Not sure if you'll like okra? We'll help you get a sense of the taste and texture. We're also answering common questions about produce selection and cooking techniques so you'll be prepared to whip up a dazzling dinner.
Let's get right into it...
What Does Okra Taste Like?
Have you ever eaten eggplant? People tend to find okra to be similar to eggplant in flavor. Both are very mild with an earthy, sometimes bitter taste.
Okra is also slightly grassy and refreshing in a green veggie sort of way. The more lightly it's cooked, the more obvious these flavors will be, though you might get more bitterness.
The flavor of okra is not nearly as renowned as the texture. It's known as a slimy vegetable (actually, it's technically a fruit the same way a cucumber is a fruit).
The "meat" of okra is firm, but it emits a slick substance called mucilage. It's a little like aloe vera gel. Generally, it shouldn't be overwhelming, and your okra will also be crunchy or super soft depending on how you cook it.
Can You Eat Raw Okra?
Yes, you can eat okra raw. You may like it in a salad bowl with fresh sweet corn, black beans and avocado. Add some cooked quinoa or rice and a zesty dressing and you've got yourself a good lunch.
Other ways of eating fresh okra entail raw soups and salsas. Pickling okra is also common, which is a take on eating it raw. Pickled okra is great in sandwiches, on veggie burgers, and in fancy appetizer platters with marinated olives, cashew cheese and French bread.
If you're into raw recipes for its convenience and health benefits, check out our list of the best raw food cookbooks for vegans.
How Do You Know If Okra Is Good?
Good okra should be a vibrant green color and feel firm to the touch. Spoiled okra will start to develop darker colors and brown patches. When it gets mushy, it's gone bad.
The trick to keeping okra fresh is keeping it dry. You can wrap it in in a paper towel or even a paper bag and tuck it the vegetable crisper in your fridge. Definitely store it in the fridge!
How Do You Cook Okra Without the Slime?
Cooking okra the right way is the key to unlocking its deliciousness. Some people love the goopy texture, but others prefer to minimize it as part of their enjoyment. If that's you, we've got some tips.
When you're ready to cook it, slice the okra pods open lengthwise and give them a rinse. This can help to reduce the slippery mucilage content significantly.
Any method of cooking the okra without a lot of moisture (no boiling or simmering in soup) will also help. This means grilling, searing or pan-frying.
It's possible to get non-slimy boiled okra, but you have to be really mindful of how long it cooks. The longer it goes, the more gooey it gets.
Okra Recipe Tips
Don't worry if you're not sure what to do with okra. That's why we're linking these short videos with vegan recipes for beginners.
This recipe may be simple, but it's big on taste, and it'll make your okra crisp and tender.
Here's what you need to make it:
- Coconut oil
- Coconut flour or dried coconut
- Chickpea flour (besan)
- Lemon juice
- Ground coriander
Go for this stewed tomato and okra dish for a light but satisfying meal. The beauty of this recipe is that it's adaptable. Add any other veggies you want along with fresh herbs like cilantro, thyme and oregano.
Here are the basics:
- Wild rice
- Cajun seasoning
Okra is mellow in flavor and has a famously slippery texture that some people adore and others aren't that into. If you prefer to avoid this texture, you can rinse the mucilage out of sliced okra and then grill it, roast it, saute it or eat it raw in salad. With a little practice, you'll find that you can sneak some okra into all sorts of meals, from soups, to sandwiches, to vegan gumbo.