11 Amazing Ways to Cook with Okra (That Go Way Beyond Gumbo)

published Aug 26, 2023
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Credit: Photo: Alex Lepe; Food Styling: Nicole Rufus

While there are plenty of green veggies to choose from in the produce aisle, okra sometimes goes unnoticed. We’re here with a bold proclamation: it deserves your full attention! Okra has often been mislabeled as one-note both flavor-wise and texturally, but that couldn’t be further from the truth. “Okra deserves much more love than it gets,” writes our culinary producer Nicole in her recipe for roasted okra

While the beloved Southern vegetable is slender and small — only growing about 3 to 4 inches max — man does it pack a punch. For the home cook, it serves as a canvas for tons of delicious recipes, whether satisfying vegetarian meals and side dishes that range in preparation: simmered, stewed, fried, and even pickled!

To get you on your way to becoming an okra optimist, we gathered 11 of our favorite okra recipes to make this simple, earthy, and very versatile vegetable come to life. 

1 / 11
Fried Okra

It doesn't get much better than this recipe for crispy, beer-battered fried okra. (Bonus: We've got two equally delicious ways to prepare the pods.)

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2 / 11
Roasted Okra

If you're new to cooking with the vegetable, start here. When you give okra the roasted treatment, they shed much of the natural slipperiness and take on the most incredible crispy, caramelized char.

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3 / 11
Pickled Okra

Okra's peak season is the summer, so pickling the vegetable is a great way to enjoy warm weather sunshine any time of year.

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4 / 11
Air Fryer Okra

Tossed in a mixture of cornmeal and panko for essential crunch, this crispy snack is best served alongside remoulade sauce for dunking.

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5 / 11
Snookums’s Okra Soup

When cooked the right way, okra is a key ingredient in a filling and hearty soup or stew. This okra soup gets wonderful flavor from fresh tomatoes and is served over fluffy rice.

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6 / 11
Sheet Pan Roasted Okra, Black-Eyed Peas, and Tomatoes

A Lowcountry staple in its own right, the black eyed pea was destined to be roasted with okra on a sheet pan for a simple, glorious dinner. The two vegetables not only cook evenly at the same time, but the end result is a melange of perfectly crunchy and brown vegetables.

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7 / 11
Grilled Okra with Spicy Chipotle Dipping Sauce

Okra on the grill is delicious: It cooks quickly over high heat and with each pod remaining intact, the resulting texture becomes an enticing bite of charred and creamy.

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8 / 11
Southern-Style Grits with Okra, Corn, and Goat Cheese

A bowl fit for brunch or dinner: Creamy stone-ground grits are topped with crisp roasted okra, buttery sautéed corn, and tangy goat cheese.

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9 / 11
Perfect Succotash

A big platter of succotash is a celebration of all the vibrant vegetables coming into season during the summer: sweet corn, baby lima beans, ripe red tomatoes, and tender okra.

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10 / 11

Okra is often added to gumbo in lieu of chicken and sausage in central and northern parts of Louisiana. Its almost-starchy consistency is a natural thickener for hearty stew. If you are a fan of the vegetable (which, of course you are!), this recipe calls for adding it to the pot when you add the garlic.

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11 / 11
Ital Stew

Ital is the core of the whole foods–based vegetarian eating patterns that Rastafarians follow — it's said to contain the vital and beneficial essence of plants. This stew is literally loaded with a variety of nutrient-rich plants, including an abundance of okra.

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