I was very brave at the grocery store today. I bought something that I have been wanting to try for awhile now but have always been too scared. I pulled one of those walk by and slowly walk backwards moves when I spotted the okra. I had it in my hands for a minute or two before I decided to toss it in my cart and run to the check out before I changed my mind. New apartment, new food, right?
I was first introduced to okra by my colleague who swears by the stuff. I decided to google ‘okra recipes’ to see how I could use it – and I was amazed by the recipes I found! Okra looked delicious… but I was put off by the many nay-sayers who boycotted it because of the slime inside the little pods. I then got scared of okra and didn’t think it was worth my time. When I saw it in the grocery store today I was reminded of all those delicious recipes…the okra was coming home with me.
Okra has so many health benefits. It is packed with fiber, vitamin C, and folate content. It is also high in calcium and antioxidants. AND it is great for your digestion! I knew in order for me to use the okra I had to tackle the slime dilemma. Apparently if you don’t dice the okra and you soak it in vinegar first, the slime stays away. I was hesitant .. but it worked! There’s a small (and I mean small) amount of slime but it didn’t bother me at all.
Below is a recipe for okra stew that will turn you into an okra believer. If this is your first time seeing a recipe with okra or you are like me and have always been curious about okra – try it! Run to the grocery store and get some now! Don’t put it off like I did! Do your digestive system some good and test drive okra.
Makes 4 servings
- 1 onion, diced
- 1 clove garlic, minced
- 1 tbsp olive oil
- 15-20 okra
- 1/2 cup cider vinegar
- 2 stalks celery, diced
- 2 mini sweet red peppers, diced
- 1 28 oz can diced tomatoes
- 1 can chickpeas, drained
- 1 cup vegetable broth
- 1 tsp chili flakes
- 1/2 tsp basil
- 1/2 tsp cayenne powder
- 1 tsp cilantro paste
- salt and pepper
1) Cut the stems off the okra and place in a large bowl. Sprinkle with salt and pour cider vinegar over okra. Toss to ensure each okra is covered. Let sit for 30 minutes, stirring every 10 minutes. After 30 minutes, drain vingar and rinse okra. Set aside.
2) In a large saucepan, add oil. Once hot add diced onion. Saute for 5-7 minutes or until onion is translucent. Add garlic, celery and red peppers. After about 3 minutes add diced tomatoes, chickpeas, and vegetable broth.
3) Add okra to pot with chili flakes, basil, cayenne pepper, cilantro paste, salt, and pepper. Turn heat to low and let simmer for 30 minutes or until okra is nice and tender.
4) Serve alone or with rice, quinoa, or couscous.