I’ve been keeping a secret from you.
For months, I’ve been working in the Melicious Test Kitchen™ to develop an okra recipe worth sharing. Our CSA has kept us in okra almost every week since we started getting their organic deliveries, and I’ve been trying to create a recipe that’s spicy, crispy, and makes me forget I’m eating okra.
I wanted to move away from the stewed-cajun-tomato thing, and although cornmeal-encrusted-and-fried okra is delicious – especially when dipped in creamy ranch dressing – that’s a triple-whammy of “no” for me. (And for you, too, because I love you.)
I have a cache of photos that I took in vain hopes that a recipe would pan out. Sadly, I haven’t shared that photographic evidence with y’all because it documented okra FAIL.
I present: Okra That Doesn’t Taste Much Like Okra, a.k.a., Oven-Fried Okra
Now, a few words about that slime. The term for the slime is mucilage, and it’s found in all plants to some degree. Back in the day, marshmallows were made from the extract of the mucilaginous root of the marshmallow plant (mmmm… mucilaginous!); that slime was also used as a cough suppressant. If you minimize how much you handle the okra, you also minimize the sliminess. So maybe just follow the directions below and stop being such a baby.
1 pound raw okra, sliced into 1/2-inch coins
1/4 cup almond flour
2 teaspoons ground cumin
2 teaspoons chili powder
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon coarse (granulated) garlic powder
2 teaspoons melted ghee or coconut oil
Bonus: a batch of homemade paleo ranch dressing for dipping
1. Preheat the oven to 400F.
2. In a small bowl, mix the almond flour, cumin, chili powder, salt, and garlic powder.
4. Toss okra with melted fat in a large bowl, then the sprinkle spice/almond blend over the top and mix well.
5. Transfer to a baking sheet and spread into a single layer. (I originally wrote “cookie sheet” in that sentence. When was the last time I used my BAKING sheet for cookies?! That damn thing should be called a veggie sheet. Anyway….) Pop into the preheated oven and bake for 20-25 minutes. The okra should be starting to brown but not too shrunken and dehydrated.
6. Eat with your fingers like popcorn! The okra doesn’t quite get crunchy, but the oil+almond combo plus the high heat of the oven makes it tender-crisp and flavorful.
A few words on leftovers:
After being refrigerated, there’s not much crunch left. However, I threw a leftover serving of okra in the bottom of my bowl of chili and… delicious! It added an extra serving of veggies to the chili, along with a nice, chewy texture. I think leftovers would also be yummy sautéed with ground beef, elk, lamb, or bison.
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