Summer Bounty – Fresh Okra

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Okra is either one of those vegetables that you love or you simply love to hate. Known for its scrubby texture when overcooked, okra is actually crunchy, crisp, and absolutely delicious when handled properly. Here are some unique and traditional okra recipes for ways to incorporate more of this warm-weather veggie into your healthy diet.

Besides interesting taste and texture, okra is rich in numerous vitamins, minerals, and nutrients that are responsible for the health benefits the plant has to offer. Here are some of okra’s health benefits:

  • Helps Prevent Diabetes
  • Okra Promotes a Healthy Pregnancy
  • Aids with Kidney Disease
  • Supports Colon Health
  • Aids with Respiratory Issues like Asthma, and
  • Promotes Healthy Skin.

Give some of these recipes a try and you might change some minds about okra!!

Olive-Cured Okra Pickles

(Adapted from an Eating Well recipe)


  • 2 cups pitted Kalamata olives, rinsed
  • 32 large fresh basil leaves
  • 8 cloves garlic, crushed
  • 2 teaspoons fennel seed
  • 2 pounds medium okra
  • 4 cups rice vinegar
  • 2 cups sherry vinegar
  • 2 cups water
  • ¼ cup
  • 4 teaspoons kosher salt


  1. Divide olives, basil, and garlic among 8 clean pint-size jars. Add okra.
  2. Bring rice vinegar, sherry vinegar, water, sugar and salt to a boil in a large saucepan over high heat. Reduce heat to maintain a simmer and cook for 5 minutes. Carefully ladle the vinegar mixture into the jars, leaving about ½ inch of headspace. Let cool to room temperature, about 30 minutes. Refrigerate for at least 24 hours before serving.

To make ahead: Refrigerate for up to 2 weeks.

Equipment: 8 pint-size (16 oz.) canning jars with lids

**I really wanted to try this with green olives, but it’s hard to find fresh ones that are already pitted, but never fear I have an olive pitter on the way.


Italian Okra Kabobs


  • 8 ounces large peeled and deveined raw shrimp, tail-on
  • 8 ounces turkey kielbasa, sliced into 1⁄2-inch rounds
  • 6 ounces small okra pods, halved lengthwise (about 1½ cups)
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 2 teaspoons dry Italian dressing mix
  • ½ teaspoon black pepper
  • 2 tablespoons salted butter, melted
  • 1 teaspoon lemon juice (from 1 lemon)
  • 1 teaspoon hot sauce
  • Lemon wedges


  1. Preheat grill to high (450° F to 500° F); or heat a grill pan over high, and lightly grease. Combine shrimp, sausage, okra, olive oil, Italian Seasoning, and black pepper in a large bowl; toss to coat. Thread mixture onto 8 (8-inch) skewers, with sausage rounds inside shrimp and alternating with okra slices.
  2. Place kebabs on lightly greased grill grate or in grill pan. Grill, uncovered, until okra is charred and shrimp is cooked through, about 1 1⁄2 minutes per side. Transfer kebabs to a serving plate. Stir together butter, lemon juice, and hot sauce; brush on kebabs. Serve with lemon wedges.

Serves 4. Each serving contains Calories 396, Fat 15 g., Cholesterol 90 mg., Sodium 745 mg., Carbohydrates 46 g., Fiber 4 g., Protein 18 g.

Real Southern Succotash


  • 10 ounces fresh or frozen baby lima beans (2 cups)
  • 4 center-cut bacon slices
  • 1 cup chopped sweet onion (from 1 small onion)
  • 4 ounces fresh okra, cut into ½-inch-thick slices (1 cup)
  • 1 garlic clove, finely chopped (1 tsp.)
  • 3 cups fresh corn kernels (4 ears)
  • 1¼ teaspoons kosher salt
  • ¼ teaspoon black pepper
  • 3 tablespoons butter
  • 5 ounces cherry tomatoes, halved (1 cup)
  • ¼ cup thinly sliced fresh basil


  1. Place lima beans in a medium saucepan, and add water to cover. Bring to a boil over medium-high. Reduce to medium-low, and simmer until beans are just tender, 8 to 10 minutes. Drain and set aside.
  2. While beans simmer, place bacon slices in a large cast-iron skillet over medium. Cook until crisp, about 8 minutes, turning once after 5 minutes. Transfer bacon to paper towels; crumble and set aside. Reserve drippings in skillet.
  3. Add chopped onion, fresh okra, and garlic to skillet over medium, and cook, stirring often, until onion is just tender, about 6 minutes. Stir in fresh corn kernels, salt, pepper, and drained beans, and cook, stirring often, until corn is tender and bright yellow, 5 to 6 minutes. Add butter, and cook, stirring constantly, until butter is melted, about 1 minute. Remove from heat.
  4. Stir in halved cherry tomatoes and sliced basil; sprinkle with crumbled bacon, and serve immediately.

Serves 6.

Okra Casserole


  • 3 tablespoons canola oil
  • 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
  • ½ cup chopped yellow onion
  • ½ cup chopped celery
  • ½ cup chopped green bell pepper
  • 2 teaspoons minced garlic
  • 1 (14.5-oz.) can diced tomatoes
  • 3 cups vegetable broth
  • 1½ pounds fresh okra, trimmed and cut into 1½- to 2-inch pieces
  • 1 cup fresh corn kernels (from 2 ears)
  • 2 teaspoons Cajun seasoning
  • ¼ teaspoon black pepper
  • ¼ cup (2 oz.) salted butter, melted
  • 2 garlic cloves, pressed
  • 8 (1-inch-thick) French bread slices
  • 2 Cups cooked brown rice (you may also use quinoa)


  1. Preheat oven to 350°F. Lightly grease a 13 × 9-inch baking dish. Whisk together oil and flour in a Dutch oven; cook over medium-high, whisking, until mixture is golden brown, 5 to 7 minutes. Stir in onion, celery, bell pepper, and minced garlic, and cook, stirring, until vegetables begin to soften, about 3 minutes.
  2. Stir in tomatoes, broth, okra, corn, Cajun seasoning, and pepper, and bring to a boil over medium-high. Reduce heat to medium, and cook, stirring, until slightly thickened, 10 minutes.
  3. Meanwhile, combine melted butter and pressed garlic. Brush both sides of French bread slices with garlic butter, and bake in preheated oven until lightly golden, about 3 minutes per side. Remove from oven, and process in a food processor until coarsely crumbled.
  4. Spoon cooked rice or quinoa into prepared baking dish. Top with okra mixture and breadcrumbs.
  5. Bake in preheated oven until breadcrumbs are golden brown, 25 to 30 minutes. Let stand 10 minutes before serving.

Serves 8.

Bacon-Wrapped Grilled Okra


  • ¼ cup extra-virgin olive oil, divided
  • 2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
  • 1 teaspoon honey
  • ½ teaspoon grated lemon rind
  • ¼ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • ⅛ teaspoon kosher salt
  • ½ pound okra pods, cut in half lengthwise
  • 8 slices of bacon cut in half
  • Cooking spray


  1. Preheat grill to medium-high heat.
  2. Combine 3 tablespoons oil, vinegar, honey, rind, pepper, and salt in a small bowl, stirring with a whisk.
  3. Wrap okra halves with bacon strips. Thread wrapped okra onto 8 (12-inch) skewers. Brush wrapped okra evenly with remaining 1 tablespoon oil.
  4. Place okra on grill rack coated with cooking spray; grill 8 minutes or until bacon is crisp and okra is crisp-tender, turning once after 4 minutes. Brush wrapped okra with half of balsamic mixture; grill 1 minute. Remove from heat; drizzle with remaining balsamic mixture.