Green Fry: Okra, Collards, Potatoes, Fennel, Onion, Jalapeno, Garlic

Just to clarify, a green fry has nothing to do with frying food. Instead, it is a combo of anything healthy and green in your fridge that you throw into a pan and cook into one of the easiest, healthiest dishes you can make. Plus, you are cleaning out your fridge so that those vegtables that you bought last weekend don’t go to waste. You can make this a vegetarian or vegan meal, or add meat or chicken if you’d like. And here’s the best thing, your meal is a total Bites with Benefits meal and you’re only consuming about 40 calories per cup! Yes… that’s it!

First I washed, dried and cut the okra in 1″-ish pieces at an angle. Then I cooked the okra with a little olive oil on high heat until they started to brown. I added a pinch of sea salt, white pepper, and a splash of white vinegar (which apparently is the key to keeping them from getting gooey). I removed them from the pan and put them in a bowl. In the same pan I sprayed olive oil spray then cooked down a thin sliced onion for about 3 minutes on low heat until it started to become translucent (which pulls out the sugars), and added a few cloves of sliced Garlic and thin sliced Potatoes on low until they start to turn golden, then added the rough chopped Collards, thin sliced Fennel Bulb, and Jalapeno. I covered the pan and let it cook down for about 10 minutes. Then I added about 1 tsp of cumin (adding almost a meaty almost chicken flavor) and covered for 30 minutes. The steam should be enough to keep the veggies from burning, but if you start to smell burning, add a little chicken broth or water. The I added a sliced Tomato and covered the pan for another 15 minutes before adding the Okra for 3 minutes. Mixed and Served!

Really, it’s one of the least restrictive dishes. Yup, there are few rules- except that you have to use your veggies (try to use all green), use butter and oil to a minimum- keeping it to a 2 tablespoon maximum (if any at all).

But… there are techniques that can help make this dish good. Here’s the thing. I tend not to cook with a strict recipe. In fact, I’m pretty bad at following recipe rules. How do I tell what flavors will be good together, if maybe I should add another spice, or an additional ingredient? I put the spice jar next to the pot or pan and try to get a whiff of both scents together. If it’s a fit, I put a few shakes into it.
-Put the pan or pot on low heat
-Once it gets hot, coat the inside with olive oil spray
-If you’re using onions, add them in first and allow time to soften- releasing the natural sugars and sweetness
-Instead of cooking with oil, use chicken or vegetable stock, a little white wine, or even just water.
-Use sea salt to draw out the flavors
-Don’t be afraid of fresh spices and herbs if you have them- they add nutrients and flavor without fat or calories
-Mushrooms release a lot of water, so if you need liquid, put in the mushrooms at the beginning.
-Cover the pot or pan to allow the veggies to steam without losing the moisture.
-If using garlic, know that it burns easily so make sure not to let it sit on the bottom of the pan for too long without other veggies.
-Use any fresh green veggies you have.
-Try to cut the veggies to about the same size so that they need a similar amount of time to cook down.
-Add a few shakes of cinnamon at the end to enhance the flavor and add depth.

Ingredients… this time around:

(the amount depends on what you have in your fridge)
Collard Greens
Baby Potatoes
Fennel Bulb

Other Ingredients that Work:

Bell Pepper
Swiss Chard
Toasted Sesame Oil (just a little)
Teriyaki Sauce


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