Make us your home page
Instagram

Today’s top headlines delivered to you daily.

(View our Privacy Policy)

EATING well

Shrimp gumbo recipe could make you reconsider okra

In 40 years of writing cookbooks, I never made gumbo for a simple reason: I never liked okra!

I had only encountered it heavily breaded and deep-fried, or else cooked down to a slimy mess in soup. But then at a farmers market in the midst of okra season, friends shamed me into making shrimp gumbo.

I discovered that okra can be pretty good, and its color, texture and body are what make it essential to gumbo. As a nutritionist, I also appreciate its folate, calcium and potassium content — and especially its fiber. Those using fiber supplements like psyllium husks should consider getting better cholesterol and blood sugar management from okra at a much cheaper price.

While I was busy searching nutrition books for health benefits of okra, the cholesterol in shrimp became the dominant topic.

Though some people think shrimp are high in cholesterol, the truth is that among animal protein sources, they're a cholesterol bargain. Only scallops have a lower cholesterol count.

The predominant alpha form of cholesterol in shrimp will not have any effect on total cholesterol levels made in the liver for needed hormones and cell metabolism. Years ago, the American Heart Association gave shrimp a bad reputation but that was because physicians writing the cholesterol guidelines believed everyone ate only fried shrimp. As a member of that committee more than 35 years ago, I could not convince them that boiled and steamed shrimp were healthy alternatives.

This Shrimp & Okra Gumbo recipe was so popular among my friends, I had to make a double recipe a second night so there was enough for lunch the next day.

But a word of caution for okra lovers with a history of kidney stones: The plant contains oxalic acid in its leaves and pods. So indulging in this treat brought to the United States during the African slave trade should be limited.

Betty Wedman-St Louis is a licensed nutritionist and environmental health specialist in Pinellas County who has written numerous books on health and nutrition. Visit her website at betty-wedman-stlouis.com.

Shrimp & Okra Gumbo

¼ cup olive oil

12 ounces chopped okra

2 ripe Roma tomatoes

½ cup chopped green onions

1 clove garlic, minced (optional)

½ cup chopped celery

¼ cup chopped green or red sweet pepper

½ teaspoon salt

¼ teaspoon ground white pepper

⅛ teaspoon ground cayenne pepper (to taste)

4 cups water or chicken stock

Jalapenos, chopped (optional)

1 pound fresh medium shrimp, peeled and deveined

Heat oil in large skillet over medium heat. Add okra and saute 15 to 20 minutes. When okra is soft, add remaining ingredients, except shrimp. Bring to boil; reduce to simmer and cook 30 minutes longer. Add shrimp. Cook until pink and tender. Serve over rice.

Serves 4.

Nutritional information per serving: 105 calories (without rice), 12g protein, 7g carbohydrates, 6g fat, 27g potassium, 327mg potassium, 241mg sodium.

Source: Betty Wedman-St Louis

Shrimp gumbo recipe could make you reconsider okra 09/19/13 [Last modified: Thursday, September 19, 2013 3:58pm]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times

    

Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

Loading...
  1. Tampa Mayor Bob Buckhorn proposes $974 million budget for 2018

    Local Government

    TAMPA — Mayor Bob Buckhorn today proposed a $974.2 million budget for next year that would raise the city's property tax rate for the first time since 1989 and use the additional revenue to improve parks, expand fire service and prepare for looming financial challenges in the years ahead.

    Tampa Mayor Bob Buckhorn presented his proposed $974.2 million budget for 2018 to the City Council on Thursday. RICHARD DANIELSON | Times (2016)
  2. A second chance at life, away from the game he loved

    The Heater

    Dylan Delso, a catcher for the Tampa Bay Rays' Gulf Coast League team, displays his scar at Charlotte Sports Park in Port Charlotte, Fla., on Tuesday, June 20, 2017. On June 25, 2016 Delso fell backward down a flight of stairs, suffering a nearly fatal head injury that put him in a coma for eight days. He's finally back on the baseball field after a miraculous recovery.
  3. Florida house where O.J. Simpson lived listed for $1.3 million

    Crime

    MIAMI — What happened to the Florida home where O.J. Simpson lived with his children after his acquittal in the death of his ex-wife and her friend?

    O.J. Simpson explains his golf scoring to his daughter, Sydney, as he played golf on Key Biscayne in Miami in 1997. The house south of Miami where Simpson lived with Sydney and his son, Justin, until his 2008 conviction in an armed robbery involving two sports memorabilia dealers in Las Vegas, is on the market. [AP photo]
  4. Behind the lens: To capture an exhilarating moment, it's better to be lucky AND good

    Travel

    Editor's note: Boyzell Hosey, our Assistant Managing Editor - Photography/Multimedia, shot this image while on a family vacation in Alaska. Below is his description of the shot.

  5. Council candidate James Scott sees a green future for St. Petersburg

    Local Government

    Times Staff Writer

    ST. PETERSBURG — James Scott's central tenet is sustainability.

    St. Petersburg City Council District 6 candidate James Scott. [JOHN PENDYGRAFT   |   TIMES]