Laswa a la Nina

There are so many creative ways to incorporate vegetables into your young one’s day, and this recipe from a cookbook author and food stylist is one of them.

This story about how to incorporate vegetables in the dish Laswa first came out in Modern Parenting’s special Mother’s Day-Father’s Day 2023 Print Edition available on

Getting your kids to eat vegetables can get pretty difficult. Whether it’s the rigorous process of hiding vegetables in food or kids just liking fried meals more, you might find yourself running out of ideas on how to serve the young ones nutritious dishes in every meal. Thankfully, The Philippine Cookbook author Nina Daza-Puyat recreates the famous sinabawang gulay, or “vegetable soup”, and adds in a starch component, making the deliciously healthy dish a balanced meal in itself.

Laswa Recipe by Nina Daza

How to make veggies yummy for kids?

The dish mixes a medley of backyard vegetables, namely squash, okra, eggplant, and string beans. But this mixes it in a broth with seafood stock or fish sauce serving as the seasoning and base.

“[It] is a way of cooking, rather than a strict recipe,” says Nina, noting that the vegetable soup is a dish known throughout the country under different names. One of the more popular ones is laswa in Ilonggo. “I first encountered [laswa] while I was still the editor-in-chief of Appetite Magazine sometime in 2015 or 2016,” Nina recalls. “But I’ve only actually made it three or four times. And those times were during the

Given the grueling lockdown measures and social distancing protocols at the time, Nina found that laswa was the most flexible dish she could prepare. It pretty much welcomed any vegetable she then had at hand—sayote, winged beans, moringa leaves, and so on. “The important thing is that they have to be lowland vegetables. Somehow, highland vegetables like broccoli, cauliflower, carrots, and Baguio beans do not work,” she emphasizes.

A Family-Friendly Laswa Recipe

Now free from the limiting circumstance, the cookbook author yet again presents her latest rendition of laswa. She then transforms it from a purely vegetable dish into a seafood vermicelli noodle soup. It becomes a dish that both the kids and the parents will definitely enjoy while sharing stories and laughs.

“I want to combine the slurpy goodness of Sapporo Long Kow Vermicelli with the savory taste of fish sauce and the chewy texture of vegetables. All in one comforting bowl of laswa,” Nina Daza-Puyat explains. “While it can be a vegan dish seasoned with salt instead of patis, the laswa can be topped with sauteed pork or fried fish to suit the palate of meat lovers.”


Including it on the family menu

When asked how she would incorporate this dish into their family meals, Nina was quick to answer that she’s lucky she never had trouble getting her young ones to eat gulay: “[As] a young housewife and mother, I’ve already established this rule since they were still toddlers, and I made sure that they all grew up eating vegetables.”

But Nina Daza-Puyat remains positive that modern parents can also teach their children to love their greens by trying different ways of preparing them, with laswa as a kickstart. “We can always experiment with one new vegetable at a time,” she concludes

More family-friendly recipes:

One-Pot Summer Recipes to Beat the Heat
Kid-Friendly Pinoy Fish Recipes Beyond Escabeche
6 Easy Recipes To Get Kids To Eat Vegetables

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