I grew up in the south and my mom is from southern Louisiana so I ate a lot of okra as a child. We had fried okra, okra in gumbo and soup, pickled okra, sautéed okra – we grew okra in our garden a few times so I even ate it raw. When cooked, okra becomes a great thickener – it gets stringy and sticky which was mesmerizing to me as a child.
The history of okra is pretty fascinating too – okra came to the the U.S. in the 1700s by slaves from West Africa. In Louisiana, the Créoles learned from slaves the use of okra to thicken soups and it is now an essential in Créole Gumbo which my mom cooks regularly. In some areas of the world okra is actually called gumbo – which we know as a soup that also originated in West Africa.
These days, my favorite way to cook and eat okra is also the easiest – I simply roast it at a high temperature with salt, pepper and olive oil. That’s it! My family will eat okra by the dozens this way – even my pickiest eater! During late summer, we eat roasted okra at least once a week. And if we’re not growing it, it’s super cheap in our local grocery store.
Here’s our simple roasted okra recipe:
- Preheat oven to 425 degrees F (220 degrees C).
- Arrange the okra in one layer on a foil lined cookie sheet. Drizzle with olive oil and sprinkle with salt and pepper. Bake in the preheated oven for 15 to 20 minutes – until browned.
- Eat by simply biting off the okra and discarding the small stem.
Do you eat, cook with or love okra? How do you cook it?