This is a recipe that was inspired by my (Erica) time spent in Greece. Last summer I spent a couple weeks island hopping and exploring local culture. This included eating A LOT of food.
Luckily, being vegan there was simple. Everything is cooked in olive oil, and most dishes are vegetable based. The hardest part was avoiding the generous chunks of feta that were crumbled over everything. Nevertheless, I resisted and never felt cheated as the dishes were still rich and flavourful. One of my favourite dishes was an okra stew. I had never had okra before, and truth be told, I had little idea what it was. After my first dish I was convinced, this was something I had to have more of! Okra is a tough vegetable to describe, so we just suggest trying it out for yourself! It’s high in fiber, vitamin C and antioxidants. It’s also a good source of calcium and potassium. What does that mean? It means try it! You’ve got nothing to lose!
We did some research and put together the following recipe. It doesn’t call for many ingredients because it relies on the freshness of the ingredients. That means don’t use canned tomatoes, get some fresh vine ripened ones. Using fresh, locally grown vegetables will bring this dish to life!
We served the okra stew on top of couscous and paired it with roasted eggplant (recipe below) and some dolmades we found at a local shop. They weren’t amazing but they brought back memories of Greece and sitting on the beach basking in the warmth….ohh uh sorry. Yes, back to the recipes!
4 handfuls of fresh okra
1/3 cup olive oil
1 medium yellow onion
8 large vine-ripen tomatoes
1/2 tsp sugar
1/4 tsp red chili flakes
2 tbsp chopped fresh parsley
Trim the tops off the okra. Place in a mixing bowl and sprinkle with salt (approximately 1/2 tsp) and the juice of a lemon. Toss to cover the okra evenly with the juice and set this aside.
Now slice the onion and cook in the oil over a medium heat until golden brown.
Once the onion is cooked, squeeze and squish the tomatoes into the pot using your hands. Go on embrace it. Sprinkle in the sugar and red chili flakes. Give it a stir and simmer for about 20 minutes.
Then mix in the okra, cover the pot and simmer for another 15-20 minute until the okra has softened.
Serve and sprinkle with parsley and olive oil to finish.
Cook the couscous as per the instructions on the side of the bag. Once done, toss in a handful of slivered almonds, a squeeze of lemon juice and a sprinkle of salt and pepper.
(Vegan Project Tip: Serve over cooked quinoa for a gluten free option!)
For the eggplant we just slice it drizzle with oil, seasoned with salt and pepper and roasted at 350 for about 10 minutes, flip them and give them another 10 – 15 minutes.
Sami & Erica
~The Vegan Project