Meatless Jute Leaves Stew or Lalo Meatless Stew is a great and simple recipe for a delicious side dish all year long!
I have received countless emails regarding a meatless recipe for Lalo or Jute and decided to share my to-go, delicious recipe. One tip that has worked for me with this particular recipe is adding canned anchovies fillets. Yes! Anchovies give this stew great flavors. It is an optional ingredient and trusts me the stew won’t taste fishy. And as you might already know, when you add anchovies fillets to any dish, the fillets melt rapidly and leave you with amazing flavors.
How to cook jute leaves or lalo
Jute leaves are known as Lalo is the Haitian community. It is available year-round because it is mostly found packaged in dry form. Lalo can be found in West Indian or Caribbean markets.
Living in New Jersey means that I have the luxury of enjoying fresh jute leaves during the Summer months. During Fall, Winter, and Spring, I can only find it dried or frozen. Last year I was lucky enough to discover a jute farm. Although we did not go back this year, it is still on my to-do list for next year.
Cooking Jute leaves or Lalo is easy. You have to remember to treat the leaves if fresh like any leafy vegetables. And if dried, a good soak in a baking soda bath with help the leaves to loosen up. That process is highly recommended. Do not omit the soaking process.
In many Caribbean restaurants, you will mostly find Lalo with meat. Today I’ll be showing you how to make Lalo without meat. I prepare my Lalo stew with spinach, carrots, celery, sweet peppers, and tomatoes, but you can certainly substitute or add in your favorites (asparagus, broccoli, and cabbage are all popular choices!).
What vegetables are good for 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 in 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 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 fully 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 great is you are on a healthy eating path. They are healthy 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.