Sadly, the wonderful farm market where we get our fruits and vegetables is closed for winter. The good thing is, we don’t have to drive all the way down to Richmond anymore. Except I miss the drive a little; I miss finding quiet country roads that felt far away from the city.
We’re back at our local grocery store, which isn’t bad, I suppose – it’s constantly piled high with impeccable produce and every once in a while I find old favourites like okra (in winter!). I don’t always know what to do with okra, but, and I think I’ve mentioned this before, I usually can’t resist them.
Then there’s harissa – it started with a tube here, a can there, and I have quite a collection on my hands now. But it’s all good because it all leads up to the makings of a weeknight meal – that’s how this harissa roasted potato, okra and broccoli came to be.
My connection to okra is tied to memories – of okro stew – a thick, satisfying and hearty soup of okra cooked in a rich sauce of spiced tomatoes and palm oil with seafood and meat. I tell myself that I should make some soon (sans meat and seafood, of course), and I will one of these days, perhaps that is why I keep buying okra.
For now, when I get home with a tub of okra, my first thought is to roast them with other vegetables. It’s simple, all you do is toss a few ingredients together and let them work to perfect results.
In a new year where most are trying to be healthful, it’s great to be able to put together unfussy nutritious meals for weeknights. Okra, if you’re looking to get into it, is high in fibre, and a good source of vitamin C, lutein, potassium and magnesium.
Since it takes longer to cook, I cut the potatoes into bite-size chunks and leave the broccoli and okra a little bigger. I’ve also tried roasting okra with a combination of a few other vegetables to great success – carrots, squash, cauliflower, etc. all work well in this manner.
It’s all roasted in a piquant sauce of harissa, garlic, olive oil and ground black pepper.
For added savouriness, and because I believe okra and tomatoes just go together, I toss in some sun-dried tomatoes towards the end; if you’re lucky to have slow roasted tomatoes around, use them instead!
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 3 cloves garlic, crushed
- 1 – 2 tablespoons harissa paste
- 1 teaspoons freshly ground black pepper
- 1 teaspoon sea salt
- 4 – 6 small red or white potatoes, scrubbed and cut into bite-size cubes
- 1 large bunch of broccoli, cut into florets with short stems
- 8 – 10 fresh okra fingers, cut into 1/2 inch rounds
- 1 sweet onion, cut into large chunks
- 1 red bell pepper, cut into large chunks
- 1/4 cup sun-dried tomatoes, chopped
- Preheat oven to 400 degrees F., and line a baking tray with foil or parchment paper (oil lightly if using foil)
- Combine olive oil, garlic and harissa paste in a small bowl and whisk to incorporate
- Mix in black pepper and salt, taste and adjust as desired
- In a large bowl, potato, broccoli, okra, onion and bell pepper
- Pour olive oil harissa mixture over potato mix and toss to quote
- Spread vegetables in a single layer on prepared baking sheet
- Roast for 20 – 25 minutes, until potatoes are baked through
- Toss in sundried tomatoes, lower heat and let it bake with vegetables for about 5 minutes