Stewed Okra and Tomatoes Creole Style

There’s a reason why the Southern dish of stewed okra and tomatoes is timeless. It’s just plain good. First you start with browning some bacon, then you add the holy trinity—onions, bell pepper, and celery, then the tomatoes, okra and spices. Everything is cooked together until tender and almost falling apart.

Okra is a summer vegetable so we are seeing it in the farmer’s market right now. But you can get frozen okra all year round which is perfectly fine stewed like this. If you don’t have access to okra at all, you can prepare green beans in a similar manner (see recipe).

Stewed Tomatoes and Okra

Do you have a favorite summer okra dish? Please let us know about it in the comments. I love okra and am always looking for ways to cook with it.

Stewed Okra and Tomatoes Creole Style Recipe

  • Prep time: 15 minutes
  • Cook time: 45 minutes
  • Yield: Serves 4

You can use either whole or thickly sliced okra for this recipe.

Obviously we believe this dish is best with bacon, but if you don't eat bacon or want to make a vegetarian dish, leave it out and use a tablespoon or two of olive oil instead.



  • 2 ounces bacon, sliced crosswise into 1/4-inch wide slices (lardons)
  • 1 cup diced onion (about 1 medium onion)
  • 1 cup diced bell pepper (about 1 bell pepper)
  • 1/2 cup diced celery (about one rib)
  • 1 teaspoon chopped garlic (about 1 clove)
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1 15-ounce can of whole peeled tomatoes and their juices
  • 1 pound (16-ounces) of frozen or fresh okra, whole or thickly sliced, trimmed of tough tops if whole, defrosted if frozen
  • 1/2 teaspoon black pepper
  • 1 teaspoon fresh thyme
  • 1 pinch of cayenne
  • 1 pinch cinnamon
  • 1 scant pinch of ground cloves (watch it on the ground cloves, a little goes a long way, and you can easily overdo it!)
  • 1/2 cup water


1 Place the bacon lardons in a thick-bottomed pot (3 or 4 quart). Heat on medium and cook until the bacon is lightly browned and much of the fat has rendered out.

2 Once bacon has browned, add the onions, celery, and bell pepper. The bacon should have rendered enough fat to cook the vegetables, but if not, add a tablespoon of olive oil to the pot. Cook over medium high heat until onions, celery, and bell peppers are lightly browned, about 8-10 minutes. Add the garlic and cook for a minute more.

3 Add the tomatoes, okra, and salt to the pot. Add the black pepper, cayenne, thyme, cinnamon, and cloves. Stir to combine. Add 1/2 cup of water. Cover and simmer for 20 to 25 minutes.

Add more salt and pepper to taste.

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Greek stewed okra and tomatoes from Choosy Beggars

Okra cornmeal cakes with chèvre and roasted tomatoes from Annie's Eats

Smothered Okra (no tomatoes) from Real Cajun Cooking

Persian Okra Stew from My Persian Kitchen

Tangy Tomato Okra Soup from Cafe Liz

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Showing 4 of 14 Comments

  • Krystal

    Grilled. Tried it for the first time this summer, and it is awesome. Just skewer, brush with oil, and sprinkle with some sea salt. Cook over high heat until the pods start to blister.

    Dipping sauce or brushing with a dressing in the last minute of cooking optional.

  • Jen

    I LOVE okra and I make a variation of this that I grew up with. We called it goulash (no idea why). Basically, you take lots of fresh veggies: lots of corn (at least 6; strip the kernels), onion, tomatoes, and okra, and you cook it down. For the smokey, porky flavor, I use a ham hock. As much as I love bacon, I don’t like the texture of it in this. To start, I might use a bit of bacon grease and I add the chopped onion (let it soften a bit), then I add the tomatoes, the corn, the ham hock and a bit of stock. I let this simmer for awhile (maybe half an hour?), then I add the okra and simmer it for another half hour or so. I season it with salt, a generous amount of black pepper, and some cayenne. Reminds me of my grandma and tastes like summer!

  • Jen

    Also, I don’t leave the okra whole, I slice it into little “o”s.

  • Jeremy

    We put lots of bacon and Pork Sausage or Andoullie here south Louisiana and we make it a meal. We even eat it on bread for lunch the next day.

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