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Okra–the Amazing, Edible Seed Pod

Okra is synonymous with Southern cooking.  It is often fried or used in the popular Southern dish, gumbo.  What is so interesting about okra, is the fact it is actually a seed pod.  And, these seed pods are quite good for you–okra is an excellent source of vitamin C, a good source of magnesium and fiber, and it’s fat free, cholesterol free, and very low in sodium.  Plus, one serving of okra (7 pods) has only 25 calories!

 

okra
Courtesy of Fruits & Veggies–More Matters

 

Now that you know how beneficial okra is, start adding it to your meals.  A popular dish is fried okra, but that will add unnecessary fat and calories to this healthy veggie.  So, I’ve collected some delicious recipes that you can feel good about.  Okra and Tomatoes is a popular Southern dish as these two veggies go together perfectly.  This recipe calls for you to cook a little bacon and then set the bacon aside.  In the drippings, cook onion and celery until soft.  Add stewed tomatoes, chicken broth, sliced okra, garlic salt, Tabasco sauce, and pepper.  Simmer for 25 minutes and crumble in bacon right before serving.  You can serve this dish as a side or over rice as a main entrée.

 

okra-and-tomatoes-27
Courtesy of Spicy Southern Kitchen

 

Okra Pilaf, or otherwise known as “Limpin Susan” is Southern staple from South Carolina.  Bacon is fried and removed.  Then, onion and green bell pepper are cooked for a few minutes.  Add in sliced okra, white rice, salt, and cayenne pepper.  Stir fry for one minute and add in chicken broth, cover, and cook about 20 minutes until the rice is done.  Fluff the rice, add the bacon back in, and serve.

 

okra-pilau-horiz-a-1600
Courtesy of Simply Recipes

 

Crunchy Oven Fried Okra is a healthier version of the traditional favorite.  The coating is made with cornmeal, Panko breadcrumbs, salt, pepper, and Parmesan cheese.  Simply coat your sliced okra with beaten egg and then toss in the breadcrumb mixture.  You’ll place on a baking sheet that is coated lightly in oil and bake at 425 degrees for 15-20 minutes, stirring the okra halfway through.

 

oven fried okra
Life Love and Good Food

 

Check back next week for some delicious (and lighter) pasta salad recipes.

 

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