No Southern Menu is Complete Without Okra!
Okra grows abundantly in the south; it can beat the heat and is generally available fresh nearly all summer! The humble okra is a polarizing vegetable, either you love it or you hate it..my bet is that you just haven’t had it cooked the right way yet!!
Besides interesting taste and texture, okra is rich in numerous vitamins, minerals, and nutrients that are responsible for the health benefits the plant has to offer. Here are some of okra’s health benefits:
– Helps Prevent Diabetes
– Okra Promotes a Healthy Pregnancy
– Aids with Kidney Disease
– Supports Colon Health
– Aids with Respiratory Issues like Asthma, and
– Promotes Healthy Skin.
Give some of these recipes a try and you might change some minds about okra!!
Crunchy Oven Baked Okra
18 fresh young okra pods, sliced in about 1/3 inch pieces
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 tablespoon light mayonnaise
Salt and Pepper to taste
4-6 tablespoons panko style bread crumbs
(For variation sometimes I use a little dry packet ranch to season, or a little grated Parmesan)
Preheat the oven to 425 degrees. Once preheated, spray your pan and heat it up about 5 minutes.
In a bowl, gently toss the okra with the mayonnaise and Olive oil to coat, then add the Panko and stir to cover.
Pour covered okra onto hot pan, Bake for 15-25 minutes, or until tender and lightly brown, turning the okra halfway through baking. (Often I use a broiler pan and do not turn in the process).
Spicy Okra and Tomatoes
1 1/2 pounds okra
1 medium yellow or red onion
3 medium tomatoes
3 cloves garlic
1 Tablespoon vegetable oil
1 1/2 teaspoon chili powder
2 teaspoons cumin seeds
1 teaspoon turmeric
1/4 teaspoon cayenne (optional)
1/2 teaspoon fine sea salt, plus more to taste
1 tablespoon lemon juice
Trim off and discard the stem ends from the okra and cut the pods into 1/4- to 1/2-inch slices. Set the prepped okra aside.
Peel and thinly slice the onion; set it aside.
Chop the tomatoes, reserving their juices; peel and mince the garlic; set them both aside.
Heat the oil in a large frying pan or sauté pan over high heat. Once the oil is hot, add the chopped onions and cook, stirring frequently, until the onions start to brown, about 5 minutes.
Add the garlic and cook, stirring, until brightly fragrant, about 30 seconds.
Add the chili powder, cumin seeds, turmeric, and cayenne, if using, and cook, stirring as the spices sizzle, another 30 seconds.
Add the okra and stir to coat the pieces with the onion-spice mixture.
Add the tomatoes, any juices they’ve released, the salt, and 1/2 cup of water.
Stir to combine everything, and then cover. Reduce the heat to maintain a steady simmer.
Cook until the okra is tender and the flavors are well blended, 5 to 10 minutes.
Take off the heat. Stir in the lemon juice and add more salt to taste, if you like.
Serve the okra hot or warm.
Serves 4, each serving contains; Calories 109, Fat 3 g., Cholesterol 0 mg., Sodium 228 mg., Carbohydrates 19 g., Fiber 5 g., Protein 4 g.
Summer Shrimp and Okra Bowl
2 1/2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil, divided
2 tablespoons coarse yellow cornmeal
10 ounce fresh whole okra, halved lengthwise
1 large red bell pepper, halved
2 teaspoons honey
1 teaspoon salt-free Creole seasoning
8 ounces large shrimp, peeled and deveined
1 1/2 cups chopped tomato
1/2 cup sliced red onion
1/2 cup loosely packed fresh flat-leaf parsley leaves
1/4 cup thinly diagonally sliced celery
1 tablespoon red wine vinegar
3/4 teaspoon kosher salt
8 thin slices red Fresno chile
Preheat broiler to high with oven rack 6 inches from heat. Line a rimmed baking sheet with foil.
Combine 1 tablespoon oil, cornmeal, and okra in bowl. Place okra and bell pepper halves, skin side up, on prepared pan. Broil 10 minutes. Wrap bell pepper in foil; let stand 10 minutes. Peel and chop.
Line pan with foil. Combine honey, Creole seasoning, and shrimp in a bowl; add to pan. Broil 2 to 3 minutes on each side or until done.
Combine okra, bell pepper, shrimp mixture, tomato, and remaining ingredients in a bowl; toss. Serve over your choice of rice.
Serves 4, each serving contains; Calories 206, Fat 9 g., Cholesterol 71 mg., Sodium 465 mg., Carbohydrates 21 g., Fiber 5 g., Protein 11 g.
Corn and Okra Cajun Sauté
3 medium ears corn, husked
2 teaspoons extra-virgin olive oil
1 small onion, chopped
1 stalk celery, chopped
1 small green bell pepper, seeded and chopped
1 clove garlic, minced
1 large ripe tomato, seeded and chopped
1 cup okra, trimmed and cut into 1-inch lengths
½ teaspoon Cajun seasoning
½ cup reduced-sodium chicken broth
1 tablespoon chopped fresh parsley
Salt & freshly ground pepper, to taste
Cut corn from cobs. You should have about 2 cups.
Heat oil in a nonstick skillet over medium heat. Add onion, celery, bell pepper and garlic; cook, stirring, until the vegetables soften and begin to brown, 5 to 7 minutes. Add tomato, okra, Cajun seasoning and the corn; cook, stirring frequently, for 10 minutes.
Add broth. Reduce heat to low and simmer, stirring occasionally, until the corn is tender, about 10 minutes more. Stir in parsley and season with salt and pepper. Serve hot.
Serves 6, each serving contains; Calories 77, Fat 2 g., Cholesterol 0 mg., Sodium 156 mg., Carbohydrates 14 g., Fiber 2 g., Protein 3 g.
Oven Fried Shrimp and Okra Po’boys
2 tablespoons finely chopped green onions
1 tablespoon drained chopped capers
2 tablespoons canola mayonnaise
1 1/2 teaspoons fresh lemon juice
1 teaspoon Creole mustard
1/8 teaspoon ground red pepper
1 small garlic clove, grated
15 small okra pods, trimmed and halved lengthwise (about 6 ounces)
1/2 cup fat-free buttermilk, divided
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt, divided
10 ounce medium shrimp, peeled and deveined
1 tablespoon all-purpose flour
2/3 cup yellow cornmeal
1 1/2 teaspoons salt-free Cajun/Creole seasoning
3 tablespoons canola oil
4 top-split hot dog buns, toasted
1/2 cup thinly sliced iceberg lettuce
1 medium tomato, cut in half lengthwise and thinly sliced
Place a jelly-roll pan in oven. Preheat oven to 450° (leave pan in oven).
Combine first 7 ingredients in a small bowl, stirring well. Chill until ready to use.
Combine okra and 2 tablespoons buttermilk; toss to coat. Sprinkle with 1/4 teaspoon salt; toss to coat.
Place shrimp in a medium bowl. Sprinkle with flour; toss well to coat. Drizzle with remaining 6 tablespoons buttermilk, and sprinkle with remaining 1/4 teaspoon salt; toss to coat. Drain okra and shrimp through a sieve; discard liquid.
Combine cornmeal and Cajun/Creole seasoning in a large zip-top plastic bag. Add okra and shrimp; seal bag, and shake well to coat.
Carefully remove pan from oven; drizzle with oil, tilting pan to spread oil. Remove shrimp and okra from cornmeal, shaking off excess; arrange in a single layer on pan. Bake at 450° for 5 minutes; carefully stir and turn over. Bake 4 minutes or until done.
Spread about 1 tablespoon rémoulade on one side of hot dog buns; divide lettuce and tomato evenly among buns. Divide shrimp mixture evenly among buns.
Serves 4, each serving contains; Calories 396, Fat 15 g., Cholesterol 90 mg., Sodium 745 mg., Carbohydrates 46 g., Fiber 4 g., Protein 18 g.