Oh my, it’s okra Season! Okra gets such a bad wrap as the slimy green veggie with the big weird seeds. It’s been condemned to live most of its life as a second fiddle to treatments such as gumbos and stews where its strange sticky qualities will go unnoticed. But I think that’s a crying shame, because with the proper treatment, fresh baked okra can get a standing ovation (and an empty bowl) all on its own! And nobody will even know they’ve just eaten a serious power punch of nutrition!
Okra is FULL of vitamins and minerals, especially vitamin C, A, K, Folate, Niacin, Thiamin, B6, magnesium, manganese, carotene, as well as lutein and zeazanthin [crucial for eye health]. It contains polysaccharides that improve blood circulation. It contains numerous antioxidants such as epicatechin, catechin, rutin, procyanidin B1 and B2 and quercetin which help the body prevent damage from oxidative stress and environmental factors. And what about that gooey liquid that gives it such a bad wrap? Surprise, that’s the best part! The gel-like fiber (mucilage) soothes and coats the intestines, and as I’ve discussed HERE a healthy gut is crucial for overall health. This is the same stuff found in aloe vera and it’s SUPER healing.
One note, if you have a sensitivity to nightshades (such as tomatoes, potatoes, eggplant, peppers) that irritates an autoimmune issue, joint pain, arthritic tendencies or other inflammation, it may be best to avoid okra. While technically not a nightshade, it does possess the same compound, solanine, responsible for the irritation. Know your body!
But it’s so slimy, isn’t it? Not if you handle it correctly. The key to avoiding a slimy end-product is to keep the okra DRY as much as possible while you’re preparing it. After you wash it, give it a good long time to dry, and maybe help it out with a pat down with a dish towel. If you keep the moisture away, the gel won’t seep out and you end up with an amazing crispy outside with a soft chewy center. Don’t believe me, give it a try!
- 1 lb Okra
- 2 TB coconut oil
- Salt, pepper, garlic powder to taste
Preheat the oven to 450 degrees. Wash and thoroughly dry the okra. Once dried, roughly chop okra and toss with coconut oil and seasoning. Spread out on a baking sheet and roast for 25 minutes, stirring the mix once about halfway through. Serve immediately and enjoy!
I last served this with stewed collard greens and slow roasted chicken. What’s your favorite food combination with fresh okra?