Add a little green to your diet with this healthy okra recipe

Robin McDaniel
If your garden is overflowing with okra, try this healthy version of baked okra.

Photo by Robin McDaniel

If your garden is overflowing with okra, try this healthy version of baked okra.

The good, green earth has given a bounty to gardeners who planted okra this year. My father has been “keeping the kids in okra” for weeks now, and, as always, I am glad to get anything fresh from the garden.

But, let’s face it, most of us take a little of the healthy shine off Mother Nature’s bounty when we dredge it in cornmeal and fry it. Yum!

My sister Gail has a friend who works in the Emergency Room at Blount Memorial Hospital who has a good recipe for baked okra. Rob and Sherry Kaniper were willing to share this recipe with In the Kitchen readers, and we really enjoyed it.

I am also including the “traditional” recipe for fried okra, but do try Rob and Sherry’s recipe. I think you will like it.

If you have an abundance of okra, here is a hint from Gail on a way to prepare ready-to-fry okra for the winter. After you have dipped the okra in buttermilk and coated it with the meal/flour mixture, place the unfried okra in a single lay on a cookie sheet. Place in the freezer for about 1 hour. Remove, place in airtight freezer bags. This winter, heat the oil and cook the okra in oil until it is a golden brown.

Rob and Sherry Kaniper’s Baked Okra

15 to 20 small to medium whole okra pods

2 to 3 tablespoons olive oil

2 cloves garlic minced

1 tsp. Kosher salt

1/2 tsp. pepper

Wash and pat dry okra. Do not cut off the ends. Combine all ingredients in gallon size plastic bag or a large bowl. Toss to coat all the okra pods.

Place okra single layer on a cookie sheet and bake 10 to 12 minutes in a preheated 400-degree oven. This recipe also works great in the smaller toaster ovens.

Fried Okra

2 lbs. fresh okra, washed and sliced about 1/2 inch thick

1/2 cup cornmeal

1 cup all-purpose flour

1 tsp. salt

1/2 tsp. pepper

1/2 cup buttermilk

Oil for frying

Heat oil in a large, heavy-bottomed skillet to about 350 degrees. The amount of oil depends on the size of your skillet. Use only enough oil to fill the skillet half way.

In a medium bowl, combine cornmeal, flour, salt and pepper. Dip okra in buttermilk and then dredge in the cornmeal-flour mixture to coat well.

Add okra to hot oil in batches, and cook until golden brown.

Remove from oil and drain on paper towels. Serve immediately.

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