Being a southerner means that most of us grew up eating very similar things,
in particular when it comes to vegetables and preparation of food. Most of the United States thinks all southerners fry everything and are overweight and unhealthy. I won’t argue their point because we know in some cases this is probably more accurate than not. What I will argue is that many of the comfort foods we grew up eating can be made in a healthier way without compromising taste. Take okra for instance.
Now I know, I know. Some of you just made that face. You know the one. “Eeooww, gross, okra!” Yes, it can be slimy. Yes boiling it is the worst preparation ever and I would never encourage someone to give okra a chance using that cooking method. BUT…DO give this okra flip a chance, okay? I realize you have probably had some poor okra experiences that made you turn your back on the little okra pod but I promise this flip will change your mind. Will you trust me to give it a try??
Apparently, the origin of okra is heavily debated. Many say the West African regions first gave us okra but many also argue South Asian and Ethiopia was the home place. One thing is for certain; it’s been around a long time and grows best in warmer climates and explains why the south has always enjoyed a friendship. Did you also know in some areas of the world, the Philippines being one, call okra lady fingers?? I did not know this until researching for this post.
My Dad planted okra in his garden and Mother made it the way most of us grew up eating it – rolled in cornmeal and flour and fried. It truly is the best way to eat it BUT frying is so messy and yes, unhealthy, so I jumped on the idea of roasting it in the oven. Any vegetable roasted becomes the better version of itself and okra is no exception. It’s like little spears of savory candy. Like a Lays™ potato chip, you can’t eat just one.
Food Flippers did not invent this flip. We just learned about it several years ago and have been using it every spring and summer while okra is in season. We even grow okra in our personal little vegetable garden. What doesn’t get pickled, gets roasted. (Spicy pickled okra is a winner too…another blog!)
The great thing about this recipe is the ease of preparation and you can choose the seasoning of your choice. I typically use Tony’s or Cavender’s Greek seasoning but you can use almost anything that you like.
So what are you going to do? Give okra another go, right???? C’mon….I would not lead you astray. Okra-dokey??
The Recipe: Roasted Okra
2-3 lbs washed and trimmed, fresh okra
1 t salt
1 t pepper
EVOO for drizzling
Seasoning of your choice – Tony’s, Cavender’s Greek, Lemon Pepper, Cajun, Garlic and Herb, whatever
- Preheat oven to 425.
- Line baking sheets with parchment paper.
- Wash okra thoroughly. Trim tops off and discard. Cut pod in half.
- Drizzle okra with olive oil. Sprinkle over salt, pepper and seasoning of your choice. Toss okra until fully coated with seasoning and oil.
- Place cut side down on parchment lined baking sheet. Do not overcrowd, making sure there is room between each pod. I tend to use two to three baking sheets depending on amount of okra I’m roasting.
- Place in pre-heated 425 degree oven for about 30-40 minutes. Turn okra over once about half way between cooking time. When done okra will be a little crispy and definitely NO slime in sight!
This is great with a dipping sauce as an appetizer or as a side dish for a complete meal, however we love this so much we tend to eat it right by itself!