13 Super Substitutes for Okra


Wondering what substitutes can be used to replace Okra? 

Check out my curated list of alternatives to Okra for perfect substitutes.

13 Best Substitutes for Okra

1. Gumbo Filé

Made by drying and grinding North American Sassafras, this fine powder is an excellent replacement for okra as a thickening agent.

Online stores are a better option to find this. 

It has a flavour resembling root beer which might not appeal to everyone. 

How to substitute:

You can use equal parts for replacement. This is best used in a baking recipe, though you need to make sure not to overuse it. For every two cups of okra, you can add around one tablespoon of this Gumbo Filé powder.  

Here’s how to cook with Gumbo Filé –

2. Roux 

Thickening isn’t limited to just Gumbo Filé when it comes to replacing Okra. You can do it with a homemade roux as well.   

Roux is made by cooking butter and flour together until they turn to a light brown colour, giving your dish a slightly nutty flavour.

It’s economically efficient due to easily available ingredients. 

How to Substitute

The prepared roux can be added in small amounts to any soup or stock to thicken it. 

Here’s how to cook with Roux –

3. Cornstarch

An extremely popular and cheap ingredient, cornstarch is made by grinding whole corn kernels into a fine powder. It’s probably already in your pantry. 

This is an excellent and efficient way to thicken any recipe without using okra.   

How to Substitute

Mix about 1 tablespoon of cornstarch in water. Sir until no lumps are found and use it in any sauce or soup recipe you’d like.

Here’s how to cook with Cornstarch:

4. Xanthan Gum

Another great thickening agent, Xanthan Gum is made by fermenting sugar, mixing it with alcohol, and then grinding the dried substance.

This is a great way to thicken your recipe without adding extra flavour.   

How to Substitute

One pack might seem expensive, but you only need a small amount to thicken your dish. A little will go a long way. 

Here’s how to cook with Xanthan Gum:

5. Arrowroot

Arrowroot powder is made by extracting the starchy content from the arrowroot plant. Sometimes it may contain some potato starch as well.   

This is a great substitute for thickening if that is the intention behind using Okra in your specific recipe.

How to Substitute

Only a small amount of this powder is needed to thicken something so add as you go. It contains no flavor so don’t worry about that interference.  

Here’s how to cook with Arrowroot:

6. Nopales 

Nopales are the edible pads grown on a prickly pear cactus that is widely used in Mexican cuisine.

It’s one of the healthiest options for thickening replacements with okra on this list, having high antiviral and antioxidant content. 

It has a fresh, tarty flavour that is different but goes well with most dishes.

How to Substitute

A cup of sliced Nopales is enough to thicken most stews.  

Here’s how to cook with Nopales:

7. Asparagus

If you’re using Okra as just a vegetable and not a thickening agent, asparagus is probably your best substitute option. 

It doesn’t have a similar flavour but it does have a common appeal. Plus, asparagus contributes toward a better digestive system and healthier pregnancy outcomes.

How to Substitute

The best dish you can make from asparagus as an Okra substitute is fried Asparagus.  

Here’s how to cook with Asparagus:

8. Zucchini

Another vegetable (botanically a fruit) you can use instead of Okra in a wide variety of dishes is Zucchini.

With its weight loss, healthy digestion, and improved vision benefits, it is undeniably a wonderful option to have on hand.  

Again, the flavour can’t be mimicked, but it’s a versatile food that goes well in any dish. 

How to Substitute

You can switch out your Okra in a 1:1 ratio with Zucchini.  

Here’s how to cook with Seaweed:

9. Green Beans

Green Beans are an American favourite, popularly featured as a side dish with a steak or chicken. They’re a great alternative when Okra is unavailable. 

Nothing can match Okra’s taste, but green beans come close in terms of texture. 

How to Substitute

These can be fried, grilled, boiled, or even sauteéd and go great with anything you’re planning to cook.

Here’s how to cook with Green Beans: 

10. Broccoli

Broccoli is no less than magic, aiding in cancer prevention, vision improvement, managing cholesterol levels, immune health, and so much more. 

This is an extremely flexible vegetable with a taste we’re well accustomed to, which makes it easy to sub out for Okra.   

How to Substitute

After cutting broccoli into florets, you can switch it with Okra in most recipes in a 1:1 ratio.

Here’s how to cook with Broccoli:

11. Eggplant

Eggplant is an extremely ubiquitous ingredient amongst the vegan community for its readiness to absorb any flavour given to it, making it an ideal substitute for Okra.

Eggplant doesn’t match Okra’s taste or texture, but it can be cooked in any way and served as an impressive side dish.  

How to Substitute

Eggplant has a mellow flavor that comes out after it’s cooked. Avoid using it raw unless specifically asked to do so. 

Here’s how to cook with Eggplant:

12. Lentils

While they may seem counterintuitive, lentils are a great way to add health to your recipe, along with a thickening agent.  

Lentils are great at absorbing flavour. Not to mention they provide excellent protection against diabetes and cancer.

How to Substitute

Green lentils will give a similar appeal to your dish. If you don’t require much thickening, cook the lentils before adding them to your soup or stew.

Here’s how to cook with lentils:

13. Summer Squash

While summer squash is a seasonal vegetable, its versatility and texture make it a great substitute for Okra, especially in a Jambalaya.

Its scarcely sweet and nutty taste is a great addition to any recipe calling for Okra. Better yet, this vegetable has an incredible Vitamin C content. 

How to Substitute

Summer Squash is not a thickening agent but it can be subbed out with Okra in most soups and stews. 

Here’s how to cook with Summer Squash:


What can I use in place of Okra in Jambalaya?

Most of the vegetables mentioned above are a great addition to your Jambalaya recipe. Green beans, asparagus, zucchini, but especially summer squash.

Summer squash is already a common ingredient in making Jambalaya so go ahead and use it to replace the Okra.  

Does Okra taste like Zucchini?

Okra, also known as lady’s finger, really is the most unique-tasting vegetable out there in terms of taste and texture. So no, zucchini doesn’t exactly taste like Okra.

However, their textures are similar. Both vegetables can absorb a lot of flavours, which is why they’re used in a variety of dishes, Zucchini more than Okra. 

Can Okra reduce belly fat?

There is no simple answer to this. So let me explain scientifically what we’ve found. Mice were used to test out the benefits of Okra, and we found that Okra might indeed aid in weight loss.

The structure of this vegetable maintains cholesterol levels, reduces food intake, and temporarily increases our metabolism. These mice were indeed found to have reduced weight after around eight weeks.

However, this weight-loss theory cannot be proved yet in humans. In general, however, even weight loss is not a guarantee to reducing belly fat. So the simple answer is no, Okra doesn’t help reduce belly fat. But it is an extremely healthy vegetable that would make a great addition to your daily diet. 

Bottom Line

I hope this article has helped you choose the right substitute for Okra!

Please feel free to leave a comment below for any feedback or suggestion you might have. 

And lastly, do share this article with your family and friends as I’m sure it’ll help them if it has helped you! 

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About Betty Ellis

Betty is a food researcher who spends most of her time analyzing the nutritional aspects of various foods. She also researches methods to enhance taste, as well as how to store certain types of foods. She enjoys cooking for herself and her three dogs even though she doesn't have a lot of free time outside work.

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