Skillet Okra, Tomatoes, and Shrimp

June 10, 2014

Bacon drippings give this dish a smoky depth of Southern flavor, but it’s fine to keep it on the lighter side with peanut oil. Serve it over cooked rice, grilled or pan-fried polenta slices, or a bed of grits.

  • 1 tablespoon bacon drippings (from about 2 slices) or peanut oil
  • 1 small sweet onion, chopped
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 pound fresh okra, destemmed and sliced lengthwise (about 2 cups)
  • 2 cups fresh chopped tomatoes, peeled, juices retained; or 1 (14.5 ounce) can diced tomatoes, undrained
  • ½ teaspoon sea or kosher salt, or to taste
  • ¼ teaspoon freshly cracked black pepper, or to taste
  • ½ teaspoon low-sodium Cajun or Creole seasoning, or to taste (omit if using preseasoned canned tomatoes)
  • 1 teaspoon brown or granulated sugar, or to taste (optional to offset tartness)
  • 1 pound large (31–35 count) fresh shrimp, peeled and deveined



1. Heat the drippings or oil in a large heavy skillet over medium-high heat.

2. Reduce the heat to medium and add the onion, cooking about 3 minutes until beginning to brown and soften. Add the garlic and sliced okra and stir, turning occasionally, for about 5 minutes. Add more oil if neccessary.

3. Stir in the tomatoes, salt, pepper, Cajun or Creole seasoning, and sugar. Let the mixture simmer for 7 minutes. Add the shrimp and cook for another 5 to 7 minutes, stirring until the shrimp are just-pink. Adjust seasonings to taste and, if desired, stir in cooked, crumbled bacon. Serve immediately.

Makes 4 servings

Photograph by Robert M. Peacock
Originally published in Organic Gardening magazine, June/July 2014