Warm Okra Seed "Couscous" Salad

Clark Barlowe

Heirloom, Charlotte, NC and The Whole Okra: A Seed to Stem Celebration

Where others see scraps and compost, North Carolina's chef Clark Barlowe sees potential. Take this warm salad, for instance—instead of trashing underripe okra, he toasts the seeds to wake up their aromas and combines them with other fragrant ingredients for a satisfying lunch or side.


  • 1/2 cup (48g) cucumber slices
  • 2 tablespoons fresh lemon balm
  • 1/2 cup (70 g) feta
  • 2 cups (200 g) immature okra seed
  • 3 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1/2 teaspoon sumac
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon finely ground
  • black pepper
  • 16–20 small lemon balm leaves, for garnish


Slice the cucumber thinly on a mandoline. Chiffonade (finely cut) the fresh lemon balm. Combine the lemon balm chiffonade, feta, and sliced cucumber in medium-sized mixing bowl. Toast the okra “couscous” on medium heat in olive oil for 2–3 minutes or until heated through. Combine the okra with the rest of the ingredients in a mixing bowl and toss to combine. Season with sumac, salt, and black pepper. Garnish with small lemon balm leaves. Serve warm.


Warm Okra Seed "Couscous" Salad is excerpted from The Whole Okra: A Seed to Stem Celebration ©2019 by Chris Smith. Photography by Peter Taylor. Reproduced by permission of Chelsea Green Publishing. All rights reserved.


2 servings