Although fried okra serves as a tried-and-true staple in Southern cuisine, this versatile vegetable lends itself to dishes as diverse as salads, gumbos, soups and pickled treats. Apart from its distinctly gummy texture and zucchini-like taste, okra is rich in nutrients including folate, B6 and calcium. Oven roasting okra is a savory and health-friendly alternative to frying the veggie -- and its takes a whole lot less effort to prepare. Unlike fried okra, roasted okra reduces the “slime” factor and lends the dish a satisfying crunch.
Preheat your oven to 400 or 450 degrees Fahrenheit. Larger pieces of okra require higher heat.
Wash the okra thoroughly by running it under cool water and scrubbing the skin with the pads of your fingers. Pat the okra dry with a clean kitchen towel; the okra should not be wet while cooking.
Slice the stems off the okra and cut it into chip-like slices or slivers. If you prefer, you can cook the okra whole instead.
Mix a bit of oil and, if you like, a few dashes of salt and pepper in a bowl. Toss the okra slices in the oil until they're lightly coated. Place them evenly on a baking sheet.
Pre-season the okra before roasting. Recommended seasonings for this dish include garlic powder, thyme, smoked paprika or even brown sugar, but feel free to experiment with your favorites.
Cook for about 10 to 15 minutes per sheet of okra, turning the pieces about halfway through. The okra should have a crisp, very slightly browned exterior with a tender interior. Serve the okra while it's hot.
- Southern Living: Our 10 Best Okra Recipes
- Mastering the Art of Southern Cooking: Nathalie Dupree, Cynthia Graubart
- United States Department of Agriculture: National Nutrient Database: Okra
- Oven-roasted okra chips or crisps make for an excellent appetizer, especially appropriate when served before a summery Southern-style meal or comfort food dishes.
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