheat and enjoy with boiled root vegetables or a healthy grain dish.
Vegetable stews are perfect comfort food, and it is excellent if you are on a healthy eating path. They are nutritious meals that can help you lose weight. They are great side dishes for any day of the week. Meatless stews are perfect with meat entrees and non-meat entrees as well.
- 5 cups dried lalo or jute leaves
- 16 oz bag baby spinach
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 6 garlic cloves chopped or minced
- 6 fillets of anchovies or half of the can
- 6 to matoes diced, (Campari tomatoes or any juicy tomatoes preferably)
- 1 medium carrot
- 2 scallions
- 2 celery stalks
- 1 cup mini peppers slices mixed colors – orange and red
- 1 large red onion or 2 medium sliced or chopped
- ½ cup parsley roughly chopped
- 1 ½ tbsp Noubess Garlic and Herb Seasoning
- In a large bowl, add Jute leaves or Lalo. Add water to cover leaves and add 2 pinches of baking soda. Let leaves soak for 20-30 mins so they softened.
- While the lalo is soaking, in a large pot or Dutch oven, heat the olive oil over medium heat. Once the oil begins to shimmer, add garlic, anchovies, tomatoes and cook stirring occasionally 4 to 5 minutes until the tomatoes have released their juices.
- Add celery, carrots, onions, peppers, and cook for 4 – 5 minutes, or until the onion is semi-translucent.
- Add parsley and Noubess Garlic and Herb and stir to mix.
- While the vegetables are cooking, strain the jute leaves and place in the pot.
- Add spinach and stir to mix. Adjust seasoning, lower heat, cover and cook 3 – 5 minutes.
- Uncover the pot, add about ½ cup of water, adjust seasoning and add a couple of drops of fresh lemon juice. Reduce the heat to medium-low and simmer for 30 – 45 minutes, stirring occasionally.
Please keep in mind that nutritional information is a rough estimate and can vary greatly based on the products used.
Nutrition info is automatically generated and provided as a courtesy and as an estimate only.