Okra. It’s a love hate relationship because when it’s cooked in a skillet, saute pan, or in a stew situation, it gets sticky and slimy. Sure, this viscous consistency is helpful for thickening gumbos but personally, I do not enjoy that sensation and have played around with many cooking and prep methods over the last few years to find something that truly worked. So….I wanted to share that with your glorious self today. Let’s dive into how to cook okra without it being slimy, but first, let’s talk about why you’d want to eat okra in the first place.
Okra is a great source of fiber, folate, magnesium, and plant-based calcium. These nutrients help boost the nutritional profile of okra while it’s low in calories and highly unique (which makes it fun to try or throw into your regular rotation). The nutrients and compounds in okra make it an ideal food to support your health by providing antioxidants and compounds that help protect against cancer, cardiovascular disease, and some GI conditions.
Okra is in season in the summer and early fall, in the warmer months and is primarily grown in the south. When you buy okra, look for dry pods that do not have a significant amount of browning. Keep the okra in the fridge and use within a few days (less than 5 days for sure).
So now…how do you cook okra without it being slimy?
Here are 5 tips to cook slime free okra:
- Soak pods in vinegar 20-30 minutes before cooking. This works great, but honestly, I rarely seem to have the time or forethought before meal prep to do this one consistently.
- Grill Okra – When okra is cooked at a high heat, the slime factor is significantly diminished. Check out my favorite ways to grill okra below. Once you try it, you’ll be hooked and shocked at how easy and delicious okra can be.
- Roast Okra – Similarly to grilling, when cooked at a high temperature with a dry heat cooking method, the juices evaporate. Try slicing the okra to release the juices and then when roasting the vegetable, the juices will have a way to say “see you later” and disappear. If you don’t have a grill or don’t want to grill, check out how I roast okra below.
- Fry Okra – Batter and Fry your okra and again, you’ll have a high heat cooking method that will destroy the slime. This method would be great if you have black eyed peas, collard greens, and rice or cornbread to help roundout the meal but the actual batter process can be pretty labor intensive and may not be the best for midweek dinners. You can also find frozen breaded okra and bake/fry that will yield similar results.
- Cut your okra into strips (vs coins) to allow for more of the seeds and juices to stay on your cutting board and then stir-fry in a wok at high heat with a dash of vegetable or safflower oil. This is a great addition to stir-frys and provides such a fun shape/texture/taste but remember to have your pan hot when you add the okra and cook it above medium heat for best results.
Were those tips helpful? I sure hope so because I know they’ve made a huge difference in how I prepare okra and ultimately, how often I eat it.
Simple Non-Slimy Roasted Okra Recipe
- Slice okra pods into coins and toss with olive oil and seasoning of choice (salt and pepper, herbamare, or a high quality curry powder are all amazing and my regular go-tos!)
- Bake on parchment paper lined baking sheet at 400 degrees Fahrenheit for about 20 minutes until golden and crispy.
- Enjoy immediately for best results.
If you are inspired by grilling season and do not want to turn your oven on and heat up the house, I feel you and I’ve got you covered.
Easiest Grilled Okra Recipe – 2 options
- Wash and pat dry okra. Place in a large bowl and coat with safflower oil or other high temperature cooking oil.
- Add seasonings of choice – salt + pepper, tablespoon curry powder + dash of salt if using unsalted curry powder, or 1/4 teaspoon herbamare or other all purpose seasoning.
- Skewer okra on metal or wood skewers whole. Thread skewer through narrow side of okra to stack many pods on the one skewer. This will also increase surface area and decrease cooking time.
- Grill on preheated grill (on low medium heat) 3-5 minutes on each side or until darkened and crisp!
- Serve and enjoy!
- Instead of skewers, place whole or sliced okra in a grill basket with high heat oil and seasonings of choice.
- Place grill basket on grill and grill for about 10 minutes, turning vegetables midway through.
Grilled or roasted okra goes well with roasted/grilled/mashed potatoes and your protein of choice. It also works great as a vegetable for a Mediterranean bowl with cool creamy hummus, crunchy falafel, and warm pita. If you’ve added the Indian spices, try it with rice and a lentil dal for a solid, nourishing and delish meal!
If you want to see this super simple recipe in action, I will be roasting okra tomorrow on my Facebook live at 12:30pm EST. The replay will be posted below afterwards if you miss it.
If you don’t like the slime, but want to give okra a try, this recipe and preparation method is for you! Comment below if you’ve tried it and let me know how it worked for you!