Food, Recipes

Healthy Dinner: Warming Turmeric Rice with Okra


Healthy Dinner: Warming Turmeric Rice and Okra Bowl

Ever since trying Molly’s heavenly Golden Turmeric Milk recipe, I’ve fallen in love (again) with turmeric. I realize we’re constantly hearing of its seemingly endless benefits (gotta love that cancer-fighting curcumin!), but I honestly crave turmeric powder’s earthy, slightly pungent taste and the hint of heat it gives my meals.

And then, of course, there’s fresh turmeric, a rhizome that looks a lot like fresh ginger. Unlike turmeric powder, fresh turmeric has a “bright” taste. It’s crisp, slightly bitter, and far more delicate than its powdered form. I enjoy cooking with both, but I find that the flavors of fresh turmeric get lost in a hearty meal like this one–so I often use both fresh and powdered! (I’m sure I’m committing some sort of culinary sin for doing so!) For this recipe, feel free to use either or both, depending on how much you love turmeric.

Aside from our beloved turmeric, this dish bursts with plant-based goodness from fresh green onion, sesame seeds, grape tomatoes, okra, and protein-rich tofu. (I have my Louisiana-born husband to thank for turning me on to okra.) I love making this recipe, or some iteration of it, when I want to feel warmed from the inside-out.

Substitution guidelines: One tablespoon freshly grated turmeric equals one teaspoon ground turmeric.

Warming Turmeric Rice & Okra


Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook time: 20 minutes
Total time: 30 minutes
Yield: 2 servings
  • 2 cups cooked rice (or leftover grain of choice)
  • 1 tablespoon coconut oil
  • 1/2 large red onion, diced
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 tablespoon grated fresh turmeric (peeled)
  • 1 cup okra, cut into small rounds
  • 1 teaspoon turmeric powder
  • 1/2 cup coconut milk
  • 1/2 block extra-firm tofu, cut into 1-inch cubes
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • sesame seeds for garnish
  • green onion, thinly sliced, for garnish
  • 1/2 cup grape tomatoes, halved


1. Preheat oven to 400°F.

2. Coat tofu cubes in cooking oil of your choice (I used coconut) and sprinkle with a few pinches of salt. Place on a baking sheet and bake for 10 minutes. Remove from oven, toss, and bake for another 10 minutes or until golden-crispy on the edges.

3. While the tofu is baking, warm the coconut oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Sauté the onion for about 3 minutes. Add garlic and fresh turmeric, and sauté for an additional minute, stirring frequently.

4. Add the chopped okra to the pan and stir occasionally. Allow the okra to brown on the edges. This process takes about 10 minutes.

5. Add cooked rice, coconut milk, and turmeric powder to the pan. Stir well, allowing the turmeric powder to evenly coat everything. Cook until rice and milk are thoroughly warmed.

6. Serve rice mixture topped with sesame seeds, green onion, grape tomatoes, and baked tofu. Enjoy!

Related: Sweet Potato Avocado Zen Bowl

Vegan Bibimbap (Mixed Rice Bowl)

Zesty Greens Buddha Bowl

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Photos: Mary Hood Luttrell

Mary Hood Luttrell

Mary Hood Luttrell

Beauty Editor at Peaceful Dumpling
Peaceful Dumpling Beauty Editor and creator of Bisou du Jour, Mary Hood Luttrell lives with her husband in Corpus Christi, Texas. Mary is a freelance writer and writing and blogging consultant. A lover of whole foods, Mary delights in learning new ways to prepare vegan dishes. Mary also enjoys reading and writing poetry, art journaling, running, and practicing yoga and ballet. Follow Mary on her blog Bisou du Jour, Instagram and Pinterest.
  • Michelle Kim

    Hi! Is it canned coconut milk or is just carton coconut milk okay?

    • Either would work fine! Thanks Michelle, hope you enjoy!

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