Okra? Okra! OK? OK!


I’ve been keeping a secret from you.

For months, I’ve been working in the Melicious Test Kitchen™ to develop an okra recipe worth sharing. Our CSA has kept us in okra almost every week since we started getting their organic deliveries, and I’ve been trying to create a recipe that’s spicy, crispy, and makes me forget I’m eating okra.

I wanted to move away from the stewed-cajun-tomato thing, and although cornmeal-encrusted-and-fried okra is delicious – especially when dipped in creamy ranch dressing – that’s a triple-whammy of “no” for me. (And for you, too, because I love you.)

I have a cache of photos that I took in vain hopes that a recipe would pan out. Sadly, I haven’t shared that photographic evidence with y’all because it documented okra FAIL.

Until now.

I present: Okra That Doesn’t Taste Much Like Okra, a.k.a., Oven-Fried Okra

Now, a few words about that slime. The term for the slime is mucilage, and it’s found in all plants to some degree. Back in the day, marshmallows were made from the extract of the mucilaginous root of the marshmallow plant (mmmm… mucilaginous!); that slime was also used as a cough suppressant. If you minimize how much you handle the okra, you also minimize the sliminess. So maybe just follow the directions below and stop being such a baby.

hr_brown1  Oven Fried Okra | meljoulwan.com

Oven-Fried Okra

  • 1 pound raw okra, sliced into 1/2-inch coins

  • 1/4 cup almond flour

  • 2 teaspoons ground cumin

  • 2 teaspoons chili powder

  • 1 teaspoon salt

  • 1/2 teaspoon coarse (granulated) garlic powder

  • 2 teaspoons melted ghee or coconut oil

  • Bonus: a batch of homemade paleo ranch dressing for dipping


Preheat the oven to 400F.


In a small bowl, mix the almond flour, cumin, chili powder, salt, and garlic powder.


Toss okra with melted fat in a large bowl, then the sprinkle spice/almond blend over the top and mix well.


Transfer to a baking sheet and spread into a single layer. (I originally wrote “cookie sheet” in that sentence. When was the last time I used my BAKING sheet for cookies?! That damn thing should be called a veggie sheet. Anyway….) Pop into the preheated oven and bake for 20-25 minutes. The okra should be starting to brown but not too shrunken and dehydrated.


Eat with your fingers like popcorn! The okra doesn’t quite get crunchy, but the oil+almond combo plus the high heat of the oven makes it tender-crisp and flavorful.

A few words on leftovers:

After being refrigerated, there’s not much crunch left. However, I threw a leftover serving of okra in the bottom of my bowl of chili and… delicious! It added an extra serving of veggies to the chili, along with a nice, chewy texture. I think leftovers would also be yummy sautéed with ground beef, elk, lamb, or bison.


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  • foodfitnessfreshair says:

    I'll have to try this recipe out. I'm always looking for new things to do with okra. Since okra isn't my favorite food, for me if it's not cooked right, it's not good. Nice blog!

  • Melissa 'Melicious' Joulwan says:

    Okra is a toughie, it's true. Too bad the BEST way is rolled in something grain-oriented and fried 😉

    But this recipe is pretty good, too.

    Let me know if you try it!

  • Lezlie says:

    Started my Whole30 yesterday. I am really trying to get in my veggies so I tried this with my leftovers for lunch today. It was great! I had to use frozen okra since it is out of season…I bet fresh would be even better.

  • Melissa 'Melicious' Joulwan says:

    Lezlie –> Congratulations on starting your Whole30. Glad to hear you liked this one! Every summer, I'm inundated with okra in my organic delivery basket… thank goodness for a little bit o' ground almonds!

  • LauraAnne says:

    I guess I am in the minority…cause I LOVE L.O.V.E okra!!!! I just got a bunch of okra and I'm gonna give this a go…I' ve been just tossing my little rounds of okra in olive oil and a teensy bit of sea salt…so all the extra spice makes me rather excited!!!

  • Carmen says:

    As a fellow okra lover, I wanted to share something I’ve learned about okra. If you wash the pods whole, then dry completely before slicing, there is nearly no slime generated!! I have actually stir-fried the sliced okra, with no slime at all.

  • Sonya says:

    This was so good! Great meld of flavors! I was concerned about that much cumin because I just “like” cumin, I don’t “love” it – but I did love it in this recipe. Definitely a keeper!

  • Jenifer says:

    Yeah, so ….. I made this with a 1# bag of frozen okra. It was so good that I ate the WHOLE THING by myself. Haha! Thank you for another amazing recipe!

  • Megan says:

    I just made these and they were really good! I accidentally used too much salt… so I’ll adjust that next time… but still – tasty!

  • Laura says:

    I just saw this recipe on your blog today and made it for dinner and it was AWESOME. I am a vegetarian and a gardener and always looking for new ways to cook up my harvest. This was SO much better than any other way I’ve had okra! Wonderful! Thank you so much! The texture was so far from the normal mushy okra – and not as time consuming or calorie packed as fried okra. Just excellent. It will be my “go-to” for okra from now on.

  • Suzanne says:

    I LOVE okra! Made this tonight and I almost ate it all. Just for others – my oven but have a been hot so I overcooked them a bit, making them quite small and the seasonings really strong!! User error of course, and still amazingly delicious! Any thoughts on the best way to manage leftovers? Just eat them cold? Thank you for another wonderful recipe!! Between this and the carnitas, I am officially a cumin fan!

  • Laura says:


    I tried this some time back and posted a comment – you replied with a link to your grilled okra (also awesome!). Since then, I have passed this link and the one to the grilled okra on to many folks and have gotten okra haters to try, and like, okra with these two gems. Thank you so much!!!!

  • Theresa says:

    Seriously. I am not a fan of okra, but my CSA (and my innate need to NOT waste food) is making me at least try to figure out a way to make it palatable! This looks like it might turn me to the dark side 😉

  • GeauxTigers says:

    Greetings from the bayou! Around here, we know quite a few things about okra, including the easiest way(s) to cut back on that slime. Here are a few tips that should help with the slime factor. You ready for this? When you slice the okra, slice the fibrous end off first (that’s the stem end for the uninitiated), then slice the okra in half longways, straight down the middle. Putting a little sea salt on the sliced okra before cooking will also help a little. Try to pick okra pods that are as short as possible, and no more than 3 inches from top to tail, larger okra are tough and fibrous and make more slime. Last but not least, don’t over cook your okra. If you’re cooking it smothered style, add your okra and tomato at the same time, stir stir stir, as soon as the okra stop “roping” (making slime strings) kill the heat. Hope that helps!

    God bless and as always, GeauxTigers

  • Michelle Cox says:

    I am from Arkansas and my husband is from Alabama. I loathe okra, my husband loves it. He does not get okra at home. So I’ll give this one a try because I truly love and trust you Mel.

  • ALL of your recipes are stunningly good. But what puts you over the top in my book is that you turn out simply amazing veggie recipes. Always something so flavorful I find myself exclaiming aloud.
    You rock so hard, Mel!

  • Sonya Olech says:

    I just have to tell you that I am making these YET again!!! This is my “go to” recipe for when I’m craving fried okra like grandma used to make. I already have the recipe memorized but had the thought tonight to let you know, again, how very much I love this recipe!

    Looking forward to the new website and book!!

  • Jana Brown says:

    Okra drizzed in oil and salt over the barbie is good as well. I am trying your version since I can’t get my husband to light up the grill for a little bit of okra. I know it will be wonderful. I am an okra lover though.

  • Nina says:

    I made this today! I visited the asian store I told you about (that one that carries plantains sometimes) and they had okra and I never had okra before! I used shredded coconut instead of almond flour (because I had none), and I LOVED IT! :))

    • YAY! I’m glad you got to try it and that you liked it! It’s very common in the southern United States, especially deep fried and dipped in Ranch dressing. Glad the coconut worked! Will you shopping at the Asian market with me?! That seems really fun.