It looks like you're using an older version of Internet Explorer. Upgrade your browser to view this site—it's easy and free.

Southern Okra Sushi



Makes about 40 rolls


Editor’s note: This is a forgiving recipe. Once I mixed a bit of salsa into the cream cheese and it worked beautifully, adding a bit more of a kick. Another time I used smoked turkey instead of ham and found the bites to be just as nice. I left the ends on and cut the ham to match one slice, then trimmed off the head and tail for a uniform look. The trimmings were happily eaten by my husband as I made each cut. No waste, and a very happy spouse.

1 8-oz. package of cream cheese, at room temperature
1 Tbls. chopped chives
1 Tbls. chopped flat-leaf parsley
3 Tbls. finely diced sweet onion
1 (16 ounce) jar pickled okra, drained (about 18 okra pods)
1/3 pound thinly sliced Virginia ham (about eight slices)


Combine the cream cheese, chives, parsley and onion. Trim both ends off the okra pods. On a large cutting board, lay out each slice of ham. Spread about 2 tablespoons of the cream cheese mixture on each slice of ham, leaving a border of about ¼ inch.

On the long side of each ham slice, place 2-3 okra pods, end to end, depending on the size of the ham slice. Roll the ham around the okra. Cover and chill the rolls for three hours, then slice them into 1-inch slices and serve.


I’ve prepared Southern Sushi three times, and on each occasion, the plate of food disappeared almost instantly. People returned for another tiny bite, and their friends followed. My book club wanted the recipe. My dinner with friends proved the popularity of the appetizer was no fluke, as again, each tidbit was devoured.

The recipe comes from a Savor the South cookbook, Okra, by Virginia Willis. These slim volumes pay homage to one ingredient, prepared many different ways. This one tackled okra. Enough said. Put your anti-okra prejudices aside and at least read the recipe. If you try it, you will put it in your repertoire – guaranteed.

Savor the South® is a registered trademark of the University of North Carolina Press, Inc. Order from the University of North Carolina Press.

“For those who love okra, this is the book to increase your love to the maximum. For those who don’t love okra, this book will change your mind.” Nathalie DuPree, TV Host and author of New Southern Cooking.

Other cookbooks in the series include Pickles and Preserves, Bourbon, Biscuits, Tomatoes, Peaches, Pecans, and Buttermilk.

From the author: My dear friend and fellow cookbook author Rebecca Lang shared this recipe with me. Okra, ham and cream cheese are the Southern lady’s version of the holy trinity, and are served at garden parties and bridge luncheons all across the South. I adore this little cocktail nibble.

Share this article: