Easy Oil-Free Sauteed Okra

Easy Oil-Free Sauteed Okra – Healthy, Plant-Based, Vegan Side Dish Recipe

Easy |  Servings: 4  |  Ready In: 20 minutes |  Yield: 2 big bowls

Okra is one of those vegetables that pops up in a CSA or at the farmer’s market and you’re lost on what to do.  The trick is not to overcook it or it can be slimy.  This quick, easy recipe makes a delicious side dish.  Toss with whole wheat pasta for a satisfying dinner or enjoy cold leftovers tossed with cannellini beans for a gluten-free lunch.


  • 1 sweet onion
  • 2 cloves garlic
  • 4 cups whole okra (about 1 pound)
  • 1 pint cherry tomatoes
  • 2 tablespoons fresh basil (or other herbs like parsley, cilantro, thyme, or tarragon)*

How it’s Done:

To Oil-Free Sauté the Okra:  In a wide pan, heat ½ cup of water over high heat until simmering.  Peel and thinly slice the onion.  Add the sliced onion and sauté 7-8 minutes, until soft.  Chop the garlic.  Halve the okra lengthwise.  Add the garlic and okra to the pan with the onion.  Sauté over high heat, stirring often, until the okra is tender but still bright green.  It should take about 5-7 minutes for this to happen.

Halve the cherry tomatoes and roughly chop the herbs.  After the okra becomes tender, add the tomatoes and herbs.  Cook another 1-2 minutes, just until the tomato are warm and starting to break down.  Remove from the heat and serve immediately.

Easy Oil-Free Sauteed Okra – Healthy, Plant-Based, Vegan Side Dish Recipe

* Chef’s Herb Tip:  Use up whatever fresh herbs you have on hand.  Parsley, cilantro, basil, thyme, and tarragon are all delicious.  You can even throw in some diced jalapeno pepper for an extra kick.

** Chef’s Steam Sauté Tip:  If the pan becomes too dry and the veggies start to burn, simply add a little bit more water (about 2 tablespoons is just right).  If there’s still a lot of water left in the pan at the end of cooking, crank up the heat and stir continuously.  This will help the excess water steam off while also intensifying the flavor.

Make it a Meal:  To transform this side dish into a meal, toss with cooked whole wheat pasta, add in a can of red kidney beans, or combine with a pre-cooked Quinoa Rice blend.

This recipe was based off of the Food Network’s Okra with Tomatoes.  Their recipe uses oil, but I’m on a mission to get rid of empty calories…oil-free cooking is where it’s at!


Learn More:

Nutrition Facts

Serving size: 1/4 of a recipe (9.5 ounces).

Calories 78.03
Calories From Fat (5%) 4
% Daily Value

  • Total Fat 0.49g <1%
  • Saturated Fat 0.03g <1%
  • Cholesterol 0mg 0%
  • Sodium 20.86mg <1%
  • Potassium 575.97mg 16%
  • Total Carbohydrates 17.76g 6%
  • Fiber 4.8g 19%
  • Sugar 8.21g
  • Protein 3.33g 7%
  • Calcium 38.28mg 4%
  • Iron 109.8mg 610%
  • Vitamin A 860.02IU 17%
  • Vitamin C 14.81mg 25%

Shopping and Gear List

  • Minsley Organic Cooked Brown Rice with Quinoa Cup, 4.2 Ounce (Pack of 12)
  • Bragg Premium Nutritional Yeast Seasoning 4.5 Ounce
  • Simply Organic Italian Seasoning Certified Organic, 0.95-Ounce Container


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