Seared Okra and Tomatoes

Okra, sliced and quickly seared on high heat, then cooked with fresh tomatoes, onions, and jalapenos.

Seared Okra and Tomatoes
Elise Bauer

Mmm, mmm okra!

Yes, some people shy away from this odd little vegetable, usually because depending on the preparation it can be a little slippery slimy.

Personally I love okra, any which way, including slimified.

Alas, not everyone shares my affection (it's a texture thing), but the good news is that okra can be a perfectly un-slippery vegetable if it is sautéed quickly, on high heat. That way you get all the benefits of the crunch and flavor, but without the slurp.

Seared Okra and Tomatoes
Elise Bauer

This recipe is one such preparation. The pairing of okra and tomatoes is classic.

In this recipe, inspired by one in Donald Link's Real Cajun, sliced okra is seared first on high heat, before being simmered together with tomatoes, onions, and garlic.

Seared Okra and Tomatoes

Prep Time 10 mins
Cook Time 20 mins
Total Time 30 mins
Servings 4 servings

Use fresh okra for this recipe if you want to avoid okra's characteristic slimy texture.


  • 5 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil, divided

  • 1 celery rib, sliced thin

  • 1/2 onion, sliced thin

  • 1 jalapeño chile, seeded, sliced thin

  • 3 garlic cloves, sliced thin

  • 1 tablespoon tomato paste

  • 2 tablespoons red wine vinegar

  • 1 1/2 cups chicken or vegetable broth (use vegetable broth for vegetarian version, and gluten-free broth for gluten-free version)

  • 1 teaspoon minced fresh rosemary

  • 1/2 to 3/4 pound fresh okra

  • 5 plum tomatoes, diced

  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper


  1. Sauté the onion, jalapeño, celery, and garlic:

    Heat 3 tablespoons of the olive oil in a large sauté pan or wide, shallow pot over medium-high heat. When the oil is hot, sauté the onion, jalapeño and celery for 2 minutes, stirring once or twice. Add the garlic and sauté for another minute or two.

  2. Mix the tomato paste, broth, vinegar, add to vegetables:

    While the vegetables are sautéing, mix the tomato paste, broth and vinegar until they are combined. Add to the pan with the vegetables and bring to a boil.

    Add the rosemary and a pinch of salt.

  3. Slice the okra on diagonal:

    As the sauce is boiling, slice the okra on the bias to create diagonal pieces. The reason for diagonal slicing is to expose as much of the interior of the okra as possible. Wait to cut the okra until the last minute because it helps make them less slimy.

  4. Sear the okra on high heat:

    Heat another pan over high heat for a minute or two. Add the remaining oil and get it almost smoking hot, which should take 1 to 2 minutes. Add the sliced okra and spread out in a single layer in the pan. Let the okra brown for at least a minute before you move them.

    The goal is to cook the okra quickly at very high heat without moving it too much. The high heat sears the okra and helps limit the slime factor. Sear the okra for 3 to 4 minutes, stirring only 2 to 3 times.

  5. Add the okra to sauce, add tomatoes, simmer:

    As soon as the okra is done, add it to the boiling sauce. Add the diced tomatoes and reduce the heat to a simmer. Cook for 5 minutes, no longer. The tomatoes should still be a bit firm, and you don't want to cook the okra to the point it starts releasing slime.

  6. Turn off the heat and grind black pepper over top:

    Taste once more for salt. Add if needed.

    Serve over steamed rice or with lots of crusty bread.

Nutrition Facts (per serving)
208 Calories
18g Fat
12g Carbs
4g Protein
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Nutrition Facts
Servings: 4
Amount per serving
Calories 208
% Daily Value*
Total Fat 18g 22%
Saturated Fat 2g 12%
Cholesterol 2mg 1%
Sodium 443mg 19%
Total Carbohydrate 12g 4%
Dietary Fiber 4g 14%
Total Sugars 6g
Protein 4g
Vitamin C 34mg 168%
Calcium 95mg 7%
Iron 1mg 6%
Potassium 470mg 10%
*The % Daily Value (DV) tells you how much a nutrient in a food serving contributes to a daily diet. 2,000 calories a day is used for general nutrition advice.
Nutrition information is calculated using an ingredient database and should be considered an estimate. In cases where multiple ingredient alternatives are given, the first listed is calculated for nutrition. Garnishes and optional ingredients are not included.