There is no Southern food that is as loved and hated as okra. The deeply divisive vegetable has a unique consistency and can have a very slimy texture if undercooked, likely causing any would-be okra fans to run for the door. Despite the potential for sliminess, when cooked properly, okra isn't a gross, scary vegetable but a versatile ingredient that can take on a variety of tasty forms.
Known as a mucilaginous food, which can feel gooey or slimy when cooked, okra is best prepared either quickly cooked (such as stir-fried) or cooked for long amounts of time (such as a gumbo) to remove the slimy mouthfeel. You can also add acidic ingredients to help break down the consistency. From a vegetable side dish to the main event, these are the okra recipes that will turn everyone into an instant fan.
1. Southern Fried Okra
You can't talk about the best okra recipes, without talking about Southern fried okra. A foolproof method of cooking okra, this Southern vegetable is battered in an egg and buttermilk mixture, then tossed into the deep fryer until golden brown. The crunchy pieces are the perfect bites of okra you'll eat like popcorn.
2. Stewed Okra and Tomatoes
Stewed okra and tomatoes is a classic Southern dish that you must try. Cook okra, tomatoes, bacon, and onion all together to make this side dish thick like stew. Best paired with your favorite Southern fare, give this a try and you'll see how tasty this veggie can be.
Get the recipe at Spicy Southern Kitchen.
3. Okra Cornmeal Cakes with Cilantro Lime Yogurt Dip
If the consistency of okra is what bothers you, you'll forget all about that with these scrumptious Okra Cornmeal Cakes. Crispy on the outside, and soft on the inside, these okra cakes sprinkled in black pepper and paired with the perfect dipping sauce will fly off the plate in no time.
Get the recipe at Running to the Kitchen.
4. Instant Pot Gumbo
You can't have an okra recipe list without including Gumbo! Chicken, sausage, shellfish, and okra round out this classic Creole dish cooked in the Instant Pot. Serve with white rice and a side of hot sauce.
5. Bacon Wrapped Okra Poppers
When in doubt, wrap it in bacon. Bacon Wrapped Okra Poppers are a Southern appetizer done right. Stuffed with cajun spiced shrimp and two different kinds of cheese, then wrapped in bacon, even okra haters will love this treat.
Get the recipe at I Heart Publix.
6. Grilled Okra
Grilled okra skewers are an easy recipe that is perfect for backyard barbecues. Skewer okra, drizzle with olive oil, then grill until charred. You can add some creole seasoning and a chipotle dip for an added bonus.
Get the recipe at Add a Pinch.
7. Okra Succotash
Your family will rave about this Okra Succotash meant for a summer day. Saute corn, cherry tomatoes, red onion, and okra just until the tomatoes begin to blister, and serve.
Get the recipe at Love and Zest.
8. Orange Balsamic Roasted Okra
Take your roasted okra to a whole new level with this Orange Balsamic Roasted Okra recipe. Perfectly roasted okra is covered in a sweet, tangy orange balsamic glaze. Healthy, and insanely delicious, this easy gourmet okra recipe will make you love okra in a single bite.
Get the recipe at The Endless Meal.
9. Four-Ingredient Stir-Fry Okra
Want a quick stir-fry recipe? Try this Four-Ingredient Stir-Fry Okra. Sichuan peppercorn, okra, soy sauce, and dried chiles are cooked in a wok on medium-high heat until the okra is sightly charred. Served as a side or a meal on rice.
Get the recipe at Omnivore's Cookbook.
This article was originally published March 18, 2020