Of all the vegetables, spinach is one of the most versatile as it can be incorporated in almost every cuisine. The same goes for the Haitian Spinach recipe, also known as Lalo or Jute Leaves. It’s a rich and savory stew often enjoyed with crab and beef. Traditionally Lalo was made by the Latibonit people, indigenous to Haiti and they perfected their Haitian Spinach. 

An easier vegan Haitian Spinach, containing only green, is gradually gaining traction for its straightforward method with simple prep. But today we will be making the traditional Haitian Spinach with beef, spinach, and blue crab.

Let’s get cooking…

Lalo with Beef, Spinach, and Blue Crab Stew

Prep Time 45 minutes
Cook Time 1 hour 10 minutes
Total Time 1 hour 55 minutes
Course Entrée (main meal), Main Course
Cuisine Haitian
Servings 6
Calories 370 kcal


For Jute leaves or Lalo

  • 4 cups  jute leaves, dried
  • 8 cups water
  • 1/4 tsp baking soda

For the Beef

  • 2 lbs stew beef
  • 3 cloves garlic, finely chopped
  • 2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
  • 2 tbsp tomato paste
  • 2 scallions, finely chopped
  • 2 tbsp parsley, finely chopped
  • 1 lemon
  • 1 small white onion, finely chopped
  • 1 sprig thyme
  • 1 tbsp beef bouillon
  • 2 tbsp lime juice
  • 1/2 tsp Himalayan salt
  • 1/2 tsp hot sauce
  • Black pepper to taste

For the Spinach

  • 12 oz baby spinach leaves, roughly chopped

For the Blue Crabs

  • 4 blue crabs
  • 1 lemon


For the Jute Leaves

  • Remove any debris sticking to the jute leaves
  • In a large bowl add water and let the leaves soak in it for 30 minutes
  • Strain the water and set it aside

For the Blue Crab

  • Clean the crabs thoroughly with lime
  • Place them in a large bowl and season with salt, pepper, and lemon
  • Refrigerate for later use

For the Beef

  • To marinate the beef, place it in a bowl and clean with lemon
  • Rinse the beef and pat dry with a paper towel
  • In a separate bowl add lime juice, garlic, onions, scallions, thyme, parsley, bouillon, salt, and pepper and marinate for 30 minutes
  • In a deep pot add oil and heat the tomato paste, letting it cook
  • Once fragrant, add the beef, hot sauce, and stir
  • Reduce the heat to cook
  • Cover the beef with the strained jute leaves
  • Add the chopped baby spinach leaves over the jute leaves

Final Assembly

  • Cover the pot with foil, place a lid over the pot and let it cook for 40 to 50 minutes
  • After 40 minutes, remove the foil and add the blue crabs, stir to combine
  • Cook uncovered for another 20 minutes
  • Turn off the flame and remove from flame
  • Serve hot and fresh!

Tips for this recipe

  • Add baking soda to jute leaves to remove and sliminess
  •  The Haitian Spinach can last in the fridge for 4 days
  • You can opt-out of adding beef and crabs for a vegan-friendly recipe, just add all the marinade seasoning to the pot with the jute leaves
  • If you have shellfish allergies then do not add crabs to the recipe!
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All done! You’ve made the traditional Haitian Spinach Recipe! It takes a lot of effort and time in the kitchen but the result is totally worth it! 

Enjoy the Haitian spinach recipe with these dishes…

Haitian Spinach is eaten with a wide variety of side dishes. The most popular are brown rice dishes as they add balance and neutrality to the palate. Organic brown rice is a favorite ingredient to pair with Haitian Spinach.

Using roots as a part of the meal is a popular method as well, recipes like Candied Beets and Harvard Beets will pair well with spinach. For more protein and a tangy root, try the Chicken with Citrus Beets Recipe. The Lavash Bread makes a good source of fiber when served with Haitian Spinach. Kale Bread makes a denser source of starchy goodness.

More Recipes

The International Cuisines are very diverse yet are still influenced by each other. There are some ingredients and dishes that transcend geography. Here are some more recipes for you to try out:

  • Everyone knows the health benefits of spinach, try the Blanched Spinach Recipe where through cooking techniques the fresh texture of spinach is saved while removing harmful components like oxalates
  • Enjoy succulent and delectable Bradleys Smoker Salmon Recipe, it is so easy you’ll be a pro at smoked fish in no time!
  • For a different and cheaper fish, make the Tilapia and Quinoa. It’s just as delicious but with a pocket-friendly price tag
  • For more seafood dishes, have a look at these Healthy Seafood Recipes