Okra Season is Here!
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Okra is beginning to show up at your local Farmers Market and roadside stands and when it is ripe and ready it is also quite abundant. Okra is either one of those vegetables that you love or you simply love to hate. Known for its scrubby texture when overcooked, okra is actually crunchy, crisp, and absolutely delicious when handled properly.
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.
Here are some unique and traditional okra recipes for ways to incorporate more of this warm-weather veggie into your healthy diet.
Crispy Easy Oven Fried Okra
(This one is my favorite way to cook okra, I often use an air fryer)
- 1 pound fresh okra pods, trimmed and cut into ¾-inch slices (about 3 cups)
- 2 tablespoons Olive oil
- 1 teaspoon Ranch dressing powder
- Salt to taste
- Pinch of cayenne pepper
- Preheat oven to 450º.
- Drizzle the okra with the Olive oil, Ranch powder, salt, and the pinch of cayenne.
- Spread the okra on a baking pan, bake 15 to 20 minutes, depending on how crunchy you like it.
Serves 4. Each serving contains Calories 106, Fat 7g, Protein 2g, Carbohydrate 9g, Fiber 4g, Sodium 8mg
Stewed Okra and Tomatoes
- 1 medium onion, chopped
- ⅓ cup chopped celery
- 2 cups of fresh tomatoes, diced or
- 1 can (14.5 ounces) diced tomatoes
- 1 can (14.5 ounces) roasted tomatoes
- ½ cup chicken broth
- 4 cups sliced fresh okra
- ¾ teaspoon seasoned salt
- 1 teaspoon Tabasco sauce
- ½ teaspoon garlic salt
- ½ teaspoon black pepper
- Cook bacon in a cast iron Dutch oven. Remove bacon and set aside.
- Add onion and celery to the bacon grease and cook until soft, about 7-8 minutes.
- Add tomatoes, water, okra, and seasonings. Cook 20-25 minutes, maintaining a simmer and stirring occasionally.
- Crumble bacon and stir in just before serving.
Serves 6. Each serving contains Calories 94.
Okra and Jalapeno Hushpuppies
- ¼ cup all-purpose flour
- ¼ cup stone ground corn meal
- ½ teaspoon kosher salt
- 2 cups sliced okra
- ½ medium jalapeno pepper, minced
- ¼ cup buttermilk
- 1 egg
- Add flour, corn meal and salt to a bowl and stir.
To flour mixture, add okra, onions and jalapeño pepper. Stir until vegetables are coated. Whisk buttermilk and egg. Pour over vegetable mixture. Stir until dry ingredients are wet.
- Add enough cooking oil to a large cast iron skillet for ½ inches deep and heat to 350 degrees.
- Drop a scant tablespoon of mixture into hot oil. Press flat with the back of the spoon. Don’t crowd in the pan. Work in batches.
- Cook for 3 to 5 minutes or until brown on one side. Flip and repeat. Remove and drain on wire rack. Sprinkle with coarse salt.
Louisiana Jambalaya Fried Rice
- 4 teaspoons paprika powder
- ½ teaspoon black pepper
- 1 teaspoon dried oregano
- 1 teaspoon dried thyme
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 4 tablespoons vegetable oil
- 4 cloves garlic, minced
- 1 jalapeno pepper, diced, optional
- 1 white onion, finely chopped
- 2 stalks celery, chopped
- 4 cups sliced okra
- 1 tablespoon light soy sauce
- 2 cups sliced kielbasa sausage, I use the turkey
- 6 cups cooked rice
- 3 eggs, beaten, optional
- Mix paprika powder, black pepper, oregano, thyme, and salt in a small bowl.
- Prepare and cut veggies and sausage.
- Heat 1½ tablespoons oil in a large skillet (see footnote 1) over medium high heat until warm. Add garlic, onion, serrano pepper (skip it for a less spicy dish), and celery. Stir and cook until the onion turns transparent, 2 to 3 minutes. Add okra and half of the paprika mixture. Cook another 2 minutes, until the okra turns soft.
- Move all the veggies to one side of the skillet and spread rice to the other side. Spread the rest of the paprika mixture on the rice. Stir to mix the rice with the spices on one side of the pan, without stirring the veggies.
- Mix the rice with the vegetables. Swirl in soy sauce. Cook and stir for 1 minutes.
Move everything to one side of the skillet and add sausage to the other side. Cook sausage without mixing with the rice and veggies, for 1 minute.
- Mix everything. Cook and stir for another 1 minute. Move everything to one side of the skillet and add the remaining ½ tablespoon of oil to the other side. Pour the egg onto the oil and let it cook a few seconds until the bottom side is set. Cook and stir to coat the rice with egg, until the egg is cooked, 1 minute.
- Turn to lowest heat (or move the skillet to an unheated part of the stove if it is getting too hot).
- Taste the rice and sprinkle with more salt if necessary.
- Turn back to medium heat. Stir and cook for another 1 minute, until the rice and veggies are nicely crisped. Serve warm.
Fresh Okra and Corn Salsa
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 2 ears of fresh corn, kernels cut off
- 1 pound fresh okra, thinly sliced
- ½ sweet onion, chopped
- ½ cup chopped pickled jalapeno slices (less for less heat)
- 3 fresh plum tomatoes, or 2 medium fresh tomatoes of your choice, chopped
- 1 tablespoon lime juice
- ¼ teaspoon pepper
- Salt to taste
- ¼ cup fresh cilantro, chopped
- Heat oil over medium-high heat in a large nonstick skillet. Add corn and cook 2 minutes.
- Add okra and onion and cook for 3 to 4 more minutes.
- Remove from heat and stir in remaining ingredients.