Fried okra is one of those great Southern pleasures—salty, crunchy, greasy, with that very peculiar, specific okra taste underlying it all. But obviously, for health reasons, it has to be a “once in a while” treat. The thing about okra, though, is that it’s actually (like many vegetables) a nutritional powerhouse. It’s low-calorie, high-fiber, full of folates and vitamins A, C, K, and all the B’s, not to mention iron, magnesium, calcium, and manganese. You’d think, for all THAT, that people would have made a concerted effort to find all sorts of great ways to prepare okra that makes it tasty and still healthy.
Well, search no more. I already roasted okra, which was easy and delicious (and is one of my most popular posts EVER on the blog because it’s super delish). This takes (very) slightly more effort, but gives you that breading that is absent when just roasting. Behold—breaded baked okra!!
I found these beauties at my local farm stand a few weeks ago, and couldn’t say no! You want to make sure you have nice, tender okra. If you squeeze them and they are hard or crunch, that’s a bad sign.
Cut the okra into nice even pieces.
Take a gallon ziploc bag, turn it inside out, and spray with cooking spray. Then turn the bag right-side out.
Place the okra in the plastic bag.
Assemble your spices. The original recipe calls for cajun, but I’m not a big fan. So I went simple and used sea salt, garlic powder, and ground pepper.
Put the spices in the bag and smoosh everything around (technical term). Then seal the bag and let sit for about ten minutes. This lets the okra “sweat” a little, which will make the breading stick to it better.
Toss the cornmeal in the bag and shake around gently, letting the cornmeal coat the okra.
Pour through a colander or strainer to get the excess cornmeal off, then spread the okra out over a baking sheet (I always line mine with tin foil). Bake at 425 for 20-30 minutes.
The breading should be golden brown. Baking times may vary, so do what feels right to you.
Other healthy side dishes you’ll love:
- Baked Sweet & Spicy Sweet Potato Fries
- Caramelized Shredded Brussels Sprouts
- Oven-Roasted Okra
- Crispy Roasted Brussels Sprouts with Balsamic-Honey Drizzle
Healthy Breaded Baked Okra
- Okra, cut into pieces
- Non-stick cooking spray
- Spices (I used sea salt, garlic powder, & pepper)
Cut the okra into pieces. Turn a gallon ziploc bag inside-out and spray with the non-stick cooking spray, then turn right-side out again. Put the okra in and season with spices. Smoosh around and let sit for about ten minutes. Then pour cornmeal into the bag and gently shake around to coat the okra. Pour through a colander or sieve to remove excess cornmeal. Place on a baking sheet and bake for 20-30 minutes, until golden brown.
Adapted from Cookin’ Cowgirl