Simple Okra Vegetarian Recipe

I’ve been seeing okra in the supermarket a lot over the past few weeks, and I’ve been remembering and craving a favorite dish from growing up in Lebanon. I called up my mom and dad for instructions on how to make Bamieh (okra) with tomatoes, onion, and garlic. I love the texture (though you have to be careful in prep to avoid too much goo from the pods, see the video below). Even though this is a vegetarian dish, it is super filling. I made a huge batch on Friday afternoon and used it all weekend, alternating as a side dish with some grilled chicken and as a main meal.

The okra I remember eating as a child was much smaller than the ones I found in markets here. So I had to adjust the cook time for these larger pods. It’s a very simple recipe, but does need to simmer on the oven for about an hour in total, the perfect backdrop for reading in the evenings or if you have other work to do around the kitchen/stove.

Ingredients

  • 1 lb okra. Try to select smaller pods.
  • 1 whole garlic head
  • 3 cloves of garlic
  • 1 large white onion
  • 5-6 medium-sized ripe tomatoes
  • Coarse salt
  • Black pepper
  • Ground allspice. (You can find this in most supermarkets in the spices section).

I actually recommend doubling this recipe. It’s almost the same amount of work, and it lasts for several meals.

Instructions

Slice the onion lengthwise into big chunks. Dice the 3 garlic cloves.

Heat 2 tbsp of olive oil on medium-high heat for 2-3 minutes. Meanwhile, remove only the outer peel of the garlic heads.

Put the chopped onion, diced garlic and whole garlic heads in the oil for about 5-7 minutes. Season with coarse salt and black pepper. Stir frequently.

Wash and dice the tomatoes.

Add the tomatoes to the onion and garlic. Season with salt, pepper and allspice. Simmer for 30 minutes. Stir occasionally

While the tomatoes simmer, wash and trim the okra. This is a great short video on how to cut the pods without releasing the “slime” inside:

Either boil the okra (as in the video above), or pan-fry in olive oil on medium-high heat for 7 minutes, tossing often.

Add the okra to the tomato, onion and garlic sauce. Add 1 tsp black pepper, 1 tsp allspice, and 1 tsp coarse salt. Simmer for another 10-15 minutes. Then cover, and simmer for 10-15 more minutes. You want the okra to be quite soft.

Serve as a main meal or side dish. Let me know if you try it out!

Optional: As a kid, we’d eat it with whole wheat pita bread, scooping it into the bread pieces with our hands.

Here’s the recipe as a list without the photos. (Again I recommend doubling it!)

Ingredients

  • 1 lb okra. Try to select smaller pods.
  • 1 whole garlic head
  • 3 cloves of garlic
  • 1 large white onion
  • 5-6 medium-sized ripe tomatoes
  • Coarse salt
  • Black pepper
  • Allspice

Instructions

  1. Slice the onion lengthwise into big chunks. Dice the 3 garlic cloves.
  2. Heat 2 tbsp of olive oil on medium-high heat for 2-3 minutes.
  3. Meanwhile, remove only the outer peel of the garlic heads.
  4. Put the chopped onion, diced garlic and whole garlic heads in the oil for about 5-7 minutes. Season with coarse salt and black pepper. Stir frequently.
  5. Wash and dice the tomatoes.
  6. Add the tomatoes to the onion and garlic. Season with salt, pepper and allspice. Simmer for 30 minutes. Stir occasionally
  7. While the tomatoes simmer, wash and trim the okra. This is a great short video on how to cut the pods without releasing the “slime” inside: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2f3GGGolDXI
  8. Either boil the okra (as in the video above), or pan-fry in olive oil on medium-high heat for 7 minutes, tossing often.
  9. Add the okra to the tomato, onion and garlic sauce. Add tsp black pepper, 1 tsp allspice, and 1 tsp coarse salt. Simmer for another 10-15 minutes. Then cover, and simmer for 10-15 more minutes. You want the okra to be quite soft.
Advertisements

A Frittata for a Slow Sunday Breakfast at Home

Whole30 Spinach Frittata Eggs Breakfast Easy Recipe Paleo

After getting back from Europe last week, my resolve to find balance and joy in life was renewed—i.e. not revolve life around work and rushing around everywhere in a constant state of busyness.

If I were only able share one thing from the trip, it would be that dreams do come true, IF you make them. But if I could share one more thing it would be the general realization that always come from travel: The world is SO big—and it is all going on without you, in spite of you, and not caring about you, especially not caring if you are five minutes late to an appointment because of traffic, or whatever else we let stress us on a daily basis.

“One’s destination is never a place, but a new way of seeing things.” ~Henry Miller 

As I walked on the sidewalks of Paris my second day there, that thought kept cycling through my brain: This is all here, going on without my even knowing it, and it doesn’t care about all my daily issues. With that perspective, it’s hard not to get back and try to slow down even more: while driving, while rushing from place to place…

“Travel is more than the seeing of sights; it is a change that goes on, deep and permanent, in the ideas of living.” ~Miriam Beard

So in that spirit, perhaps the first way I manifested this new perspective was to plan a nice Sunday breakfast for us at home. Usually, we wake up and rush out somewhere. This Sunday, we lazed around, and because I had planned and bought ingredients, I enjoyed cooking—slowly—not in a rush because we were hungry and it was late and time for dinner, the gorgeous frittata in the photo above. And it brought me so much pleasure that I had done that, as I wrote recently about the immediate rewards of cooking. It was also quite fun to try cooking something new and using an oven-safe cast iron skillet for the first time.

So I wanted to share this, because even though it’s a small thing, it felt like a big thing too. How many of these small things could we do on a weekly basis to try to hold on to the perspective we can often only get from travel? I know I’ll be making an effort to remember the Parisian sidewalks or Venetian canals whenever something minor, or even major, stresses me out: They will carry on, not caring at all about what I am doing on any given day.

The recipe for the Tomato Spinach Frittata is from the Whole30 Cookbook and is very easy to make if you pay attention to the steps. It’s actually one of the main recipes used in the graphics of the books online, and it looks exactly like their designed version, which is rarely the case:

Whole 30 Frittata

(OK theirs looks slightly better, but this was my first try and I just used my iPhone for a quick snapshot!)

I won’t type it here for copyright purposes, but I found a modified version of it online already on Stupid Easy Paleo. It’s basically identical to recipe in the book, minus the beef, mushrooms, and paprika, although they encourage you to play around with the veggies you use:

http://stupideasypaleo.com/2013/08/01/hearty-spinach-beef-frittata/