Healthy and fresh okra recipes can be hard to come by. Growing up in Tennessee, I thought the only way to eat okra was breaded and deep fried.
Fortunately for my health, I’ve discovered Greek Okra Stew (thanks to my husband’s heritage).
Greek cooks often prepare vegetables in the “yiahni” style, which means braised in olive oil and onions and simmered until done in a tomato sauce base. This technique yields delicious results, and it’s pretty simple to pull off. It’s versatile too — you can also use the recipe below for green beans, cauliflower, eggplant, or zucchini. But okra “yiahni” really shines, so let me give you a few tips for picking the best okra.
According to The Grecian Plate (1984), you should select tender, meaty medium-sized okra pods that are light green in color.
To prep them for cooking, trim off the stems, being careful not to expose the seeds. Cover them with water, 1/4 cup of vinegar, and 1 teaspoon of salt. Let them stand for 15 minutes, then drain and rinse thoroughly with cold water. This soaking process helps take away some of okra’s natural sliminess.
Greek Okra Stew
Based on Souvlaki For the Soul’s Recipe for Braised Okra.
- 1 pound fresh okra (whole, and prepped as instructed above)
- 1/4 cup olive oil
- 1 onion finely chopped
- 1 pound fresh pureed tomatoes or a can of pureed tomatoes
- Handful of chopped, fresh flat leaf parsley
- Salt and pepper to taste
Method: Heat the oil in a heavy bottomed sauce pan and saute the onion over a low heat until it softens.
Add the okra and toss in the olive oil and onions for about 5 minutes.
Add the tomatoes and parsley, and season with salt and pepper to taste.
Bring the mixture to a boil on med-high heat, and then lower the heat and simmer for approximately 20-30 minutes. Be careful not to leave the heat too high, or the okra pods may bust.
Once the okra is tender, serve immediately with crusty bread.