29 of Our Best Recipes Using Okra
Okra is one of those staple summer vegetables that evokes memories of family dinners crowded around a big pot of gumbo, or biting into the crispy pods right off the grill. While the classic preparations, such as deep fried okra or okra and tomatoes are undeniably great, this veggie is far more versatile than you might expect. In fact, it's essential to some of our favorite light and vibrant recipes, as well as heartier, comfort dishes. Here are our best okra recipes to keep you falling in love with new ways to cook the vegetable all season long.
Pan-Fried Okra with Cornmeal
Using two medium skillets gives the okra plenty of room to cook up extra crispy. Or if you prefer, you can make all of the okra in a single large skillet.
Grilled Creole Chicken and Okra
Getting a nice char on these fresh ingredients is key to a flavorful grilled dish. The hot sauce is optional, but it gives the extra kick this Creole dish longs for.
Creole Shrimp and Okra
Think of this main as shrimp and grits with a distinctly Cajun attitude. Halved okra not only looks gorgeous, but it'll also give off less "slime" than chopped okra. Let the vegetables caramelize a bit in the pan for a richer base.
Charred Okra with Tomatillos
This healthy side dish is a fantastic way to get your daily serving of veggies.
Smoked Pimiento Cheese Hush Puppies with Pickled-Okra Tartar Sauce
Nothing says Southern summer quite like buttermilk hush puppies filled with diced pimientos, smoked mozzarella, sharp Cheddar, and crispy prosciutto. Dip these bad boys into an herby sauce, packed with our favorite okra for a delectable bite.
Prosciutto-Wrapped Grilled Okra
A sweet-tangy balsamic glaze makes this summertime appetizer irresistible. Using two skewers for the wrapped okra makes it easier to flip on the grill.
Heirloom Tomatoes with Charred Okra, Vidalias, and Malt Mayo
Malt vinegar has a mid-palate weight that pairs nicely with the acidic tomatoes, crispy okra, and sweet onion.
Charred Summer Vegetable Salad
Charred okra is the surprising star of this warm and hearty salad. As the okra cooks, allow it to brown in the pan and don't be tempted to stir it too much. For protein, add cubed, grilled chicken, which pairs well with sweet corn and smoked okra. If you've ever wondered why baby spinach is so tender, it's because the greens are harvested before they're fully grown.
Okra and Rice Casserole
Okra is delicious deep-fried, but they are more versatile than you think. The smaller pods are the most tender so look for ones 3 - 4 inches long. Refrigerate and cook within a few days. Okra "slime" naturally thickens stews and soups. The substance is released as you cut the pods, so we suggest cutting them into larger chunks, rather than thin slices. This dish is simple to make, but it packs a surprising amount of flavor from tender sautéed okra, sweet corn, Cajun spices, and buttery garlic breadcrumbs.
Black-Eyed Pea, Bacon, and Pickled Okra Bruschetta
This innovative bruschetta recipe makes a garlic, olive oil and black-eyed pea paste and is topped with crumbled bacon and pickled okra rounds.
Cellophane Noodles with Crab, Okra, and Tasso
Spread Louisiana favorites—lightly charred okra, seared tasso ham, sweet and juicy crab—over a skein of wok-fried cellophane noodles in this East-meets-Cajun platter. Tasso is available at most butchers, but you can sub in pancetta in a pinch.
Roasted Potato-and-Okra Salad
This fresh yet hearty side dish features roasted potatoes instead of the boiled ones traditionally served as part of the Lowcountry-style spread.
Charred Okra with Tomatoes
A serrated peeler works like magic to peel plum tomatoes, sparing you the hassle of blanching and shocking in ice water to get the skins off.
Okra and Chickpeas in Fresh Tomato Sauce
Serve this colorful medley as a side or a boldly flavored vegetarian main dish.
Charred Shrimp and Okra Bowl
This dish keeps the classic elements of gumbo but with a fresh identity. Traditional? No. Completely delicious? Yes!
Chile-Rubbed Chops with Sweet Potatoes and Grilled Okra
We love a rub. It's easier and less messy than a marinade and gives through-and-through flavoring.
Shrimp and Sausage Gumbo
Our gumbo has what you'd expect, like bell pepper, onions, and celery, plus a few surprises, such as canned tomatoes (because we think they add a nice touch of acidity). Our end result is a vibrant, cayenne-kissed dish that allows all of the ingredients to shine. Now we wouldn't dare call this the best recipe you've ever tasted—we know that's the one you grew up enjoying. That said, this is the finest pot of gumbo our Test Kitchen has ever turned out, and that's saying a lot.
The Ultimate Summer Tomato Salad
Everything about this stunner of a salad screams summer. Visit your local farmers’ market, favorite roadside produce stand, or get your hands on a CSA to bring this seasonal salad to life with the freshest flavors possible. With a variety of vibrant flavors and textures—all tied together with an addictive Herbed Avocado-Tahini Dressing—this dish puts a standard salad to shame. You’ll be sure to turn heads with this beauty at your next family cook out or weekend block party; of course, it’s totally worth making all for yourself, too… because it’s just that good, and you deserve it.
Snapper Baked in Parchment with Spring Vegetables
This method makes French-style cooking easy. Each parcel of fish and veggies steams with its own delicious juices (a technique called en papillote). The package concentrates the flavors, and when opened at the table, it releases a dramatic cloud of aromatic steam.
Best Ever Seafood Gumbo
The genius of this menu is that most of the work can be done ahead of time.
Turkey and Andouille Sausage Gumbo
This gumbo is a great use for leftover roasted turkey, though cooked chicken will also work. We skip the long-stirred roux here in favor of filé powder, a thickener made from the sassafras plant; look for it on the spice aisle. For the best results, stir in the filé powder off the heat.
Skillet Rice with Shrimp and Chicken
Simple substitutions give these hearty dishes flavorful twists: Swap sausage for chicken, crabmeat for shrimp, or make a vegetarian option by subbing vegetable stock and omitting proteins.
Hearty Beef and Freezer Veggie Soup
Is there anything easier or more comforting than a bowl of beef and vegetable soup on a cold winter’s evening? When time permits, most cooks enjoy making a pot of savory soup from scratch; braising meat, chopping fresh vegetables, and letting it simmer on the stove for hours while fresh bread bakes in the oven. But on a busy weeknight, there just isn’t enough time for all that work. Let convenience products from your grocery store help you stir up a batch of satisfying soup.
Shrimp and Chicken Gumbo
This lighter version of classic gumbo uses supermarket shortcuts to come together in just over an hour. Then the old school ingredients like okra and shrimp truly steal the show.
Sweet-Heat Pickled Okra
Hands-down, we’ve never found a pickled okra we loved quite as much as this easy, homemade recipe. With a wonderful crunch, and a fantastic balance of tang, sweetness, and heat, these pickled pods would be a welcome addition to any charcuterie board or bloody Mary bar. If okra isn’t your veggie of choice, this recipe works equally well using fresh green beans. If you want to amp up the heat, simply add more peppers.
Sprinkled with a Cajun seasoning blend and brushed with a mixture of lemon juice, hot sauce, and melted butter, these kebabs pack a flavorful punch. Even better, they cook in minutes. Make sure the grill is very hot so that the okra will char. And choose smaller okra pods; they are more tender and will fit better on the skewers.
Snapper with Corn-Okra Relish
Oven-Fried Smashed Okra
Forget frying—this oven-fried version delivers the must-have crunch of fried okra without the hot mess of oil and all the calories that come with it. The secret is gently smashing the okra pods—you can use a skillet or rolling pin if you don’t have a meat mallet—it opens them up and provides more surface area (i.e., more opportunities for extra-crispy action). For the best results, pick out smaller okra pods; the larger they grow, the tougher they get.
Edamame, Okra, and Green Pea Korma
Slowly softening the onion and garlic is key to a silky, creamy blended sauce. If you have Madras curry powder, use it for slightly more heat and richer flavor; standard curry powder will also be great.