Okra and Tomatoes: The Healthy Cajun Classic Perfect For Lazy Cooks

Do you like okra and tomatoes? If you've never heard of this side dish, you need to add it to your weekly menu. It's a very southern meal that can be made as a side dish, but it's pretty healthy to just enjoy as your dinner.

It's called stewed okra and tomatoes. Now, stewed tomatoes don't sound appealing, but when added in with okra, the acidity cuts the slimy texture of the okra to make a fantastic combo. If you're looking for tomatoes recipes because you've bought one too many cans of the veggie, this is it.

Usually you see okra appear in dishes as fried okra, given that the texture of the vegetable isn't super popular. But in cajun and creole cooking, this veggie can be found in this dish, gumbo, and more. The great thing about okra is that you don't need to add a cup water and cornstarch to get a thick texture for stews and soups. In cajun cooking, okra is usually featured as part of the 'holy trinity,' which includes bell peppers or red peppers, celery, and yellow onion sautéed over low heat with salt, black pepper, and other spices.

The ingredients for this recipe are just as simple. Gina Neely and Pat Neely of Food Network share their quick recipe with us, as part of their Down Home With The Neelys series.

Here's how you can pick up your shopping list for this video:

First you need to go to the produce section and pick up fresh okra, fresh tomatoes, and one onion. You'll need three cups worth of chopped okra. If you can't find these items fresh, or you're just feeling extra lazy, frozen okra and canned diced tomatoes still work great.

Next head down to your meat section to pick up a pack of bacon.

To get started, chop up the whole onion and cut the bacon into pieces. As Gina says, bacon isn't typically used in this dish, but it sure does add a tasty, smokey flavor! You can also use old bacon grease if you've stored some away to get the same flavor with minimal effort.

Grab some olive oil and a sauté pan to fry the bacon on medium-high heat. You'll need a large skillet for this. As the bacon juice releases and it gets browned, you can throw in your chopped onions. Add some salt and pepper.

As that does its thing, get your sliced okra and diced tomatoes ready. Throw them into the pan and let it all simmer for 15 minutes. If you used canned, throw in the tomato sauce too.

That's it, folks. You can add your own touch to it, such as garlic cloves, spices or veggies, but really there's no prep time to it because you can go as the food cooks. With a total time of 15-30 minutes, this is an easy weeknight recipe perfect for busy days. Okra and tomatoes is a side dish loaded with vitamins such as Vitamin A, Vitamin C, and calcium, and low on the carbohydrates and cholesterol. Great for healthy meal plans!

Serve it with some shrimp, gumbo, or andouille sausage, and you have a yummy, southern meal. If you've never liked it before, you'll love okra now.

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