I’ve been keeping a secret from you.
For months, I’ve been working in the Melicious Test Kitchen™ to develop an okra recipe worth sharing. Greenling has kept us in okra almost every week since we started getting their organic deliveries, and I’ve been trying to create a recipe that’s spicy, crispy, and makes me forget I’m eating okra.
I wanted to move away from the stewed-cajun-tomato thing, and although cornmeal-encrusted-and-fried okra is delicious – especially when dipped in creamy ranch dressing – that’s a triple-whammy of “no” for me. (And for you, too, because I love you.)
I have a cache of photos that I took in vain hopes that a recipe would pan out. Sadly, I haven’t shared that photographic evidence with y’all because it documented okra FAIL.
I present: Okra That Doesn’t Taste Much Like Okra
Before you get too excited, this isn’t in the same league as the cauliflower fouscous pilaf or the calypso confetti cauliflower or the magic green beans, but if you find yourself staring down a pound or two of okra – or you really need to expand your vegetable horizons – you could do worse than this.
Now, a few words about that slime. The term for the slime is mucilage, and it’s found in all plants to some degree. Back in the day, marshmallows were made from the extract of the mucilaginous root of the marshmallow plant (mmmm… mucilaginous!); that slime was also used as a cough suppressant. Erika over at Eat Clean Live Strong says if you minimize how much you handle the okra, you also minimize the sliminess. I say, just follow the directions below and stop being such a baby.
Okra That Doesn’t Taste Much Like Okra
1 lb. raw okra, sliced into thin rounds
1 teaspoon salt
2 teaspoons cumin
2 teaspoons chili powder
a healthy sprinkle of garlic powder (about garlic powder)
1/2 oz. ground almonds
1 teaspoon olive oil
1. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees.
2. Slice okra into rounds. Enjoy the pretty star shape in an attempt to ignore the slime. Trust me: you’re an adult – you can get over the slime.
3. Mix remaining ingredients except olive oil and set aside.
4. Toss okra with olive oil in a large bowl, then the sprinkle spice/almond blend over the top and mix well.
5. Transfer to a baking sheet and spread into a single layer. (I originally wrote “cookie sheet” in that sentence. When was the last time I used my BAKING sheet for cookies?! That damn thing should be called a veggie sheet. Anyway….) Pop into the preheated oven and bake for 20-25 minutes. The okra should be starting to brown but not too shrunken and dehydrated.
6. Eat with your fingers like popcorn! The okra doesn’t quite get crunchy, but the oil+almond combo plus the high heat of the oven makes it tender-crisp and flavorful.
After being refrigerated, there’s not much crunch left. However, I threw a leftover serving of okra in the bottom of my bowl of chili and… delicious! It added an extra serving of veggies to the chili, along with a nice, chewy texture. I think leftovers would also be yummy sautéed with ground beef, elk, lamb, or bison.
I’m excited to once again join the food punk rockers on Fight Back Friday at Food Renegade.
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