Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Shrimp and Okra with Tomatoes

I know what you're saying: "Gross! I HATE okra! It's slimey!"

Well, you're confused. That's "Oprah", not "Okra"!  And she's not exactly slimey, just a little smarmy.

When I was a kid growing up in South Louisiana, the state legislature subsized farmers who grew okra, and then gave the crop to the various parishes (school districts) for the cafeterias.  The cafetieria ladies would smother it whole with canned tomato sauce, and it did make the slimiest, most disguting glop in the world.  Their step saving method of cooking it whole turned many a Louisiana school child off of okra, which is a shame.  It's full of fiber, easy to grow, holds up fresh for a long time, and freezes well.  And when prepared correctly, it's delicious!

So, here's the recipe:

1 tablespoon olive oil
1 medium onion, diced
1 medium bell pepper, diced
1 lb okra, sliced crossways
2 tablespoons cider vinegar
1 cup seafood or vegetable stock
3 red riped tomatoes, peeled and diced
1 teaspoon Mrs, Dash Garlic and Heb Blend
1/4 -1/2 teaspoon Mrs. Dash Extra Spicy Seasoning
1 lb shrimp, peeled and deveined
Heat large saute pan over medium-high heat. Add olive oil and swirl to cover pan.  Add onions and peppers; saute until onions are translucent.  Add seasonings and stir completely to distribute.  Add okra and cider vinegar; stir gently to distribute without breaking the slices.  Cook on medium low for a few minutes, Add tomatoes and stock; stir gently.  Don't stir after tomatoes are added and okra begins to cook; overstirring will release the sap from the okra and cause the mixture to get slimy. Simmer for 20-30 minutes until okra slices are tender and mixture has thickened slightly,  Very gently stir in shrimp, simmer for 7-10 minutes, or until shrimp are cooked and no longer translucent.  Serve plain or over rice.

The secret is to get most of your stirring done early, while the okra is still firm.  The more your stir it toward the end, the more sap you release, and the more you risk creating "slime".
The shrimp cook quickly, and will add a bit of their own juice as they cook. Stir at this point just enough to get them submerged.

The finished dish should be spicy, so feel free to add hot sauce if you like it!  This dish is delicious without the shrimp for a great vegetarian meal, and we have kept the fat and sodium content very low!

Nutrition Facts

  8 Servings
Amount Per Serving


  Total Fat
3.0 g

  Saturated Fat
0.5 g

  Polyunsaturated Fat
0.7 g
  Monounsaturated Fat
1.4 g

86.1 mg

93.8 mg

381.1 mg

  Total Carbohydrate
9.2 g
  Dietary Fiber
3.1 g

2.5 g

13.8 g


  1. I LOVE okra (definitely not Oprah) and I don't get the whole "slime" complaint. If it were a hunk of meat, I'll bet nobody would complain, but since it's a green vegetable, whiners gotta whine. Pussies.

    Eat okra. It tastes great.

  2. It was interesting to learn about Okra during the cooking class :o)

  3. This sounds great! I love okra!

  4. Hi Miss Ginger,

    I didn't see anywhere where I could contact you directly about a recipe idea/request, but I figure this is as good a place as any since I stumbled across your shrimp and okra recipe while pursuing answers to my question:

    I love red beans and rice, and I've found a really tasty Caribbean-style recipe (http://www.skinnytaste.com/2012/02/jamaican-red-beans-and-rice.html). The problem is, I'm having a hard time finding a diverse range of low-sodium pairings for this basic dish. So, I was wondering if you had any ideas about healthy complements to a basic red beans and rice dish!

    1. Hi Bebbo:
      Almost a year later I am seeing your comment and responding! Hope you are well!
      Back home in Louisiana, Red Beans and Rice was pretty much the complete meal- cheap, filling, and easy to make.... That's why a lot of cajun homes had red beans and rice for dinner every Monday! We typically had it with a green salad and cornbread, and that was dinner! In Louisiana red beans and rice is almost always made with sausage in it. My momma slice her sausage into "discs", but some families served it as a whole "link".