Ok I have to confess, when I was little, okra (bamies in Greek) was one of my favorite dishes. Yes, you may consider this weird, but after tasting them you will understand why. Okra combines savory and sweet along with the tomato and olive oil perfectly. It was filling and satisfying and surprisingly comforting.
While this is usually made as a stew, known as bamies latheres, (you can see the recipe here), I like the roasted version more. I’ll make it during the summer when okra is available fresh, and make the stewed kind when I only have frozen okra available.
So okra in Greece is small, it is harvested when it is small, the smaller, the better. It is also important that when it is cooked, okra does not open and there is no liquid coming out, so there is no slicing like you would see with gumbo recipes where those juices are needed for the texture. The roasted version works great because it helps keep the okra intact.
Now a few words about its nutritional value: well for starters okra contains a certain type of fiber, soluble fiber. This fiber helps lower cholesterol levels in the blood and also helps keep your blood sugar levels low. It needs to be noted that it also contains the other type of fiber (insoluble) that is good for your digestive system. Of course okra has very few calories, it is a rich source of vitamin C and folate and it contains protective antioxidants. Along with the olive oil and tomato, this meal is heart healthy (and delicious).
And, this goes without saying: this dish begs for feta.
Sun-Dried Greek Style Roasted Okra in Tomato Sauce
- 1 pound fresh okra
- red wine vinegar
- 12-14 ounces chopped tomatoes
- 2-3 tablespoons chopped parsley
- 1 teaspoon sugar
- 1/4 cup olive oil
- Salt/pepper to taste
1. Wash okra, rinsing with water.
2. Cut around the tip of the okra, so you end up with a cone. Be careful not to cut too low exposing the inside, otherwise the liquid may come out.
3. Spread the okra on a pan and splash with the vinegar and let it sit out in the sun for about an hour.
4. Preheat oven at 350 degrees Fahrenheit (175 Celsius).
5. In a large pan, heat the olive oil and sauté the okra stirring gently on medium heat. This will help keep the okra intact so the liquids will not come out. After 5-6 minutes add the sugar and gently stir, (they will brown a bit).
6. Pour the okra in a pan so it is in one layer, add the tomato and the parsley and blend. Add salt and pepper to taste. Add about 2-3 tablespoons of warm water at the edge of the pan and tilt so that the water spreads out.
7. Cover the pan with aluminum foil and bake in the oven for about 45 minutes, until okra is very soft. Check after 20-25 minutes, if dry, add more warm water.
This meal tastes better at room temperature and the next day. Serve with bread and feta.
Hi Elena! I adore okra but can only find it frozen. How would you recommend using frozen okra for a dish like this? Thanks so much!!
You will love it.
Cut up some broccoli, as if you were putting a salad together.
Add white raisins, chopped red onion, some mayonaise, a bit of sugar, some vinegar (I use apple cider vinegar), some sunflower seeds (if you have them), and sprinkle some chopped up crispy fried bacon.
Everyone will love it…and live it!
Here in the southern United States, okra is a prized vegetable. Of course, it is mostly fried here and I too have always been a fan. This is an interesting site to come across, I was doing some searching for the “meditaranean diet”. Most recommendations seemed reasonable but very vague and flexible. I was trying to find an “official” association that would more clearly define the meditaranean diet, and I found a youtube TED video and then searched your name to find this site. I’m getting old and fat and I’ve had high blood pressure since I was 20. Trying to make some changes. I am now 30 and just had a blood lipid profile done and it wasn’t bad but there were areas of concern. I like greek food or at least what I understand it to be. I like english and thai cooking too much to wholly embrace the cult that is “meditaranean” 😉 but feel that I would benefit by incorporating more of this into my diet.
Thank you for your insight, glad you find the site useful.
I prepared okra using ingredients as described above with slight modification adding spring garlic, a pinch of herbs de provance and oregano, while skipping on red wine vinegar and sugar. I must say it turned out delicious. I will be trying the other greek recipes any time soon. Thanks for sharing your recipes with us.
As an aside I miss Greek fish that t was lucky to taste them in my travels throughout Greece, especially fish called Barbuni, hope I spelled it correctly.
Great website and recipes – thank you!
I am a Australian/Greek living in the US at the moment. My Aunty made this amazing dish when I was Athens and I absolutely loved it.
I managed to find some fresh okra today but as its cold and no sun at present – is it possible to leave the okra in the vinegar in the oven on a low temperature? Do you have any recommendations for this?
Hi, Elena i have never seen okra cook these way it interesting as i have always seen or eaten okra( lady.s finger) cook in Asian cooking. And my mother will add okra to curry dishes at the last minute as it cooks very quickly and retain the colour of the okra. Not to let any liquid from coming out i wash it and dry with a paper towel than i cut the top and ends follow by a quick fry in a table spn of oil in a hot pan which will stop any liquid from it and add it to the stew or curry .It my fav and yes it help our digestive system.
Thank you for the tips!I have not tried many Asian dishes with okra, I know it is also used often.