Considered to be too slimy to be palatable by many, okra can actually be quite tasty when prepared in certain ways, and it’s definitely good for you. Like plantains, okra is a healthy carb; and it doesn't hurt that it's rich in fiber.
Livestrong confirms that okra is also rich in vitamin C, folic acid (a B vitamin), potassium and magnesium. And if you’re looking to get fit, Livestrong explains that “potassium in foods like okra is used to build muscle and break down carbs into energy, [and] magnesium [assists] with the contraction and relaxation of your muscles” — which is nice.
What’s not so nice is the way in which misinformation about a vegetable’s potential benefits proliferates. Back in January, a “miracle cure” for diabetes began making the rounds on various social media sites and chain emails. Cut the ends off a few okra slices, it was claimed, soak them overnight in water, drink the water the following morning, and say good-bye to insulin shots and diabetes.
That’s pretty reckless advice, even if it is well-intentioned, and bad science to boot. But that’s the thing about misinformation: It sounds good and believable because it’s based in some truth and promises a magic fix that is all too tantalizing for many. Snopes explains that the carbs and fiber content in okra “help to slow the uptake of sugar into the blood by reducing the rate at which sugar is absorbed from the gastrointestinal tract, thereby reducing the glycemic load of glucose in the blood that can disrupt the body's ability to properly process the sugars.” It adds that even those claims are “somewhat speculative” — which is the problem with equating anecdotal evidence with evidence proven in controlled clinical trials.
So if you’re diabetic, go ahead and add okra to your diet, after speaking with your doctor and monitoring that blood sugar carefully in case you need to adjust your medications. But please don’t expect it to be a miracle cure.
And if you’re looking for ways to prepare okra, then check out the following 15 recipes.
Not Consumed defends okra’s slimy reputation with this recipe for sautéed okra and half to one whole onion (go with an entire small one). It’s simple and flavorful. If you want to keep the slime-factor to a minimum — and who wouldn’t? — make sure to wash the okra and pat it dry. Not Consumed also recommends you let it sit for an hour before slicing it.
Leite’s Culinaria’s recipe for okra cornmeal cakes may be the recipe you are looking for, if you are on the fence about the vegetable. We especially like the hint of spiciness added by the jalapeno pepper.
Go on, then. There’s still time to use that grill. And if you’re hardcore about grilling, then we don’t have to remind you that plenty of people grill even in the face of the fiercest winter snowstorms. Add a Pinch shows you how to grill okra, and keep things healthy, tasty and slime-free.
You don’t have to wait until Mardi Gras to enjoy this mouthwatering recipe from Closet Cooking. We certainly love gumbo, and Kevin Lynch’s recipe is the perfect way to consume okra and reap its benefits while enjoying the other flavors.
Saveur’s recipe for this Greek side dish might not be the one to go with if you are not keen on its potentially slimy texture. But those who like the vegetable will surely be enticed by okra, salted and tossed in a lemon juice–water mixture, which you then let simmer in olive oil and tomato sauce. Hungry?
You shouldn’t consume fried foods often, but cheating once in a while is okay. Plus, there is no way we could do a roundup of our favorite okra recipes and leave out the crowned jewel among them: fried okra. It’s done to perfection here by Spicy Southern Kitchen. We’ll have seconds, please.
Back to healthier recipes, being that it’s how we roll, here’s one for roasted okra, submitted by Martha Rose Shulman to and featured in The New York Times. Follow Shulman’s recipe and you can skip the marinade. She even promises the results won’t be “gooey.” It’s a deal, Ms. Shulman.