Posts Tagged 'okra'

Freezer Veggie Soup


Freezer Veggie Soup

My friend Nevada Presley runs a vegetarian prepared foods business called Get Fresh Memphis.  All her healthy options are yummy, but her soups are one of my favorite things to order.  They are always simple, uncomplicated, and delicious.

I was so happy when she shared this recipe with me for my next cookbook. It is so easy to make since it uses pantry staples like frozen vegetables and canned beans.  Plus, you will be surprised at how flavorful it is. I whip up this soup on days when I feel like a quick and healthy meal. I also keep several servings in my freezer for quick lunches.

Excuse the format of the photo … it’s just a sample of what it’s going to look like in “The Southern Pantry Cookbook.” (Which by the way is due out in the Fall 2014.)


Freezer Veggie Soup

2 tablespoons olive oil
1/2 cup finely diced yellow onion (1 small onion)
4 cloves garlic, minced
1 can (14.5-ounce) Italian-style diced tomatoes
4 cups (1 32-ounce box) vegetable broth
1 bag (12-ounce) frozen mixed vegetables, thawed (about 3 cups)
2 cups frozen cut okra, thawed and rinsed
1 can (14.5-ounce) cannellini beans, drained and rinsed
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper

In a large stockpot over medium-high heat, warm the oil until a few droplets of water sizzle when carefully sprinkled in the pot. Add the onion and cook, stirring often, until the onions are soft, about 5 minutes. Add the garlic and cook until fragrant, about 1 minute more. Add the tomatoes, broth, mixed vegetables, okra, and beans. Bring the mixture to a boil over high heat. Lower the heat to medium-low and simmer uncovered until the vegetables are tender, about 20 minutes. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Serve warm.

Serves 4 to 6.

Cooking Tip: Italian-style diced tomatoes are simply diced tomatoes flavored with Italian seasonings.  If you don’t have a can in your pantry, use regular diced tomatoes plus 1 tablespoon of dried Italian seasoning.

Pantry Short-Cut: A bag of frozen mixed vegetables contains carrots, corn, green beans, and green peas.  You can always add whatever frozen vegetables you have on hand. You can also substitute chicken stock for the vegetable broth.

Freezes well.

From “The Southern Pantry Cookbook” by Jennifer Chandler (release date Fall 2014)

Photo by Justin Fox Burks

Grilled Okra

“Grilled okra?!”  you may ask with a hint of disdain. I agree.  It’s the same response I had when I was first introduced to this dish.

“But okra is slimy when cooked anyway but battered and fried … won’t this be gross?” was the first thought that went through my mind. But as she basically forced me to take a bite, my friend Lucia Heros assured me that this would become a favorite. And you know what?  She was right!

Grilled okra is simply delicious!

I like to grill it until it is slightly charred on the outside … giving it a crispy exterior with a soft interior.  (Note I said soft interior … no sliminess in sight!)

It is yummy as a quick and easy appetizer right off the grill … or served as a side.  On the rare occasion that there have been leftovers, I have thrown chilled grilled okra on a salad for a delicious twist.

Everyone … including my kids … have loved it!

My friend Lucia likes to season hers with Paul Prudhomme’s Magic Salmon Seasoning Blend®. I love the spicy kick that Tony Chachere’s® Creole Seasoning  gives.  Feel free to use your favorite seasoning blend.  For an extra kick, try a Blackening Seasoning Blend … or if watching your sodium, try one of those Mrs. Dash’s herb blends. Even just plain old salt and pepper gives delish results.


Grilled Okra

1 lb. fresh okra
¼ cup olive oil
¼ cup Tony Chachere’s® Creole Seasoning  (or your favorite seasoning blend)

Heat a clean grill to medium-high.

Place the okra on skewers.  Drizzle with olive oil until lightly coated. Season to taste with the seasoning blend.

Grill the okra until nicely browned, about 2 to 4 minutes per side, turning with tongs as needed. Transfer the grilled okra to a platter or plates and serve immediately.

Cooking Tip: No skewers in the house? No worries.  The skewers are used to help make the cooking process simple. Instead, just place the okra pods perpendicular to the grill grates to prevent them from falling through.

Jennifer Chandler

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