Lau Lau Recipe | Vegetarian Times Skip to main content

Lau Lau

A true luau staple, lau lau rolls are traditionally made with pork and fish, rolled in taro or ti leaves, and steamed for hours before serving. This quick-and-easy version uses collard leaves to wrap up a sweet potato filling.



Ingredient Line: 
8 large whole collard leaves
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2 medium sweet potatoes or Okinawan purple sweet potatoes, unpeeled and cut into ½-inch cubes (4 cups)
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½ cup tightly packed chopped fresh spinach
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½ cup coconut milk
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¼ cup thinly sliced green onion
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⅛ tsp. red pepper flakes, or more to taste
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1 tsp. smoked paprika, or a few drops liquid smoke


1. Fill large pot with 1 inch water, and bring to a boil. Drop collard leaves in water one at time, and cook 1 to 2 minutes, or until slightly soft. Transfer to plate to drain. Set aside.

2. Place steamer basket over boiling water in pot, add sweet potatoes, cover, and steam 8 minutes, or until just tender. Transfer to bowl, and stir in spinach, coconut milk, green onion, red pepper flakes, and paprika. Season with salt and pepper, if desired. Keep steamer basket in pot over low heat, adding more water, if necessary, to maintain 1 inch depth.

3. Lay 1 collard leaf face down on work surface, with stem pointing away from you. Spoon 1/4 cup sweet potato filling 2 inches from bottom of collard leaf. Fold bottom edge of collard leaf over filling, fold in sides, and roll away from you, creating as tight a roll as possible.

4. Increase heat under steamer to high. Transfer rolls to steamer basket, cover pot, and steam 2 to 3 minutes. Transfer to serving platter with tongs.

Nutrition Information: 

2 g
Total Fat: 
3 g
Saturated Fat: 
3 g
15 g
0 mg
44 mg
3 g
3 g
Makes 8 rolls

Comments on this Recipe

I just made these for my vegan daughter and haven't tried them yet. The filling tastes great and they look quite pretty. A tip for rolling - a bunch of collard greens will have a variety of leaf sizes so use the largest. The rolling was a bit tricky, harder than rolling stuffed grape leaves. Suggest having some toothpicks on hand. I have a lot of leftover filling.

I made this last night and it is one of the most delicious things I've had in a long time. I have been disappointed with the lack of flavor/seasoning in a number of Veg. Times recipes I've made from recent issues, but the combination of smoked paprika, red pepper flakes, salt(a little salt makes a key difference here),coconut milk with the rest of the ingredients is just so good, we couldn't stop eating it! The collard greens I had were so large that I removed the tough center stalk and used each side as separate leaves. Thank you for a great, easy recipe I'll definitely make again!

Have made this a few times now. The flavor is great with just a few simple ingredients. It takes a few steps to steam the collards and make the filling, roll and bake but the taste is worth it!

Sounds good.

Would almond milk work instead of coconut?

JCB-- almond milk MIGHT work, but even with canned coconut milk (which is substantially thicker than almond milk), I find the filling to be quite liquid. however, if you make ahead, I do find the spinach absurd some of the milk. Have made this a number of times and it tastes so good! Although I can't ever quiet get the rolls to stay together; have considered making this but deconstructed...but definitely flavorful!