Okra: the Under-Rated Veggie that Should Be On Your Plate Now! (Plus, Farmers’ Market Okra Pie Recipe)

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Okra: the Under-Rated Veggie that Should Be On Your Plate Now! (Plus, Farmers’ Market Okra Pie Recipe)

Lorimer Street KitchenOkra is definitely having a (well-deserved) moment. Frequently featured on menus and in farmer’s markets, Okra is available year round in some parts of the southern U.S. (The rest of us have to take advantage of the late summer and early fall harvests to enjoy this veggie!) Still, this green veggie lands on a lot of hate lists—even though it’s got such a delicious flavor. Why? The most frequent complaint is that it’s slimy. But when prepared right, it doesn’t have to be!

So why is okra so great? Well for starters, it’s high in fiber and low in calories (about 33 for a whole cup!). Okra is also a great natural source of vitamins A, B, C, and K, and folate. That’s a lot of healthy packed into one little pod! Plus, the “sliminess” has benefits, too! The mucilage and fiber found in okra aids digestion, by helping adjust blood sugar and regulating its absorption in the small intestine. This ability to normalize blood sugar has been shown to be beneficial to those with diabetes.

So how can you make this green veggie more palatable? Two words: dryness and acidity.

Contact with water is what brings out the coating on okra (which makes sense for digestion), so before you prepare your okra—especially if it’s standing alone in a recipe—be sure to thoroughly dry it first. Acidity is also great for minimizing okra’s slick texture, so rubbing it with lemon, lime, or vinegar will help, too.

Knowing how to reduce the slime lets you enjoy okra on its own. For a quick, crunchy snack try drying the okra, and rubbing it with a little vinegar. Slice it in half, sprinkle it with salt and pepper, and bake it at 350 degrees until crispy.

Okra works well in sauces, too—and gumbo just wouldn’t be the same without it! To minimize that okra texture in sauce, simply add tomatoes! The acidity from the juice of the tomatoes gives the okra a dryer texture, adding a delicious crunch to your dish.

My favorite way to prepare okra is in a savory pie! (Scroll down past the photo for the recipe!) It combines so many of my favorite farmers’ market veggies. The tomato minimizes any sliminess, while the melted cheese adds a decadent creaminess. And since it’s packed with veggies (yay, okra!), it keeps an otherwise indulgent dinner healthy.

myfitnesspal farmers market pie

Are you an okra fan? What’s your favorite way to prepare it? Share in the comments below!

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  • Brian

    I love okra, especially for breakfast with eggs, potatoes, and onion all thrown in the skillet and then some hot sauce to top it off.

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  • Lisa Wethington

    I just slice the okra and sautee in a pan using olive oil cooking spray until all the slime is gone! Add a little salt and pepper and it is delicious! I cook alot at one time and the left overs can be eaten alone, its great with a fresh sliced cucumbers and tomatoes, or can be added to soups.

  • MarthaRN

    I can it like pickles. Forget about the term slimy, it’s just a natural part of a delicious vegtable!

  • Slane

    Okra is incredibly carcinogenic. Avoid it like ebola!

    • BeagleFan

      Do you have any references? Or are you just trolling?

  • Daiyui

    We, Nigerians, actually prefer our okra slimy. It goes well with many of our dishes. 😉 I may try it your way for my husband who is American.

  • Emz

    In Thai curry. It thickens the sauce.

  • Dali

    In Malawi too we enjoy it for its slimeliness. But the ideas in this article are worth trying out. It’s a very popular veggie here

  • Shizam

    According to the Greek side of the family, if you trim the stalk without actually cutting through into the veg itself, that stops the slime. Personally, too lazy to do that. Just chop ends off and chuck in with chicken, pots, toms, garlic, lemon and honey and herbs. Slow roast. It’s yum.

  • Olivia

    what can you compare the taste to?

  • Salty

    Been enjoying okra all summer and have been making the same way this season- grilled. I have a long handled perforated grill pan. After rinsing and drying I sprinkle on a little olive oil and toss with salt and pepper. Have also experimented with the addition of thyme, oregano and celery salt. Anyway, onto the grill they go while getting tossed about over the fire. I’ve added small peppers to the mix as well with super delicious results. Also good as cold leftovers.

  • Ruby Gillock

    Slane your high! Okra is very good for one for another it has nothing but benefits for the body! My favorite way is fry up two slices of bacon till soft add sliced okra sprinkle with flour cornmeal salt and pepper. Fry till crispy! Wa! La! 1 skillet meal for my husband and I!.

  • Donna Legg

    My favorite way to enjoy okra is on the grill. Wash and dry the whole okra. Brush with a bit of oil, lay on hot grill and roast. Sprinkle with coarse salt and enjoy!