As with so many vegetables, grilling is a super easy and tasty way to cook okra. The quick, hot heat of the grill keeps the slime-factor inherent in okra to a minimum while the charred bits highlight the vegetable's essential grassy flavor. If you've never tried okra before, this is a super easy and delicious way to give it a whirl. If you're an okra-phile, this is a new way to love it.
This recipe is easily doubled, tripled, or quadrupled. It's more a method than a recipe, so feel free to play around with it. Grilled okra tastes great at room temperature and makes a tempting addition to a dinner buffet or backyard barbeque.
Don't have a grill? Try Roasted Okra instead, it's just as delicious.
- 1 pound okra (pods big enough so they won't slip through the cooking grate are best!)
- 1 tablespoon grapeseed or olive oil
- Lemon juice (optional)
Prepare a gas or charcoal grill for high heat; You should be able to hold your hand about an inch above the cooking grate for just 1 to 2 seconds before pulling it away from the intensity of the heat.
While the grill heats, trim off and discard the stems from the okra pods. Put the okra in a large bowl or on a rimmed baking sheet or roasting pan. Drizzle it with the oil and toss to thoroughly coat the okra with the oil.
Place the okra on the grill (being careful that smaller pods are placed so they run perpendicular to the cooking grate so they don't fall through!), cover, and cook until the okra's green color* heightens and grill marks or charred edges appear, 4 to 5 minutes. Use tongs to turn the okra pods over, cover, and cook until they're charred or browned on the other side and tender to the bite, about 5 more minutes.
Remove the okra from the grill. Sprinkle it with salt and spritz it with lemon juice, if you like. Serve grilled okra hot or at room temperature.
*Or, in the case of purple okra, the purple color deepens!
- Serve grilled okra with homemade aioli for dipping
- Add grilled okra to a grilled vegetable platter—it's particularly good with grilled tomatoes and grilled eggplant
- Mix 1/2 to 1 teaspoon freshly grated ginger with the oil before tossing it with the okra, then drizzle with soy sauce instead of sprinkling with salt
- Put out some Toasted Cumin Yogurt Dip for people to add to taste
- Cut several green onions into lengths that match that of the okra pods you're grilling and add them to the mix
- Use balsamic vinegar instead of lemon juice for a quick hit of acid at the end
- Add a dash of cayenne to the oil before tossing it with the okra for a spicy kick
- Sprinkle the finished grilled okra with a bit of garam masala for a kick of warm spices