Substitute for Okra: Alternatives You Must Know

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Although okra can be found in a variety of cuisines, it’s not quite popular, so you might run out of it before you know it. When this happens, there’s no need to panic because, naturally, there are some brilliant alternatives that’ll hopefully fill the void. Okra is a common ingredient in soups and stews, providing them with a thicker consistency. There are some incredible okra substitutes that you simply must get your hands on!

Table of Contents

What is Okra?

Okra is a vegetable that belongs to the family of hibiscus plants. It has a mild flavour and texture similar to eggplant but with a subtle grassy undertone. The vegetable is known for its unique taste and texture, which can be described as tender yet crisp when cooked quickly over high heat or slowly in soups, stews, and other dishes. Okra can also be used raw in salads or pickled in various sauces. The slimy gel released by this green vegetable during cooking makes it an excellent thickener for gumbo and other soups; this characteristic distinguishes it from other vegetables like eggplants that contain large seeds inside their fleshy pods.

Substitutes for Okra

This vegetable has an intimidating name, but its taste is actually mild and pleasant. It has a crunchy texture similar to that of green peppers and can be used in soups and stir-fries. If you’re not a fan of the sliminess of okra, then there are alternative ingredients that can be used:

  • Cornstarch
  • Gumbo Filé Powder
  • Zucchini
  • Arrowroot
  • Green Beans
  • Asparagus
  • Roux
  • Broccoli Florets
  • Eggplants
  • Lentils
  • Summer Squash
  • Nopales


Cornstarch can be found in most pantries at home, so making a simple slurry out of this powder using water is another option for replacing okra as a thickener. This mixture can be made by combining a tablespoon of cold water with two teaspoons of cornstarch in a small bowl. Stirring the ingredients with a spoon until combined, and then add them to the stew, soup, or gumbo. Continue cooking for 5-10 minutes until it thickens. A slurry won’t bring extra taste to the dish until it is given time to cook through. Moreover, cornstarch is suitable for those on a gluten-free diet as well!

Gumbo Filé Powder

If you’re making gumbo, we recommend using Gumbo filé as a thickener. Sassafras leaves are dried and then ground to produce this spicy herb. It’ll thicken your dish and add a unique flavour that is similar to root beer. Use it in the same way that you would use okra; scoop one tablespoon of this powder for every 2 cups of okra. You can add it during cooking to thicken the sauce, or as a flavourful additive, stir it in once the pot is removed from the heat.


Zucchini is a good replacement for okra if you are looking for a vegetable side dish that can be served alongside rice or another side but do not need it to thicken the gravy. That’s because zucchini has a mild taste, so it will not overpower any other food. It also has a similar soft texture and taste when cooked. The best way to use this vegetable instead of okra is as one of the vegetables in your stew or soup. This helps give the soup an improved flavour by providing more volume and nutrients than just using water alone would provide.

If you’re a fan of zucchini and often cook a variety of dishes with this vegetable, try these delicious zucchini recipes in air fryer for some more delicious inspiration.

Substitute For Okra


In the same way that okra can be used as a substitute for other ingredients, arrowroot can also make for a great substitute when you don’t have okra in your kitchen. Arrowroot is a flour-like powder that is gained by drying the root of a tropical plant. It has no flavour, so you don’t have to worry about it changing the taste of your food at all.

However, only a teaspoon of arrowroot will increase the thickness of your soup or stew, and you can use it in any type of dish that calls for okra (like stews). Since arrowroot doesn’t provide its flavors, it’ll automatically make a great substitute, as it won’t alter the flavor of any type of cuisine!

Green Beans

Green beans can work well in place of okra, giving you a flavor of its own. This vegetable is highly versatile, it can be boiled, broiled, grilled, fried, or even sautéed. When looking for a substitute for okra among hundreds of recipes, go ahead and try green beans. Green beans can be cooked just a little, leaving a pleasant crunch in the vegetable. They come with different varieties with varying degrees of thickness and size, so choose wisely in terms of what works best for your recipe, rather than choosing randomly from supermarket shelves simply because they look good enough to eat on their own!

Green beans are great to have as a side dish or incorporated into the main course meal. It all depends on how much you love ’em! If you need some inspiration, try these green beans air fryer recipes.


Asparagus is a vegetable that can be used as a substitute for okra. Although it’s not exactly the same, it adds a similar flavor and texture to your dishes and can be cooked in a variety of ways. If you’re just boiling it, make sure to add salt, pepper, and lemon juice to the water before cooking it so that the flavors are absorbed into your dish.

However, if you’re making something like gumbo or jambalaya where there are other ingredients besides asparagus itself then try grilling them instead! If you have some additional time on your hands, then try stir-frying them with some vegetables like broccoli or bell peppers; this method will give them an extra crunchiness which makes them taste better than boiled ones do!

Substitute For Okra


Roux is a mixture of flour and butter that’s used to thicken soups and sauces. You can use roux at home as an alternative to okra, much like you would use cornstarch or flour. To make this at home, simply mix equal parts of flour and butter without adding anything else. Mix these ingredients until you achieve a creamy texture. Then add them to soups and stews for a thicker consistency. While roux won’t give your food the same type of flavor that okra will, it will provide more than enough thickening power to replace it in most recipes. Just remember: the butter will give your food a tasty flavor!

Broccoli Florets

Broccoli florets are a good substitute for okra. Broccoli florets are tasty raw or cooked in different ways. You can add them to everything from salads to pasta and soups. The best way to use broccoli in place of okra is as a side dish because it pairs well with meats and fish. If you use it in soups or stews, broccoli will not thicken its consistency, but it will give it a different flavor that you might like.


Eggplant is also a great replacement for okra if you need to use it as a side dish. They have the same texture once cooked and can be added to pasta or different salads. However, they are not so tasty raw, so you want to prepare them in some way before adding them to your dish.

Eggplant has a slightly bitter taste and sometimes people get confused with this ingredient but still want to use it in their foods, especially when they are cooking Indian food recipes which require eggplants as one of the main ingredients in most cases. Cooked eggplant will have the same texture as okra when cooked, so if you don’t like cooking okra, then you can use this alternative instead!


Lentils work as substitutes for okra in many ways. They’re a great addition to soups and stews. You can add them with the rest of your ingredients, or boil them separately and add them after you’ve finished cooking the dish. Lentils are also less likely to turn slimy as opposed to other vegetables, like mushrooms or potatoes, so they’re a good choice if you want to thicken up your dish without worrying about the texture of it changing over time.

There are different types of lentils, including red lentils and green or brown lentils which all have slightly different uses but generally have similar textures when cooked properly. Red lentil soup has been served as part of Indian cuisine since at least 1000 BC; it is made by boiling water with red split peas until soft, then mixing in spices such as cumin seeds and coriander seed powder (also called dhania).

Summer Squash

Summer squash is a great alternative to okra. It is actually considered authentic to jambalaya, so it makes an excellent replacement when you require a last-minute substitution in jambalaya, and you’re out of okra. Summer squash has a slightly different flavor than okra, but the two work well together in the dish because they add their own special flavors. While summer squash is cut into rounds for this recipe, you can also use zucchini or yellow crookneck varieties if desired. The color may be slightly different from what you would expect from using regular green okra

Substitute For Okra


Nopales are the pads of the prickly pear cactus. They are a common ingredient in Mexican cuisine and can be found at any grocery store or farmers’ market. Nopales have a mildly bitter taste, but it’s nothing too overpowering; its taste is very similar to that of green beans. You do not want to eat your nopal too mature (the edges might be a bit tough) because then you’d get a stronger flavor than you’re used to or searching for. Nopales can be grilled, fried, pickled, or consumed raw as nopalitos salad (a traditional Mexican dish).

They also make an excellent thickening agent for soups such as posole. Because this vegetable has so many different uses, it will add some tartness and depth to your dishes while providing health benefits like protein and antioxidants.

What Recipes Call for Okra?

Okra is an ingredient in various recipes, from soups and stews to sauces and gumbos. It can be used as a thickener and has the added benefit of providing flavor without adding calories, fat, or sodium to the dish. Because okra can be used as a thickening agent, it adds body to soups, stews, and casseroles without adding calories like flour or cornstarch. Here are a couple of examples:

  • Gumbo
  • Okra Stew


Gumbo is a stew made with okra, chicken or seafood, and smoked sausage. It originated in the southern United States, where it’s a popular dish at Mardi Gras. The traditional version of gumbo is thickened with roux (a mixture of flour and oil), but you can use cornstarch if you prefer to avoid using fat. Gumbo has many variations; the only common ingredient is the okra. It’s traditionally served over rice and topped with sliced green onions.

Okra Stew

Okra stew is a popular dish in the southern United States. It’s made with okra, tomatoes, and meat. This dish is a good source of vitamins A and C as well as protein.

Substitutes for Okra

Hopefully, this article has given you a good idea of what okra is and how to use it in your kitchen. It’s a delicious, unique vegetable that can be used in a variety of dishes and recipes, from soups to stews to side dishes. If you’re looking for best okra substitutes, we recommend using one of these alternatives: eggplant, zucchini, or any other green vegetable with similar texture and flavour characteristics.


What can I use instead of frozen okra?

The best substitutes for frozen okra include gumbo filé, roux, xanthan gum, corn starch, or Nopales. Vegetables like zucchini, green beans, and eggplant have a similar flavour and work well in place of okra as well as a side dish.

Do you have to put okra in gumbo?

Gumbo must have okra in it to qualify as gumbo. It adds a sweet, earthy flavor that balances the delicate flavor of the shrimp perfectly.

What is the same as okra?

Okra and lady finger are two names for the same plant.

What other vegetable does okra taste like?

Okra has a mild, almost grassy flavour that makes it so unique. It can sometimes be compared to the taste of eggplant or green beans.

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