Simple Fall 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.
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California Fall (Superfood!) Salad Recipe — Easy & Quick

pomegrenate-avocado-salad

“A recipe is a story that ends with a good meal.” ~Pat Conroy

When I came across this quote on Instagram a while back, it really resonated with me. Poetic. True. It puts into words the deep meaning food can have for so many people, be it related to our childhoods, places we’ve lived in, places we love, or good times with friends.

This past Saturday, all of these things came together. During a weekend trip to Silicon Valley, I visited an old friend from Boston. She had made a delicious meal, including roasted colorful carrots, delicious vegan eggplant patties, quinoa with sweet potatoes, and lemon chicken wings. But what really stood out to me was the salad she made. I couldn’t get enough of it.

First, it had pomegranate in it. I know that’s pretty common in the U.S., but when I was growing up in Lebanon, salads were decisively salty. As a result, I don’t usually like fruits in salads. This was definitely an exception, especially because the pomegranate was always a special fruit growing up. Of course, we only had it once a year when it was in season– and we usually got it from the garden of our old family home in the country that we went to on weekends. I still remember the tree and how delighted I would be when the fruits appeared on it when I was a kid.

Second, the salad had avocado in it, (which was a really nice contrast in both texture and flavor to the sharp pomegranate seeds). We had been laughing all evening about the particular foods we eat in California (avocado, kale, etc., etc.,), and how our loved ones who don’t live here tease us about our eating habits.

Third, a simple dressing of olive oil and vinegar complemented the ingredients perfectly.

I didn’t even think about what a healthy salad of “superfoods” it was until I recreated it yesterday for my book club. So, so good. So, so simple. And so, so easy. I had to share it on this blog.

Iram’s California Superfood Salad

spinach-salad-recipe

Ingredients

  • 1 pomegranate
  • 2 large avocados (3 small)
  • 10 oz spinach (I recommend buying bags of pre-washed baby leaves from places like Trader Joe’s. Makes it so much simpler).
  • 1 English cucumber
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 2 tbsp red vinegar
  • 1 tsp salt

Seed the pomegranate. Yesterday, convinced I had been doing it wrong all along because it felt too onerous and complicated, I Googled “easy way to seed pomegranate” and found this great video:

Peel and cut the avocados. Again, Instagram taught me a simple, quick way to do it that I’m very proud of:

screen-shot-2016-11-23-at-10-46-57-am

Wash the cucumber, slice it in half and then cut into small pieces.

Toss all the ingredients together. Add the olive oil, vinegar and salt. Ta-da.

superfood-california-salad-roasted-rainbow-carrots-michelle-chahine-sinno

Bonus:

I also was inspired to roast multi-colored whole carrots like my friend did on Saturday:

  • Scrub the carrots well.
  • Toss in coconut oil, salt and pepper.
  • Roast at 400 F for around 40 minutes, turning them over halfway.

And I finally tried out this amazing, simple Pumpkin Alfredo recipe that I had found, again, on Instagram (which is clearly so good for food tips!), and highly recommend.

Book club fall dinner This Is Where You Belong Melody Warnick
All so simple to prepare, yet was such a great fall dinner.

Here’s to good seasonal food shared with friends!

 

 

P.S. Can we discuss for a moment how beautiful these carrots are? Our natural world is amazing.

roasted-carrots-colors