Okra, okra, mo-mokra, banana fana, o-hokra… and so it goes. It may not be an easy to word to rhyme or insert into song, but there’s something magical about those delicious green pods. While they’re not quite as versatile as shrimp (as we learned from Bubba in Forrest Gump), okra can be fried, pickled, stewed, roasted, grilled, or eaten raw. I’ve also recently used frozen pods in smoothies as a thickener. Who would have thought??
For any recipe, or raw okra eating, you want to make sure you pick them at the right size. You’ll find great info on picking (or choosing at the farmers’ market) here. (Here’s a hint: pointer-finger sized is just about perfect!)
While coating and frying cut okra is a southern staple, it’s not always the fastest way to get this veggie on your weeknight dinner table (not to mention the clean-up and “fried” smell left lingering in the house). So what’s an easy way to get this veggie prepped and cooked with hardly any fuss and no constant monitoring? Oven roasting. I didn’t always think this was an option for okra. What about the slime? Will it get crisp? But as it turns out, my family loves oven roasted okra. In this version, the cumin provides a smoky flavor while the light seasoning of salt and pepper let this green jewel’s flavor shine through.
While it doesn’t have the same “crunch” as the fried variety, the true okra taste also isn’t overpowered by a thick coating. My husband would still prefer the classic fried variety every once in a while, but for me (and whoever is cleaning the kitchen) roasting can’t be beat.
Easy Oven Roasted Okra
- Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Wash your fresh okra pods and slice into 1/2 to 3/4 inch pieces. Spread okra onto a sheet pan in a single layer. Drizzle with olive oil and stir to coat.
- In a small dish, mix salt, pepper, garlic powder, and cumin (I love the hint of “smokiness” that this adds). Mix. Sprinkle over the top of cut okra.
- Place pan in preheated oven and roast for 15-20 minutes. You want the edges of the okra to be browned. Remove pan from oven and serve immediately.
For low-maintenance or busy cooks, this okra recipe is a winner. Our girly gardener, who loves all things fried and buttered, ate three helpings of this last week. I’m not going to complain… even though I would have liked to have had a few more myself.
I’d love to know about your favorite way to eat okra or what veggie you think tastes best roasted. Happy Gardening!