Sunday, September 23, 2012

Roasted Okra with Feta Cheese and Mint

Okra is very low in calories. It contains high amounts of vitamins A, B6, K and C, it is rich in folic acid and is a good source of minerals like iron, calcium and phosphorous. It also contains thiamine, riboflavin and phytochemicals like beta carotene, lutein and zeaxanthin. The taste and texture resembles, in a way, that of the eggplant, but that also depends on the way you decide to cook it. 
Since I was a child roasted okra was one of my favorite dishes (really odd!!!). Many people hate okra for being slimy, but I must insist that when roasted, okra is not slimy at all! I am proud to say that with this recipe I have really made people who thought they hated okra, to actually love it! So just give it a chance, I definitely recommend it!

You’ll need:

1 kg fresh okra
1 large red onion, sliced
3 garlic cloves, sliced
4 plum tomatoes (or regular)
½ cup fresh mint leaves, roughly chopped
250gr feta cheese, crumbled
1 small glass olive oil (130 ml)
4 tablespoons apple cider vinegar
¾ small glass water (100 ml)
sea salt

Rinse the okra and tomatoes in cold water and drain. Using a small knife, trim the stems from the okra tops (in a circular way), but try not to remove the caps.

Place them in a roasting pan. I actually prefer to use one with a lid (in Greece we call it “gastra” and it is similar to the Moroccan “tajine” pot), to prevent the food from drying out, alternatively we can cover it for a while with foil and then remove it towards the end.
Preheat the oven to 180°C, 350°F, Gas Mark 4. Cut the tomatoes in relatively small chunks and add them in the roasting pan with the rest of the ingredients:  the onions, garlic, feta cheese, mint, salt, cayenne pepper, olive oil, vinegar and water. 
 Toss well using your hands. 

Cover either with a lid or foil and put it in the oven for 30 minutes. Remove the lid or foil and put it back in the oven for another 20-30 minutes. Every now and then, you might need to stir it to make sure it is cooked evenly and if too dry, just add a bit more water. Remove it from the oven, drizzle some extra olive oil, if you like, and serve! 

Special thanks to Denia for the photos

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