May is here! Finally, spring is making itself known and I can get the gardens up and running. I love this time of year. It feels so good to be outside more often and I get really excited planning for the vegetables I'll be planting in the garden. I can't wait for later in the summer and early fall to walk outside to the garden to pick fresh produce that I can cook with right away.
While I will not be growing okra in the garden this year, the nice weather made me start thinking about this unusual vegetable. Why do I call it unusual? It looks odd and can potentially be slimy if not cooked right. In fact, the slime in okra is a great thing for cooks because it is a natural thickener for soups and stews. If you've ever had a gumbo, more than likely okra is in it. Okra is also a very nutritious vegetable.
According to Organic Facts, okra is rich in vitamin A, B, C, E and K. It is also a good source of calcium, iron, magnesium, potassium and zinc. Making this tiny vegetable pod a healthy option for almost any soup, stew and casserole. Now, when I was a little girl, my grandmother would make fried okra as a side dish. And that is OK too. It is a nice treat when fried and it is not slimy when cooked that way.
But I try to stay away from fried foods, in general, so I looked for recipes that really uses the natural thickening of okra for it's advantage. I also made sure to include a vegetarian recipe in the below to support anyone who is looking for alternatives for meat-free meals. The great thing about this collection of recipes below is that they can be made on the weekend and simply reheated during busy weeknights. I love that! Anything that makes my life easier during the week is a bonus.
Let's get to the recipes! If you try any of the below, don’t forget to tag me on Instagram as @heatherleehurst and use the #heathershealthhabits hashtag. I love seeing your takes on the recipes I share! Also, if you'd like more free recipes and healthy living tips, follow my blog on Bloglovin.
Stewed Okra & Tomatoes by Budget Bytes. This recipe is so simple and is a great side dish for any chicken dish or even a meatloaf. Since the okra is simmered with the tomatoes, the natural thickening will occur and you can stop cooking it once the thickness you prefer is achieved. This recipe can be made vegetarian by substituting the beef bullion with a vegetable bullion. Click here for the recipe.
Creole Chicken Okra by African Bites. This is a great recipe that can be made over the weekend and reheated on a busy weeknight. The bonus is left-overs for lunch! Healthy and easy, what more can you ask for? Click here for the recipe.
Oven Fried Okra Recipe by Ketogasm. I grew up eating fried okra but it wasn't as healthy as the recipe I am sharing with you today! What I love about this is it uses almond flour and cooks in the oven. This is the best of both worlds - low carb and crispy breaded okra. Click here for the recipe.
Shrimp, Andouille and Okra Gumbo by Nosh On It. This recipe takes time so it has to be something you are committed to cooking. A great Sunday night, one pot meal, there are plenty of veggies and it can be served over rice. The effort will be worth it! Click here for the recipe.
Red Lentil and Okra Soup by Appetite for China. This soup is perfect for lunch or dinner. It is a little time consuming because you have to cook the lentils. Serve with a salad and crusty bread. Click here for the recipe.
I hope this post on okra encourages you to try cooking with it. It can be found fresh in the month of May but also frozen in the grocery store frozen vegetable aisle. If you try any of the above, let me know what you thought! If you'd like more free recipes and healthy living tips, follow my blog on Bloglovin.