Think roasted okra isn’t sexy? Then clearly you haven’t had roasted okra that’s roasted like this. Tender. Nicely spiced. Not slimy. And so completely pleasant as to make you forget it’s healthy.
This roasted okra recipe will forever change your mind about the oft-maligned vegetable. There’s a subtle art to cooking okra and this recipe has mastered it. There’s not a trace of the slimy or gummy traits that earned this vegetable its not-so-nice reputation. Thanks to a spice rub with a gentle heat and the perfect oven temperature, this recipe yields roasted okra so flavorful you’ll wonder why everyone doesn’t cook them this way.–Angie Zoobkoff
How to Serve Spiced Okra
We’ve been heaping this spiced okra on our plates as a side dish although we could see fancying them up as an appetizer with a silver platter and maybe some plain yogurt as a dip.
- 1 pound fresh okra (small okra, about the size of your pinky finger, is best for this recipe)
- 1 1/2 to 2 1/2 tablespoons store-bought or homemade ghee or bacon drippings melted
- 1 tablespoon ground cumin
- 1 teaspoon onion powder
- 1/2 teaspoon ground white pepper
- 1/4 to 1/2 teaspoons smoked hot paprika
- 1/4 teaspoon sea salt
- Plain yogurt for serving (optional)
- Preheat the oven to 450°F (232°C). Line a rimmed baking sheet with parchment paper.
- Dump the okra in a large bowl. Drizzle the ghee or bacon fat over the okra and toss well to coat each okra evenly. Combine the spices and salt in a small bowl, sprinkle the spice mixture over the okra, and toss well.
- Spread the okra on the prepared baking sheet and roast for 5 minutes. Shake the baking sheet or use a spatula to flip the okra and continue to roast for 5 minutes more. Flip the okra again and, if necessary, roast for 5 minutes more, or until the okra is slightly blistered and the spices are lightly browned. Serve warm or at room temperature.
Recipe Testers’ Reviews
Okra is one of our family’s favorite vegetables. My grandmother always told me it contained neurotransmitters that formed neuronal connections that made you an expert in math. I’m not sure about that tale but it did inspire me to eat okra and I’m always looking for different ways to cook it. This roasted okra is a very easy, healthy, spiced, and flavorful recipe to make. I used ghee. It turned out very delicious and today I served it as a side dish with home made chapathis and lentil stew. It was very flavorful and well balanced in terms of spices. I served it with a yellow lentil stew and homemade chapathis
This roasted okra is delicious, easy, and comes together in a snap. Some folks shy away from okra because it gets, well, you know, slimy when cooked too long. This is actually a great feature to utilize if you want to thicken up a stew, but in general the ease with which okra goes from “wow” to “blech” has given it a bad rap. There’s a subtle art to cooking the vegetable and this recipe has got it right. Ten minutes roasted at high heat rides the delicate balance of perfectly tender and a little snappy without crossing over to slime city. The seasoning is warming and delicious. I used rendered bacon fat for the roast okra. FWIW I didn’t think I was going to find okra so I also made a version with fresh broccoli and roasted the veg a bit longer. It was equally delicious, making this a super versatile recipe!
The smallest okra I was able to find were more middle finger than pinky-sized. They roasted up nicely. They never got crisp but they definitely didn’t get gummy, either, and I liked the spice blend. I used the smaller amount of smoked paprika and could have gone heavier on it for me or included some cayenne for more spice. As a pre-dinner snack, it reminded me of a plate of blistered padron peppers, which is a tasty tapa to have with drinks. I often shy away from cooking okra because I worry about it turning out slimy but this was nothing like that.
Roasting okra demolishes any objections I ever had about this vegetable, leaving a slime-free, blistered exterior and tender interior. Until this recipe, I’d been treating okra very plainly, with just a touch of oil and salt and pepper, but this recipe steps up the spicing. These were very nicely flavored but the first batch, cooked using the full 2 1/2 tablespoons ghee, was more like a braise. The spices were nice, though I felt the okra needed a touch more salt and for the paprika to have a little bit more presence. The second batch I made, I used less than half the amount of ghee and, shaking the pan every 5 minutes, had a perfect batch at 15 minutes. No excess puddles of fat and the spices were nicely browned with nothing burnt. I also served a small amount of yogurt flavoured with preserved lime, which complemented the spices. My last batch, I used bacon fat (again, reducing the amount to just coat the okra) and I also added a light sprinkle of flaked sea salt to serve. The second and third batches, I used a full recipe of the spices using 1/4 teaspoon each smoked and hot paprika. This would serve as a side dish to serve 4 or as a tapas night dinner for 2 with another nibble. We often make roasted okra or padron or shishito peppers as the main course for a light evening meal on a busy day.
Originally published November 14, 2016