Fresh okra is enough to make a Southern gal’s heart skip a beat — it’s not in season long, but while it is, there’s more than you think you can use. But one of these fab recipes will surely prove you wrong (and also prove that okra doesn’t always deserve its reputation of being slimy).
1. Okra parmigiana
Image: Spicy Southern Kitchen
Fresh okra is pan-fried in cornmeal batter and covered in plenty of tomato sauce and melted cheese in this unusual okra parmigiana recipe that tweaks the classic Italian eggplant dish.
Image: No Recipes
A jar of tangy, smoky okra — or smokra — makes the ideal crunchy companion for that stack of smoked brisket you just filled your plate with.
3. Fried okra
Image: Add a Pinch
Cooking up perfectly-crispy-but-still-tender fried okra may not require the practiced hand of a Southern girl — but it helps.
4. Jerk-spiced okra fries
Image: Pen and Fork
These jerk-seasoned okra fries are baked in the oven until they’re crunchy and golden brown and are topped with a zesty tomato drizzle.
5. Okra, potato and chickpea tagine
Image: The Inventive Vegetarian
Traditionally cooked in a tagine, saffron, turmeric, cinnamon and a host of other spices are combined to finish this aromatic and filling North African stew.
6. “Gumbo-laya” with spicy sausage, chicken and shrimp
Image: The Cozy Apron
Jambalaya meets gumbo in this spicy and satisfying stew with intense flavors that only deepen and intensify after a day or two.
7. Persian okra stew (khoresht bamieh)
Image: Family Spice
Included in stews the world over, okra plays an important role in this Persian stew made with chunks of tender beef, tomato and freshly squeezed lime.
8. Shrimp, bacon and okra “Creole-Cajun” zucchini pasta
This New Orleans-inspired “Creole-Cajun” dish lets you dig into some of that rich NOLA flavor without completely derailing your diet.
9. Pickled okra
Image: Use Real Butter
For food-in-jars fans, this recipe proves that pickled okra actually makes the best pickle. Crunchy on the outside and filled with juicy pockets of spiced pickling brine on the inside for a bite you’re not going to find in your typical supermarket pickle.
10. Okra chips
Struggle with the sappy texture of okra? Roast thin slices of okra in an oven to caramelize and crisp the divisive vegetable for an outstanding okra chip appetizer.
11. Cajun okra
Image: Girl Makes Food
Used to thicken soups and stews, sautéed okra — especially in recipes like this Cajun okra — just soaks up all the seasonings in the pan for a spicy side dish that will put your stepmother’s potato salad to shame.
12. Crispy Indian okra (bhindi)
Image: My Heart Beets
Pan-fry onions, chilies and baby okra in ghee, garlic and ginger for a crispy Indian okra treat you can enjoy on warm roti. Add garam masala or mango powder if the mood strikes.
13. Roasted okra, corn and tomato salsa
Image: MJ and Hungryman
Serve this earthy and unexpected roasted salsa with grilled chicken or pork when you need a change of pace.
14. Okra and tomatoes
Image: Add a Pinch
Okra and tomatoes is a Southern staple, forming the foundation of gumbo and often served as a side with fresh steamed rice.
15. Roasted okra, tomato and garlic pilaf
Image: Food Fitness Fresh Air
Roasted okra, tomatoes and garlic are tossed with tender bulgur wheat, lemon and fresh basil to make this sophisticated pilaf stand out from the crowd.
16. Creole beef and okra soup
You don’t have to have a tagine to make an amazing beef and okra dish. Beef short ribs, okra and a slew of vegetables will have your family eating bowl after bowl of this Creole soup.