Black Beans and Okra


I’ve been a little unwell lately, it started with a little tickle in my throat that turned into a cough, days later I’ve developed a cold or something like it.
Whatever it is, I hope it passes soon, I don’t like feeling this way and I can’t seem to do the things I want to do.
I’m lethargic and weak, and all I want to do is sleep.

I had plans for cook up a storm this past weekend but I got tired from a short trip to Bellingham.
I was going to make a nice rice and lentil salad with broccoli, granola, apple pies and this charming focaccia with garlic and cilantro for our breakfast.

But then, I’m glad I didn’t make my boring granola because I just discovered these buckwheat clusters – which I’m going to make instead when I’m feeling better.

It’s in these moments when I can’t bring myself to cook that I truly appreciate all those soups I have stashed away in the freezer. I tend to double soup and stew recipes I’m making and freeze portions for later.

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So I’m eating this black beans and okra this week, from a huge batch I made a while back.
Ladled over rice, it makes a comforting and satisfying meal – the kind of food I ate growing up.

Months ago we got a special delivery of red palm oil from Ghana, the good kind… with all the controversy surrounding palm oil, it’s the only kind I trust.

We’ve been savouring the memorable earthy flavours of palm oil in some of our favourite foods from childhood, and this black beans and okra is cross between gumbo and the okro stews my mom used to make.

It’s okra and a mélange of vegetables sautéed in palm oil with a tasty helping of black beans in a tomatoey sauce.

And the best part is, it freezes well. I wasn’t going to post this recipe initially because I didn’t like the way the pictures turned out – but I enjoyed it so much this second time around, I didn’t care about the less than stellar pictures, I just had to share.



Black Beans and okra


  • 3 tablespoons West African red palm oil (or olive oil)
  • 1 tablespoon mustard seeds
  • 1 small onion, chopped
  • 2 – 3 spring onions, chopped
  • 2 cloves of garlic, minced
  • 2 jalapeno peppers, chopped
  • 2 small carrots, diced
  • 1 pound okra cut into 1/2-inch rounds (about 2 cups)
  • 1 28oz can diced tomatoes (about 3 cups)
  • 1 tablespoon tomato paste
  • 2 cups of cooked black beans (about 1 1/2 16-oz cans black beans, rinsed and drained)
  • 1 teaspoon smoked paprika
  • 1 teaspoon dried oregano
  • 1 teaspoon dried thyme
  • 1/2 cup chopped fresh basil
  • 1 teaspoon salt, to taste
  • 1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper


  1. Heat red palm oil in a large saucepan over medium-high heat
  2. When the oil is hot, add mustard seeds and onions and sauté for about 3 – 4 minutes or until onions are softened
  3. Add spring onions, garlic and jalapeno peppers and sauté for another 3 – 4 minutes
  4. Add carrots and okra, stirring occasionally for about 5 minutes
  5. Stir in tomatoes, tomato paste, basil and black beans, sauté for 4 – 5 minutes
  6. Add smoked paprika, oregano, thyme, fresh basil and salt
  7. Cook for a few more minutes to let the flavours meld, check seasoning and adjust if necessary
  8. Add freshly ground black pepper
  9. Serve with rice or quinoa if desired



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  • Reply Bintu @ Recipes From A Pantry

    E, I need more okra and West African recipes on my blog. Will have to try this.

    13 February, 2014 at 5:01 am
  • Reply CatnipForHipsters

    My partner and I made this tonight and it was fantastic. Definitely on the spicy side with the two peppers, but it was a great way to use up a big bag of okra we had lying around. Thanks for the recipe!

    12 April, 2015 at 5:32 am
    • Reply Elsa | the whinery

      I’m so glad you guys enjoyed it! Sorry about the pepper, I’m a bit on the spicier side 🙂 maybe just one pepper next time?

      12 April, 2015 at 5:04 pm

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