Misunderstood Vegetable of the Week: 5 Ways to Enjoy Okra
Editor’s note: We love fresh food at A Healthier Michigan and spend a lot of time behind the scenes raving about a new recipe one of us has discovered for some unusual, maligned or little-used vegetable or another. We’ll be featuring some of them in the coming weeks, starting with today’s entry — okra.
Okra, as it is known in the United States, is a green, elongated lantern-shaped vegetable. It grows to be about 2 to 7 inches long and is fuzzy on the outside. It has a slimy, sticky inside with rows of seeds when cut open. It is of African descent and a part of the cotton family. Okra is also known as lady’s fingers or gumbo.
Okra is a great healthy food source, high in fiber, vitamin C and folic acid. It is low in calories and does not have any fat or cholesterol.
Okra Nutrition Facts
For ½ cup cooked and sliced okra:
- Calories = 25
- Dietary Fiber = 2 grams
- Protein = 1.5 grams
- Carbohydrates = 5.8 grams
- Vitamin A = 460 IU
- Vitamin C = 13 milligrams (mg)
- Folic acid = 36.5 micrograms
- Calcium = 50 mg
- Iron = 0.4 mg
- Potassium = 256 mg
- Magnesium = 46 mg
5 Okra Recipes
Okra is usually found in southern Creole cooking, but it is very versatile, with a mild flavor comparable to eggplant. Try these fun and different ways to prepare this wonderful vegetable:
- Roasted Okra — Shannon Paul shared this recipe with me. She expressed how roasting the okra took away the sliminess that you usually find with okra.
- Okra and Chickpea Tagine — A tagine refers to a Morroccan two-piece coned dish normally used to prepare this dish. But don’t fear, you don’t need one to make this awesome recipe. I have actually made this before because I love both okra and chickpeas. The flavor of this dish is perfect. Enjoy!
- Mediterranean Okra and Tomato Stew — Tomatoes and okra go perfectly together. You can even add a protein source or other vegetables to this, too.
- Okra, Avocado and Tomato Salad with Chili and Lime Juice — This is a simply fresh salad. The key here is to assemble and toss it right after you have cooked the okra. The lime helps minimize okra’s sliminess.
- For this last recipe, I have made it my own by mixing the following two recipes; sausage gumbo and shrimp and okra gumbo. My favorite thing about recipes is that you can use them as a guide and play with it until you have made your own delectable dish. I like to add other seafood to make it more of a seafood gumbo.
Do you have a favorite okra recipe? I hope that you learn to love okra as much as I do now.
Photo Credit: sassycrafter