Sides

Grilled Okra

by Shawnda on July 3, 2012

in On the grill,Sides,Veggies & Starches

Grilled Okra

Grilling okra is perhaps the simplest way to prepare one of the weirder members of the vegetable kingdom. The insides are moist (but not slimy) and the outsides get a little crispy, giving you a bit of that fried okra crunch infused with smokiness from the grill. Without all the hassle and the grease of fried okra.

And the best part, your house doesn’t smell like you fried a pair of old running shoes.

Grilled Okra

We paired those crispy, smokey okra pods with some Jalapeno-Cilantro Ranch Dressing as a dipper. You cannot go wrong with ranch dressing and you certainly cannot go wrong with ranch that has been dressed up with jalapeno, lime, and cilantro.

It’s important to use small pods, 4-inches and less. Large okra pods are tough and stringy and not fit for grilling (or buying) – have you ever imagined what it would be like to grill burlap? Even the ranch won’t help. The original recipe recommended pods that were 2 inches or less which, unless you grow okra, is actually a pretty unreasonable requirement. I found the shorter pods up to ~4 inches came out fine.
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Okra Fritters with Grilled Corn and Goat Cheese

I grew up in the south where it was very much acceptable to have fried okra as a vegetable 4 times a week during the summer. My parents and both sets of grandparents grew okra in their gardens. I wasn’t a fan. And I couldn’t get away from it.

Like most things that weren’t macaroni & cheese, I had to slowly come around to appreciate okra. But only fried. And even then, only dipped in ranch dressing.

It still counted.

Okra Fritters with Grilled Corn and Goat Cheese

With containers of okra sitting in the produce section for $2 ($2!), I couldn’t pass them up. Instead of plain okra fritters, we threw in the kernels from a leftover grilled corn cob (we always throw a few extra cobs on the grill just for occasions like these!) and some goat cheese. Because everything’s better with goat cheese!

The corn is sweet, the goat cheese tangy and creamy when eaten warm. And just when you think it couldn’t get any better, try dipping it in a little homemade ranch dressing :)

Okra Fritters with Grilled Corn and Goat Cheese

Okra fritters get a summer makeover with grilled corn kernels and tangy goat cheese.

Ingredients

  • Vegetable oil, for frying
  • 1 1/2 cup sliced okra (~1/4-inch slices)
  • 3/4 cup corn kernels, cut from 1 grilled cob
  • 4 oz goat cheese, crumbled
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/4 tsp black pepper
  • 1/2 cup + 2 Tbsp flour
  • 1/3 cup buttermilk
  • 1 egg
  • Ranch dressing, for serving (optional)

Instructions

  1. Heat ~1/2 inch of vegetable oil in a medium frying pan.
  2. In a mixing bowl, combine okra, corn kernels, goat cheese, salt, and pepper, stirring to mix well.
  3. Add flour and stir.
  4. Whisk together egg and buttermilk and add to the mixing bowl, mixing until there are no streaks of dry flour left.
  5. When the oil is hot enough (a pinch of batter dropped into the oil should vigorously bubble), drop batter by 2 Tbsp and flatten with the back of your spoon.
  6. Fry in 2-3 batches, cooking 2-3 minutes on each side, until golden brown.
  7. Remove to a paper towel-lined plate to drain and cool.
  8. Serve warm. With ranch dressing.

Notes

Yields: 12 pieces

Adapted from Everyday Food

Estimated time: 30 minutes

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Grilled Broccoli with Chipotle-Lime Butter

I love grilling season. Which, where I live, essentially lasts from mid-February to mid-November.

During the summer, the Foodie Groom’s “vegetable” of choice is grilled corn. It could be worse, I guess – although lately he and the toddler have really been digging the grilled green & purple beans from the garden.

His grilled corn on the cob usually comes slathered with a compound butter flavored with basil and parmesan or Mexican-style, slathered with a chipotle butter and topped with a pinch of crumbled queso fresco.

So when I saw a recipe for grilled broccoli with chipotle-lime butter in the latest Food & Wine, I was completely smitten – and pretty optimistic that I could get by with swapping out the corn for broccoli without too much protesting.

And I was right.

Grilled Broccoli with Chipotle-Lime Butter

The broccoli was lightly charred and smokey. The chipotle-lime butter added volumes of flavor and just a little heat. My husband declared it the best broccoli he’s ever had, which, honestly, probably isn’t saying much. But I think it was one of the better preparations of broccoli that I’ve ever had. And I love broccoli!

Trying not to negate all the good, I only used half the butter that the original recipe called for and squeezed extra lime juice over top before serving. And just like that, everyone in this house enjoys broccoli.

Grilled Broccoli with Chipotle-Lime Butter

Grilled broccoli topped with a flavorful chipotle-lime butter and queso fresco.

Ingredients

  • 6 Tbsp butter, softened
  • 1 lime, zested and juiced + additional wedges for serving (optional)
  • 1 canned chipotle, minced, + small spoonful of adobo sauce
  • 1 tsp honey
  • 1 garlic clove, minced
  • Salt
  • Pepper
  • 3 heads of broccoli, cut into florets
  • Olive oil, for spraying or drizzling
  • 1 cup queso fresco, crumbled

Instructions

  1. Heat grill to medium-high.
  2. Stir together all ingredients for the chipotle-lime butter and add a pinch of salt and pepper. (Or give it a whirl for ~10 seconds in your small chopper/food processor).
  3. Spread broccoli on a large baking pan and drizzle/spray with olive oil.
  4. Season with salt and pepper and then transfer to the heated grill.
  5. Grill ~10 minutes, flipping or stirring halfway through - the pieces should have nice grill marks but not be too charred.
  6. Transfer to a serving bowl and top with spoonfuls of chipotle-lime butter (I only used half the butter and refrigerated the rest).
  7. Serve warm, topped with crumbled cheese.

Notes

Yields: 6 servings

Adapted from Food & Wine, May 2012

Estimated time: 30 minutes

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Mexican Quinoa

We are great big fans of Mexican food. It’s a shame that traditional Tex-Mex is not very figure friendly. Things are fried in lard and served wrapped in other things that were fried in lard. But it’s delicious :)

In an attempt to lighten up Mexican night at home, I usually target the sides. Because trying to healthify queso is just… wrong :) Pinto beans take a whirl in the food processor for homemade refried beans. And we swap the rice side dish for quinoa.

Quinoa is a grain that we’ve incorporated more and more into our menus over the last year. It’s higher in protein and fiber than rice and makes a healthier alternative – and it tastes a lot like brown rice.

On Mexican night, we mix a generous batch of pico de gallo and lime juice into cooked (and cooled) quinoa. It can be served warm but it really shines as a cold dish. The flavors are fresher and brighter and the veggies offer a cold, crisp contrast to the quinoa – it’s the perfect summer side dish when TexMex is on the menu.

Mexican Quinoa

Tomatoes, lime, red onion and quinoa make a fresher, lighter side dish for taco night.

Ingredients

  • 2 cups quinoa, uncooked
  • 4 cups chicken broth or stock
  • 1/2 cup chopped red onion
  • 4 roma tomatoes, seeded and diced
  • 1 jalapeno or serrano, seeded and diced
  • Juice of 1-2 limes (to taste)
  • Small handful of cilantro, chopped
  • Salt
  • Pepper

Instructions

  1. Cook quinoa in chicken broth, according to package directions.
  2. Place quinoa in a shallow dish and spread out, covering with damp paper towels and refrigerate until cold, about an hour. (This step is optional, but recommended)
  3. Toss cold quinoa with the juice of 1 lime, onion, tomatoes, peppers, and cilantro. Salt and pepper to taste and add additional lime juice if desired.
  4. Serve cold and store leftovers in an airtight bowl.

Notes

Yields: 8 generous side servings

Source: Confections of a Foodie Bride

Estimated time: 2 hours

Nutritional Information
Calories: 195.0 | Fat: 3.5g | Fiber 11.7g | Protein 8.1g | Carbs 31.7
Weight Watchers PointsPlus: 4

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