Prior to this week, I had never bought or cooked with okra before.
But Kaitlyn presented me with a challenge…and I’m always up for a challenge!
Prior to cooking okra for the first time this week, I knew two things about it:
1) It’s my dad’s least favorite vegetable.
2) Stone Mill Bakery uses it in their ridiculously awesome vegetable soup (which is worth the splurge if you’re looking for a delicious lunch in Baltimore).
After being given the challenge of coming up with simple, delicious and healthy okra recipes, I did some research to learn more about this lesser known veggie.
Generally, when I find out just how good a particular food is for my body, I tend to be a lot more eager to try it.
Check out this blurb about all of the health benefits of okra from another blogger, Nourished & Grounded:
Okra is FULL of vitamins and minerals, especially vitamin C, A, K, Folate, Niacin, Thiamin, B6, magnesium, manganese, carotene, as well as lutein and zeazanthin [crucial for eye health]. It contains polysaccharides that improve blood circulation. It contains numerous antioxidants such as epicatechin, catechin, rutin, procyanidin B1 and B2 and quercetin which help the body prevent damage from oxidative stress and environmental factors. And what about that gooey liquid that gives it such a bad wrap? Surprise, that’s the best part! The gel-like fiber (mucilage) soothes and coats the intestines, and a healthy gut is crucial for overall health. This is the same stuff found in aloe vera and it’s SUPER healing.
So, now that we’re sold on WHY we should eat okra, let’s talk about how to cook it.
One of the key comments I kept finding online and in response to my Facebook post about the okra bites, was the tendency for okra to be “slimy.”
Unless you’re 5 years old, sliminess isn’t usually something you’re looking for in food.
The key to making okra “un-slimy”?
My favorite way to make just about any other vegetable is to roast it, so that’s what I did with the okra. Prep time is under 5 minutes, and these little okra bites were ready in about 20 minutes!
Even after I tried them and approved of their crunchy texture, mild flavor, and pleasant “pop” from the edible seeds, I wasn’t 100% sure my husband would like them.
To my surprise (and satisfaction!) he did 🙂
That makes these crispy little bites wife-tested and hubby-approved. I bet your kids will like them, too!
Crispy Baked Okra Bites
- 1/2 pound okra, chopped into 1/2 inch discs (about 18 pods) – cut off the top and bottom stems
- 1-2 tablespoons coconut oil, melted
- 1/2 teaspoon sea salt, or to taste
- 1/4 teaspoon black pepper, or to taste
**You can use any combination of spices you like on these. They taste great with just salt and pepper if you want to keep it simple, or try one of my favorite variations below:
Garlic Version: Add 1 teaspoon garlic powder
Smokra Version: Add 1 teaspoon smoked paprika (also called “smoked sweet paprika” – This spice is AWESOME on everything from roasted veggies to soups to popcorn. Add it to your grocery list!).
- Preheat oven to 450F.
- Toss okra with coconut oil and spices and spread out in a single layer on a foil-lined baking sheet.
- Roast for 20 minutes, stirring halfway through. Cook longer to crisp them up even more!
- Serve immediately.