Everything was always better back in the good ‘ole days. Times were simpler, life felt easier, and the food was better. While we can’t change everything, we can bring back the good eats with some Retro Okra and Rice Casserole! Nothing could ever beat momma’s cooking and this dish will take you right back to her table in her retro wallpaper-covered kitchen. You experience the tender okra that you used to hate but grew to love, plus lots of other fresh veggies she used to grow in her garden. Seasoned to have a little spice, sprinkled with breadcrumbs for a crunch, and layered with rice to make sure you’re full, every bite will remind you of all her favorite things. Take your tastebuds on a delicious trip down memory lane with Retro Okra and Rice Casserole!

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Ingredients

  • 3 tablespoons canola oil
  • 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 cup yellow onion, chopped
  • 1/2 cup celery, chopped
  • 1/2 cup green bell pepper, chopped
  • 2 teaspoons garlic, minced
  • 1 (14.5-ounce) can diced tomatoes
  • 3 cups vegetable broth
  • 1 1/2 pounds fresh okra, trimmed and cut into 1 1/2-2-inch pieces
  • 1 cup fresh corn kernels
  • 2 teaspoons Cajun seasoning
  • 1/4 teaspoon black pepper
  • 1/4 cup salted butter, melted
  • 2 cloves garlic, pressed
  • 8 (1-inch-thick) French bread slices
  • 2 (8.5-ounce) pouches microwavable basmati rice

Directions

Step 1 –Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.

Step 2 –Lightly grease a 13×9-inch baking dish.

Step 3 –In a Dutch oven over medium-high heat, add the oil and the flour and cook, while whisking, until golden brown, about 5-7 minutes.

Step 4 –Stir the onion, the celery, the bell pepper, and the garlic into the flour mixture and cook, while stirring, until the veggies begin to soften, about 3 minutes.

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Step 5 –Stir the tomatoes, the broth, the okra, the corn, the Cajun seasoning, and the pepper into the veggie mixture and bring to a boil over medium-high heat.

Step 6 –Lower the heat to medium and cook, while stirring, until thickened, about 10 minutes.

Step 7 –While the mixture is cooking, combine the butter and the garlic in a bowl.

Step 8 –Brush both sides of the bread with the garlic butter.

Step 9 –Bake the bread until lightly golden, about 3 minutes.

Step 10 –Place the toasted bread in the food processor and pulse until they become coarsely crumbled. Be sure not to pulse too long or the crumbs will become too fine.

Step 11 –Cook the rice in the microwave following the package directions until just slightly undercooked, about 2 minutes.

Step 12 –Spoon the rice into the prepared baking dish.

Step 13 –Top the rice with the okra mixture and the breadcrumbs.

Step 14 –Bake until the breadcrumbs are golden brown, about 25-30 minutes.

Step 15 –Let the casserole stand for 10 minutes.

Step 16 –Serve.