Have you tried okra Mediterranean-style? This easy one-skillet okra and tomatoes comes together in minutes! It is flavor-packed, light, and comforting. Just add a little rice or your favorite bread.
Okra, a Mediterranean ingredient?
Okra or–more delicately–ladies fingers is perhaps most known here in the States as quite the Southern ingredient.
Fiber-rich okra has deep roots in Africa, but it is very commonly used in parts of the Mediterranean like Turkey, Greece, Egypt and the Eastern Mediterranean region.
There are many delicious ways to prepare okra: pickled, fried, roasted, or in the form of a gumbo or stew. More often than not, okra shares the stage with tomatoes. And that is the way I grew up eating it– okra with tomatoes in a warm-your-heart Egyptian stew called bamya bi lahma (often with lamb or beef).
Today’s vegetarian (vegan) recipe is a modern Mediterranean take on okra and tomatoes.
How to avoid slimy or gooey okra?
What makes okra a great ingredient for stews and gumbos is its thick, gooey consistency. But there are many people, including my kids, who do not enjoy that.
My two quick tips to avoid slimy or gooey okra: 1) Leave the okra pods whole where the seeds remain locked in; 2) Avoid overcooking. This will help minimize, or even eliminate, the goo effect.
If you are new to okra, this is a great recipe to start with. This simple okra and tomatoes recipe takes one skillet and only 25 minutes!
I began by charring the okra pods in my cast iron skillet, this gives a great rustic flavor. Then I added the usual suspects of onions, garlic and lime juice with the tomatoes. A hint of the Mediterranean reddish-purple powder called sumac deepens the lemony flavor. I like a bit of a spicy kick to my okra, hence the crushed red peppers.
Here is the step-by-step for today’s one-skillet okra and tomatoes:
(print-friendly recipe to follow)
Heat a cast iron skillet on medium-high. Add the okra and toss briefly until the okra gains some char. Remove from the skillet and set aside.
In the same skillet, add 1 tbsp olive and saute the sliced onions on medium-high heat. Add the garlic and toss briefly.
Return the okra to the skillet and stir in the spices: salt, pepper, sumac and crushed red peppers. Add the diced tomato, 1/2 cup water, and lime juice. Stir to combine. Lower the heat to medium-low and cover. Cook for 15 more minutes.
- Heat a cast iron skillet on medium-high, add the okra and toss briefly until the okra gains some char. Remove from the skillet and set aside.
- In the same skillet, add 1 tbsp olive oil if needed, and saute the sliced onions on medium-high heat. Add the garlic and toss briefly.
- Return the okra to the skillet and stir in the spices. Add the diced tomato, 1/2 cup water, and lime juice. Stir to combine.
- Lower the heat to medium-low and cover. Cook for 15 more minutes.
- Garnish with dried mint flakes and toasted pine nuts. Serve hot or warm with rice or pita bread. Enjoy!
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