Laing is a beloved Filipino dish made of dried taro leaves slowly cooked in coconut milk, aromatics, and spices. It originated from the province of Bicol, Philippines and has gained popularity among Filipinos all over the world.
Because of its popularity, Laing is one of the most requested recipes on the blog. The requests came from people emailing and sending me direct messages on social media, asking for a vegan version. The blog did have a vegan version once but I took it down because I felt something was missing from it. I went back to the drawing board (or kitchen) to improve the recipe. After a few tweaks, the vegan Laing recipe is now ready for you. I hope you enjoy this improved version!
The first time I’ve had vegan Laing was when I recently visited the Philippines. My aunties already knew I was vegan and would prepare vegan Laing for me. Of course they didn’t have to make me anything at all. But being gracious hosts as they are, they always look after me. And being the gracious guest I wanted to be, I didn’t want to make special requests. Yet, my aunties have found a way to serve something vegan. After all, Laing is easy to veganize because its main ingredient is not meat but taro leaves.
Other traditional versions include tiny bits of pork, shrimp paste, or shrimp, but these meat additions are simply just additions. Laing could go without them and still keep its delicious reputation.
This Astig Vegan Laing recipe is not just an answer to those looking for a vegan version, but an homage to my aunties who would happily cook for me and support my vegan journey. I’ve learned a thing or two from them about Filipino food and I hope somehow I’ve returned the favor by showing them the delicious side of vegan Filipino dishes.
- 3 tablespoons coconut oil
- 5 garlic cloves, peeled, crushed, and minced
- 1 yellow onion, peeled and chopped
- 4 tablespoons peeled and thinly sliced ginger
- 3-5 pieces Thai chili peppers, sliced (or more if you want it extra spicy)
- 2-3 pinches sea salt, or more to taste
- 1-2 tablespoons black bean garlic sauce, or more to taste
- 3½ cups coconut milk (about 2 cans)
- 1 ounce dried taro leaves
- Heat a heavy-bottom pot over medium heat. Once hot enough, add oil and garlic. Saute until garlic is slightly golden and fragrant.
- Follow with onion, ginger, and chili pepper. Season with salt and saute some more until onion has softened and turned translucent.
- Add black bean garlic sauce and coconut milk. Mix well.
- Carefully place taro leaves. Using the back of a ladle, gently push leaves down to fully absorb the milk. Do not stir. Turn heat down to its lowest setting and cover pot. Let it simmer for 45 minutes. Check every 15 minutes to make sure nothing is burning on the bottom of the pot (if it's starting to, gently stir without disturbing the leaves).
- If needed, season with more salt and black bean garlic sauce to taste.
- Turn off heat and serve hot, preferably with rice.
You could find dried taro leaves at most Filipino and Asian grocery stores.
HERE’S A VIDEO EPISODE FROM MY YOUTUBE CHANNEL:
Kain na, let’s eat!