How to Make Pan Roasted Okra

Pan Roasted Okra, a simple vegan okra recipes pan fried in olive oil and dusted with paprika-spiced cornmeal in a skillet. Easy, fresh, and delicious!

Pan fried okra on a blue plate with a silver fork.

What are your thoughts on okra? To tell you the truth, I never gave okra much thought until recently. I knew it as the green circular vegetable in my gumbo and when it is breaded and fried, but I never really considered okra a vegetable to eat everyday.

That is until I realized how delicious okra is pan fried. Many people avoid cooking okra on its own because it has a slimy texture, but when prepared properly with a vinegar soak it can be pan roasted to be browned and delicious.

Are you ready to change your mind about okra? Let me know show you the super simple, 7 ingredient recipe that will make you change your tune and fall in love with okra. Let’s do it!

Assorted okra pods on white marble.

What is okra and where is it from?

Okra is a plant in the mallow family that is revered for its edible green pods. Much debate has happened around the origin of okra, but it is generally thought to have first been cultivated in India and Southeast Asia and was eventually brought to portions of West Africa. From there the small pods were brought to the American South by slave traders and it became a staple of the United States’ southern cuisine.

A cast iron skillet with okra.

How to cook okra without the slime

When okra is cooked its seeds create a gelatinous substance, which makes it a great addition to soups and stews because it is a naturally thickener (think gumbo). However, when it is cooked on its own the slimy mouthfeel is a turnoff for some people. This is why okra is often deep fried, which makes it crispy…but also makes it generally unhealthy.

However, it’s super simple to cook okra without the slime if you follow these steps:

  1. Add water to a large mixing bowl and add about ¼ cup vinegar, mixing to combine
  2. Soak okra in vinegar water for 30 minutes
  3. Remove okra, rinse, and prepare without the slime!

By doing these simple steps you’ll be able to roast okra without the frying oil and unhealthy breading. The okra will still be on the softer side as it is a naturally soft vegetable, but you’ll remove the gooey mouthfeel (have I scared you away from okra yet?).

How to roast okra in a pan

Roasting okra in a pan is a super simple way to prepare okra and ensure it stays healthy without frying oils and breading. I personally love my cast iron skillet for those perfectly browned okra pods, but any large pan will do.

First, you’ll heat a skillet with oil over medium heat until warm. Then add okra and saute, stirring often to brown all sides (about 10 minutes). Then add your spices. A simple salt and pepper sprinkle will do, but I like to add a cornmeal and paprika dusting to get that “fried” feeling without actually deep frying the okra.

A dark plate with green okra on a white table.

Pan Roasted Okra: Tips, tricks & tools

This super simple okra recipe does not require many tips or tools, however there are a few things that making preparing it a bit easier.

  • Tools: I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again, a cast iron skillet is a healthy kitchen essential
  • Ingredients: I use this smoked sea salt, this cornmeal powder, and this paprika, all made by companies I have researched to ensure they are environmentally friendly
  • Special dietary considerations: this okra recipe is vegan, gluten-free, and nut-free (and seed-free) so it’s a great choice if you have dinner guests with allergies

I hope you enjoy this simple Pan Fried Okra recipe and that it inspires you to think outside the “normal” vegetable box and try something new! Are you already an okra eater? Drop me a comment and let me know your favorite way to prepare it.

Okra on a plate on a white and blue table.


Craving more simple vegetable side dish recipes? Check out our Warm Marinated Olives and Smoked Paprika Skillet Potatoes recipes, both plant-based vegetable dishes with lots of flavor.

Did you make this Pan Roasted Okra recipe? Leave a comment below and rate the recipe to let us know how it turned out. Save this okra recipe for later by pinning to your favorite Pinterest board and make sure to tag me on Fork in the Road’s Instagram to show me your okra creations!

Print

Pan Roasted Okra

Pan fried okra on a blue plate with a silver fork.

Pan Roasted Okra, a simple vegan okra recipes pan fried in olive oil and dusted with paprika-spiced cornmeal in a skillet. Easy, fresh, and delicious!

  • Author: Kristina Todini, RDN
  • Prep Time: 30 minutes
  • Cook Time: 15 minutes
  • Total Time: 45 minutes
  • Yield: 2 1-cup portions
  • Category: Salads & Sides
  • Method: Sautéing
  • Cuisine: American

Ingredients

  • ¼ cup vinegar
  • ⅛ cup cornmeal
  • ¼ teaspoon paprika
  • ¼ teaspoon garlic powder
  • ½ teaspoon sea salt
  • ¼ teaspoon black pepper
  • 1 teaspoon oil
  • 1 pound (450g) fresh okra, stemmed

Instructions

  1. To prepare okra: fill a large mixing bowl with water and vinegar and soak okra for 30 minutes. Rinse and pat dry.
  2. To make paprika-spiced cornmeal: Mix together cornmeal, paprika, garlic powder, sea salt, and black pepper in a small dish and set aside.
  3. To cook okra: Heat olive oil in a skillet on medium heat. When hot, add okra and saute, stirring often to brown on all sides, about 15 minutes. When okra is browned, sprinkled spiced cornmeal powder in pan with okra and toss in coat. Remove from heat and eat immediately.

Notes

Notes // Tips

  • Cooking okra on medium heat for longer will allow it to brown but will also prevent the slimy mouthfeel that often comes with the vegetable.
  • If you prefer to serve with a dipping sauce, try a vegan avocado dip.

Leftovers & Storage: For best results, each the okra immediately after cooking. Because okra gets soft and mushy easily, it will soften during refrigeration and reheating. This does not mean it won’t be tasty if reheated, though.

Nutrition: This simple vegan pan roasted okra recipe is a light and fresh side dish is low in fat, low in sodium, and high in fiber, potassium, and vitamin C.

Nutrition

  • Serving Size: 1 1-cup serving
  • Calories: 150
  • Sugar: 2g
  • Sodium: 245mg
  • Fat: 2g
  • Saturated Fat: 0g
  • Unsaturated Fat: 2g
  • Trans Fat: 0g
  • Carbohydrates: 31g
  • Fiber: 6g
  • Protein: 7g
  • Cholesterol: 0mg

Keywords: okra, vegan, pan fry, roasting

Pan Roasted Okra, a simple vegan cornmeal-crusted pan fried okra recipe that is ready in 15 minutes. #recipe #sides #okra #vegan #plantbased
Kristina Todini, RDN of Fork in the Road cutting vegetables in an outdoor kitchen.

Author: Kristina Todini, RDN

Welcome! I'm a registered dietitian who believes that food should be good for you AND good for the planet. Join me in taking the "fork in the road" to eat green and live sustainably.

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