Healthy Middle Eastern Okra with Couscous

I went grocery shopping after work today and sometimes I like to go in without a plan of what I am going to cook that evening, but more with the idea of picking up fresh ingredients that I would enjoy experimenting with. In the Middle East (where I am originally from) Okra is a popular ingredient that we enjoy cooking with. I personally really love it, and love the Middle Eastern dish we prepare with it. However, some (or most, I should say) recipes in the Middle East require frying (and not just pan frying) but deep frying many of our vegetables and ingredients before we lather them in sauce and serve them with rice. But I have been recently cooking with cooking spray for the last eight months or so, so when I choose the recipes I want, I try to steer away from the ones that require heavy frying. However, that is not to say that you cannot adapt recipes and enjoy them without skipping that step.

I found this incredible recipe for Okra and couscous. Though I am not really a fan of couscous, I still prefer it to any other side carb dish that’s a little more on the healthier side. I was pretty surprised with this recipe, actually, because it didn’t call for ANY oil (not even spray oil). It asked to steam the onion, garlic, and okra in water. Water!!?! I will admit that while cooking them together I was a little hesitant about the end results, but I was pleasantly surprised after the recipe came together. It is probably as good as any okra recipe I’ve tried before that asked for oil, butter, or frying the okra prior. AMAZING! Super, super, super healthy.

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Time to make: 40 minutes

Recipe: http://twovegancooks.com/entrees/okra-chickpeas-couscous

Lessons Learned: Well, the first lesson I learned (positive one) is that I can cook onion and garlic with water and the recipe will still taste good. Who knew? I didn’t. 😀 As for the recipe, I don’t know why I do this, but sometimes I like to experiment with recipes and add or subtract certain ingredients or spices to suit my desire and taste. Or just because sometimes I am familiar with the ingredients I am working with and I’ve observed my mother’s cooking that I could just sort of know what could taste good with what. Not always! But sometimes 🙂 So, for this recipe, I did not add the chickpeas, simply because I am trying to cut my carb intake and chickpeas while they are good, I prefer not to add them sometimes. I added some cinnamon powder to my spices with a little of curry powder (half a teaspoon, not even). I seasoned a lot because the okra absorbs the salt and pepper. That’s about all the extra I’ve added. Also, don’t forget lemon wedges…super good.

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