Misunderstood Vegetable of the Week: 5 Ways to Enjoy Okra

Registered Dietician

| 3 min read

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:
  1. Roasted OkraShannon Paul shared this recipe with me. She expressed how roasting the okra took away the sliminess that you usually find with okra.
  1. 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!
  1. Mediterranean Okra and Tomato Stew — Tomatoes and okra go perfectly together. You can even add a protein source or other vegetables to this, too.
  1. 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.
  1. 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

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