This vegan Greek Okra Stew recipe (called bamia) goes back generations in my family; I remember my Greek-Cypriot grandma (yiayia) making it for me when I used to go to her house for dinner on Saturday nights.
Bamia is a heart-warming Greek stew made up of velvety okra (also known as ladies’ fingers) in a rich tomato sauce. With my yiayia being a traditional Greek woman, she used to serve up a huge portion of this stew (enough to feed a small village!) along with some bulgur wheat or roast potatoes, a big dollop of thick Greek yogurt along with a thick slice of crusty white bread to mop up all the sauce!
Now that I have transitioned to veganism, it is admittedly hard to eat all the same meals as my family as many Greek meals tend to be based on dairy and/or meat. This Greek Okra Stew recipe of the few plant-based dishes that requires no major vegan substitutions (apart from the Greek yogurt to serve, I use Alpro’s Dairy-free coconut yogurt instead).
Even over 15 years later, I still get so excited to visit my yiayia where all the family meets to catch up over a lovely bowl of Greek okra stew.
For more Greek-inspired meals check out my Easy Golden Hummus recipe!
Greek Okra Stew (Bamia)
This Greek Okra Stew recipe is a vegan meal which I remember from my early childhood, it was (and still is) a firm family favourite!
For the okra stew
- 300-400 g okra
- 1/4 cup wine vinegar
- 2 tbsp olive oil
- 2 garlic cloves
- 1/4 cup chopped parsley or dried
- 1/4 cup chopped onion
- ½ cup chopped mushrooms in quarters optional
- 1 tin tomatoes
- 1 tbsp tomato paste
- 3/4 cup water
- 1-2 tbsp lemon juice when frying
- ½ tsp sugar
- salt and pepper
- Crispy roast potatoes
- Bulgur wheat or couscous
- Crusty slice of your favourite loaf
- Hummus (recipe on my blog)
- Basil garnish
Rinse the okra and drain
Cut off the stalks without cutting the pod (otherwise the okra will fall apart when you cook them)
Place the okra in a bowl and pour over the vinegar and make sure all the okra get coated. Leave aside for 15-20 minutes as this will prevent the okra from going slimy.
Heat the oil in a large saucepan, drain the okra from the vinegar and add them to the pan. Toss them in the hot oil and stir frequently to stop them browning. Lower the heat to a simmer if necessary.
Once the have browned only slightly, add the onion and garlic and continue to cook.
Once the garlic and onion have browned, add the chopped tomatoes, tomato paste, parsley, lemon juice, sugar, salt and pepper.
Add the water and bring to the boil. Once the mixture starts to bubble, lower the gas to a simmer and cover the pan. Cook for around 30 minutes then with the lid off for a further 5 minutes for the sauce to thicken. The bamia will have softened into a lovely thick stew.
Serve with your choice of roast potatoes, couscous or bread roll with a spoonful of your favourite hummus flavour along with some chopped fresh basil to garnish.
I hope you enjoy this meal as much as I do, and as my yiayia used to say: “Kali Orexi” – the Greek equivalent to Bon Apetit.