Okra is a classic late summer favorite that tastes even better after tossing it into a bold and savory, cayenne-infused rice pilaf. Topped with a sweet and smoky homemade coconut bacon, this hearty meal is ready in 30 minutes, making it perfect for late-summer outdoor dinners. Our advice? Serve this dish with a crisp white wine.
What you need:
For the coconut bacon:
1 cup unsweetened coconut
1 tablespoon tamari
1½ teaspoon liquid smoke
1 teaspoon maple syrup
For the pilaf:
1 cup basmati rice
1½ cup vegan chicken broth
½ cup coconut milk
2 tablespoons olive oil
⅓ cup yellow onion, finely diced
½ cup green bell pepper, diced
2 cups fresh okra, cut into ½-inch pieces
1 teaspoon sea salt
¼ teaspoon ground cayenne pepper
What you do:
1. For the coconut bacon, preheat oven to 300 degrees.
2. Into a small bowl, add unsweetened coconut, tamari, liquid smoke, and maple syrup. Toss well to coat. Spread mixture evenly on a parchment-lined baking sheet. Bake 7 minutes, and remove from oven to cool.
3. For the pilaf, into a medium-sized pot, add basmati rice, vegan chicken broth, and coconut milk. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat to low. Cover and simmer for approximately 12 minutes, until liquid is absorbed and rice is cooked through. Fluff with a fork and set aside.
4. While the rice is cooking, heat olive oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add onion and bell pepper. Cook, stirring frequently for 3 minutes, until vegetables are softened and fragrant. Add okra, salt, and cayenne. Cook 5 minutes, or until okra is heated through.
5. Stir okra into cooked rice and top with coconut bacon. Serve warm.
Photo courtesy of Holly V. Gray