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Unusual Veggies, Part 2: Fresh Okra Salad & Asian Long Beans

raw okra salad with tomatoes on a plate

raw okra salad

Photo: Annie Corrigan/WFIU

Eating healthy this time of year can be intensely challenging. Winter is probably the most treacherous season for anyone trying to keep it healthy, or green their diet.

Holiday party after holiday party makes it hard to resist the allure of abundantly fried finger-foods, carb filled casseroles, or endless displays of iced sugar cookies.

Well, this week on Earth Eats, we're looking at two late season vegetables that will help you literally "green" your dinner table.

Asian Long Beans: Crisp, Tender, And Delectable

Asian long beans can get up to 2.5 - 3 feet long, some people even call them, "yard-long beans"

They come in different varieties, some are a nice dark green and some are more pale.

On the podcast we have a recipe for Asian style sauteed long beans in sesame oil, that Chef Orr calls "shock and awe" from the blanch and shock technique he uses to preserve their nice green color.

Shock and Awe: Asian Long Beans With Sesame Oil


  • 2-3 cups long beans
  • 1 teaspoon garlic
  • 1 teaspoon ginger
  • ½ teaspoon lemon zest
  • pinch red pepper flakes
  • 2 tablespoons sesame seeds
  • squeeze of fresh lemon juice
  • sesame oil


  1. Blanch the long beans. (Boil long beans for 3-4 minutes, until tender. Transfer to an ice bath.)
  2. Add garlic, ginger, lemon zest, and red pepper flakes to a pan of olive oil. Add long beans and a bit of water. Salt and pepper to taste, and add the sesame seeds.
  3. Squeeze long beans with lemon juice immediately before they are served. Drizzle sesame oil overtop.

Okra In The Raw

Okra, commonly known as "lady's fingers" outside the United States, comes to us from West Africa. Many believe that it was first brought to the U.S. during the slave trade, around 1658.

Today, the okra is most commonly associated with jambalaya recipes of the South or maybe deep fried. Not exactly the healthiest options.

For something a little different, and a lot healthier, try out this recipe for a raw okra salad.

Raw Okra Salad with Southern Indiana Vinaigrette


  • ½-1 cup tomatoes (variety of colors and types)
  • ½-1 cup red onions
  • ½-1 cup tomatillos
  • 1 teaspoon garlic, minced
  • 2-3 cayenne pepper rings
  • Lemon zest
  • 3 tablespoons vinegar
  • 2-3 tablespoons olive oil
  • Salt and pepper to taste


  1. Choose small, young okra, they get more fibrous and are less ideal for raw dishes as they get larger
  2. Combine all ingredients in a bowl and toss
  3. Serve immediately

Weekly News Updates

Berkley Scientists Use Artificial Photosynthesis To Create Energy

Researchers at UC Berkeley are trying to simulate how leaves turn energy from the sun into energy they can use. Earth Eats' Megan Meyer talked with Lauren Sommer from NPR member station KQED about the project. Read more »

Sugar Giveth And Sugar Taketh Away

Discover Magazine recently published "20 Things You Didn't Know About ... Sugar."

On their list: Sugar causes humans to get wrinkles as we age. Eating too much sugar can actually make your skin lose its elasticity faster than it would if you ate a low-sugar diet.

Also interesting: sugar found in interstellar space may be the chemical precursor to life on Earth.

Next Week

That's it for this week. Next week on the podcast, we'll be sharing some green holiday tips and recipes to get you started with preparations for your holiday festivities. Be sure to subscribe to our free weekly podcast so you don't miss it.

Until then, we'd love to hear your recipes for okra or long beans. Leave a comment or send them to eartheats @

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