Fresh Okra – Abundant in the South

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Drought nor heat can hold back a high okra yield, this hardy vegetable is much more water tolerant than most of your garden vegetable plants, and they prefer full sunlight, conditions which are pretty common in southeastern North Carolina!
Okra has a long history originating in Egypt, and provides many health benefits. It even has been attributed to the long-lasting beauty of Cleopatra.

This sometimes prickly vegetable contains vitamins A and C and is a good source of iron and calcium. The superior fiber found in okra helps to stabilize the blood sugar by curbing the rate at which sugar is absorbed from the intestinal tract. Okra fiber is excellent for feeding good bacteria (probiotics). It is a supreme vegetable for those feeling weak, exhausted, and suffering from depression and is used for healing ulcers and keeping joints limber. If you tire of cutting and freezing and preserving okra, let’s grow some more and cut it to hang and dry, it will provide a beautiful dried vegetable for decorating like our ancestors!

Save the Okra!! Give these interesting recipes a try!

Summer Shrimp and Okra Bowl


  • 2½ tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil, divided
  • 2 tablespoons coarse yellow cornmeal
  • 10 ounce fresh whole okra, halved lengthwise
  • 1 large red bell pepper, halved
  • 2 teaspoons honey
  • 1 teaspoon salt-free Creole seasoning
  • 8 ounces large shrimp, peeled and deveined
  • 1½ cups chopped tomato
  • ½ cup sliced red onion
  • ½ cup loosely packed fresh flat-leaf parsley leaves
  • ¼ cup thinly diagonally sliced celery
  • 1 tablespoon red wine vinegar
  • ¾ teaspoon kosher salt
  • 8 thin slices red Fresno chile


  1. Preheat broiler to high with oven rack 6 inches from heat. Line a rimmed baking sheet with foil.
  2. Combine 1 tablespoon oil, cornmeal, and okra in bowl. Place okra and bell pepper halves, skin side up, on prepared pan. Broil 10 minutes.
  3. Wrap bell pepper in foil; let stand 10 minutes. Peel and chop. Line pan with foil.
  4. Combine honey, Creole seasoning, and shrimp in a bowl; add to pan. Broil 2 to 3 minutes on each side or until done.
  5. Combine okra, bell pepper, shrimp mixture, tomato, and remaining ingredients in a bowl; toss.
  6. Serve over your choice of rice.

Serves 4. Each serving contains Calories 206, Fat 9 g., Cholesterol 71 mg., Sodium 465 mg., Carbohydrates 21 g., Fiber 5 g., Protein 11 g.

Sausage Gumbo with Okra


  • 12 ounces of hot Italian turkey sausage, casings removed
  • 2 teaspoons olive oil
  • 1 large onion, chopped
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 teaspoon Cajun seasoning
  • 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
  • 4 cups chopped fresh tomatoes
  • 4 cups reduced sodium chicken broth
  • 2½ cups fresh okra, sliced into small rounds
  • ¾ cup instant brown rice
  • 1 bunch green onions, trimmed and sliced for serving


  1. Cook sausage in a Dutch oven over medium-high heat, breaking it up into small pieces with a wooden spoon, until cooked through, about 5 minutes. Transfer to a medium bowl lined with paper towels.
  2. Return the pan to medium-high heat and add oil. Add onion and cook, stirring often, until translucent, about 2 minutes. Add garlic and Cajun seasoning and cook, stirring often, until fragrant, about 30 seconds.
  3. Add flour and cook, stirring to coat the vegetables, until the flour browns, about 1 minute. Add tomatoes and okra and cook, stirring occasionally, until they begin to release their juices, about 2 minutes. Stir in broth, cover, increase heat to high and bring to a boil.
  4. Return the sausage to the pan, along with rice; reduce the heat to a simmer.
  5. Cook until the okra is heated through and the rice is tender, about 10 minutes. Serve sprinkled with sliced scallions, if using.
  6. You may serve over riced cauliflower to reduce carbohydrate count.

Serves 8. Each 1 cup serving contains Calories 165, Fat 6 g., Cholesterol 25 mg., Sodium 672 mg., Carbohydrates 18 g.(using the brown rice), Fiber 3 g., Protein 11 g.

Simple Roasted Okra


  • 1 lb. okra (smaller okra is more tender, about 30 pods)
  • 2 tablespoon olive oil
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • ½ teaspoon garlic powder
  • ¼ teaspoon pepper
  • Variation: use 2 tablespoons dry ranch seasoning pack in place of the seasonings above, just for a change


  1. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. Spray a sheet pan and place in the oven while pre-heating.
  2. Cut the tops off of the okra or cut into rounds. Place in a bowl and drizzle with the olive oil. Sprinkle in the seasonings, salt, pepper, and garlic powder, or the dry ranch pack. Stir to coat.
  3. Once the oven has preheated, lay the seasoned okra onto the pan, (I preheat the pan to give the okra a little extra seer when you lay it on the pan).
    Roast for 18-22 minutes or until starting to brown.
  4. To cook in an air fryer, cook at 360 degrees for 15-20 minutes.

Serves 4. Each serving contains Calories 107, Fat 7 g., Sodium 299 mg., Carbohydrates 8 g., Fiber 4 g., Protein 2 g.

Mediterranean-Style Okra


  • Extra Virgin Olive oil
  • 1 small onion, chopped
  • 3 garlic cloves, minced
  • 2 small green chilis, such as jalapeno, chopped
  • 1 lb. fresh cut okra sliced into rounds
  • Salt and pepper
  • 1 teaspoon ground allspice
  • ½ teaspoon paprika
  • 1 ½ cup crushed tomatoes
  • ½ cup water
  • 1 tomato sliced into rounds
  • Juice of ½ lime or more to taste


  1. Heat the olive oil in a large skillet over medium high heat until shimmering but not smoking.
  2. Lower the heat to medium and add the onions, garlic and chopped jalapeno peppers. Cook for 4–5 minutes stirring regularly (do not let the garlic cook too much).
  3. Add the okra and sauté for 5-7 minutes over medium high heat.
    Season with salt, black pepper and spices. Add the crushed tomatoes and water. Stir to combine. Add the tomato slices on top.
  4. Bring to a boil and then turn the heat to low and cover most of the way (leave a small opening at the top).
  5. Let the okra simmer on low heat for 20-25 minutes or until the okra has softened. Uncover and add the lime juice to your taste.
  6. Remove from heat and serve over rice or with warm pita bread.

Serves 4. Each serving contains Calories 111, Fat 4 g., Sodium 132 mg., Carbohydrates 18 g., Fiber 6 g., Protein 4 g.