Okra is also known as ladies’ fingers or gumbo. It is a warm-season plant that can be used for pickling, soups and stews, canning, and more.
Okra is unique in that its juices can thicken soups and sauces. Its skin has a unique soft texture, similar to peach fuzz. Do not wash okra until you are about to cook it, as it must remain dry. Use okra within 3-4 days to ensure the best quality (1).
When okra is cooked in small pieces, it can produce a distinct ‘slimy’ texture. If you do not prefer this texture, okra can be cooked whole. Another option is to soak the okra in vinegar before cooking it, making sure that the okra is completely dried off before using.
Okra is healthful vegetable, and it is a source of folate, vitamin K, and fiber. The seeds of okra have been found to have anti-fatigue components, as well as high levels of antioxidants (2).
Fried okra is an essential Southern tradition, and this spin on fried okra cuts back on the fat content. This recipe produces crispy, crunchy, spicy ‘fried’ okra and cauliflower, as well as a savory and rich dipping sauce.
Look for okra at your local farmer’s markets this fall.
- 12 whole okra pods
- ½ Cauliflower head
- ¼ cup cornmeal
- ¼ cup flour
- 1 Tablespoon Cajun seasoning
- ½ cup milk of choice
- Edible flowers, for garnish
- Roasted garlic tomato sauce
- 1 large tomato, diced
- 1 head of garlic
- 1 tsp olive oil
- Pinch of salt
- Preheat the oven to 425 degrees F. Slice the top of the garlic head off, and drizzle with olive oil and sprinkle with salt. Wrap in foil and place in the oven. Roast for 30 minutes.
- Mix the cornmeal, flour, and Cajun seasoning. If desired, you can adjust the level of Cajun seasoning to your preference of spiciness. Mix dry ingredients well, and then add the milk.
- Cut the cauliflower into bite sized florets.
- Dip the cauliflower and okra into the batter. Allow the excess batter to drip off completely. Place on a piece of parchment paper for 3 minutes, allowing more of the batter to drip off. The oven fried okra and cauliflower will have flat bottomed batter without this step.
- Place the cauliflower and okra on a piece of parchment paper on a baking sheet.
- Place in the oven and roast for 15 minutes.
- Turn and allow to roast for another 10 minutes, checking to make sure the smaller pieces are not overcooking.
- Add the diced tomato to a small saucepan over medium heat. Saute until the tomatoes cook down and create a chunky sauce. Add the roasted garlic and stir or mash well until you have achieved your desired consistency. Sprinkle with salt.
- Calories: 183
- Carbohydrates: 35 grams
- Fiber: 9 grams
- Protein: 9.5 grams
- Fat: 3 grams
- LD MWRDN. Okra: Benefits, nutritional content, and recipe tips. Medical News Today. https://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/311977.php.
- Xia F, Zhong Y, Li M, et al. Antioxidant and Anti-Fatigue Constituents of Okra. Nutrients. 2015;7(10):8846-8858. doi:10.3390/nu7105435
- This recipe adapted from: Voisin S. Oil-Free Gluten-Free Oven-Fried Okra | Recipe from FatFree Vegan Kitchen. FatFree Vegan Kitchen. https://blog.fatfreevegan.com/2015/07/oil-free-gluten-free-oven-fried-okra.html.