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Peppery Grilled Okra

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This grilled okra recipe can be cooked on skewers or in a grill pan and is ready in less than five minutes, start to finish!

Grilled okra has a unique roasted flavor that pairs beautiful with a tangy, citrus herb dip. Enjoy some as an appetizer or easy dinner side. 

Tender-crisp pods are seasoned with black pepper and slightly charred, then served with a creamy and light Greek yogurt dipping sauce flavored with fresh lemon and basil.

This delightful flavor combination will get you right in the mood for summer!

Don’t be afraid to use your backyard appliance for more than just burgers and steaks. Try a delicious panzanella skewer salad or corn and mushroom risotto. I even have recipes for corn on the cob two ways — spicy or coated in parmesan.

Looking for a full meal? You will love my Country-Style Ribs with Sweet Potatoes and Chow Chow. It’s the perfect summertime meal that the whole family will enjoy.

grilled whole okra pods on a black platter with dipping sauce

Why you’re going to love it!

  • Quick and easy. It’s ready in minutes.
  • Goes with everything. Serve with your favorite meat or seafood.
  • Make as much as you need. This recipe is simple to adjust.

Grilled Okra: behind the recipe

Warmer weather means cooking outside, and I especially love grilling fresh veggies. I’m particularly fond of adding my magic rub to everything possible, but a recipe I saw in Southern Living had me intrigued so I decided to give it a shot.

Now, I know what you’re thinking — shouldn’t I be frying up these pods? After all, I grew up eating “fried okrie” on the farm. Trust me when I tell you, this method is an excellent alternative. 

Peppery grilled okra with a tangy lemon-basil dipping sauce is a unique dish that can be served as an appetizer or summer side at any of your outdoor dinner parties. It’s fresh, light, and guilt-free, so eat up and enjoy!

a glass bowl of raw okra pods

Key ingredients and substitutions

  • Okra — These should be easy to find in any produce section or farmers market if locally grown. If you are unfamiliar with this vegetable, it is shaped similar to chile peppers but has ridges around the outside instead of a smooth surface.
  • Greek yogurt — For a similar texture, I would recommend using creme fraiche since it isn’t as tangy as sour cream. Otherwise, plain yogurt is the next best choice, but the dipping sauce will have a thinner consistency.

Serving suggestions

Delicious all on its own, this dish makes a great appetizer for guests to munch on while you finish up the main course.

Toss a few more garden veggies on at the same time — tomatoes, green beans, and eggplant are all just as easy to grill and would pair nicely with the lemon basil dip.

Also, this grilled okra recipe can easily be adjusted based on how many people you are feeding. Reduce the amount by half for a quick snack or triple it for a large cookout.

How to grill okra

dipping okra in a bowl of lemon basil greek yogurt

STEP 1 | Make the dipping sauce

  • Mix everything together in a small bowl until smooth and well combined. Cover and chill until you are ready to serve.
  • The longer this sits, the more the flavors will meld together, which means you could easily make it the night before.

STEP 2 | Season vegetables

  • These have a lovely, natural roasted flavor when done, so all you need is a little bit of oil, salt, and pepper.
  • Long wooden skewers will prevent any pods from falling through the grates and don’t retain heat like metal ones do. Plus, you will be able to flip several at once!
A pan of food on a grill, with Okra

tips

  • We like to use this wire mesh grilling skillet (or grill pan) every time we cook veggies, especially this grilled okra recipe. It keeps us from losing veggies through the grates, and the long handle makes it easier to give everything a good shake so it cooks evenly.
  • Use heat-resistant gloves for better handling or tongs with a long handle to keep your hands protected from the flames.

STEP 3 | Cook until tender

  • If you forgot to clean the grates last time, give them a good scrub while the grill preheats to avoid flare ups. 
  • Keep the lid closed to get the veggies nice and tender, only opening it when it’s time to flip them over.

STEP 4 | Serve

  • These pods cook up really fast and cool just as quickly, so you’ll want to serve them right away for the best flavor.
  • Transfer them straight to a serving platter and add the dipping sauce from the fridge right in the center for easy access.
whole okra with char marks on a plate with a lemon dipping sauce

Frequently asked questions

How do you clean okra?

To get the best results with this grilled okra recipe — and to avoid okra slime — be sure to rinse and thoroughly dry the veggies first.

Trim the ends, but only remove the very tips and keep the pod fully intact. You want to keep them as dry as possible since excess water will contribute to any sliminess.

How do you cook okra so it’s not slimy?

Fast and hot are the keys to success. It only takes 4 to 5 minutes at around 400 to 450 degrees for these to come out perfectly crisp tender.

Lower temperatures can cause moisture to build up, giving it that unpleasant texture by the time it’s tender enough to eat.

How can you tell if okra is good?

When choosing your vegetables at the market, check each pod thoroughly and avoid any that have brown spots or are shriveled. Larger okra tends to be tough, so stick with small or medium sized pods.

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Yield: 4 servings

Peppery Grilled Okra

whole okra with char marks on a plate with a lemon dipping sauce

Peppery Grilled Okra and Lemon-Basil Dipping Sauce is a quick, fresh grilled appetizer that's light, healthy, and pretty tasty, too!

Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 6 minutes
Total Time 16 minutes

Ingredients

Dipping Sauce

  • 1 cup Greek yogurt
  • 1 tablespoon fresh basil,, chopped (3 large leaves)
  • 1 tablespoon lemon juice
  • 1/4 teaspoon minced garlic
  • 1/4 teaspoon sugar
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/8 teaspoon black pepper

Grilled Okra

  • 1 pound fresh okra, trimmed
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon black pepper
  • Garnish: freshly ground pepper

Instructions

  1. Combine Greek yogurt with all other dipping sauce ingredients in a small bowl. Cover and chill until ready to serve.
  2. Preheat grill to 400° to 450° (high) heat.
  3. Toss together okra, olive oil, salt and pepper in a large bowl. Skewer on wooden picks, if desired, or place in mesh grill pan.
  4. Grill okra, covered with grill lid, over 400° to 450° (high) heat 2 to 3 minutes on each side or until tender.
  5. Transfer okra to a serving dish, and serve with dipping sauce. Garnish, if desired.

Notes

Adapted from Southern Living, July 2009.

When choosing okra at the market, avoid any pods that have brown spots or that are shriveled. The larger okra pods can tend to be tough, so stick with small or medium size pods.

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Nutrition Information:

Yield:

4

Serving Size:

1

Amount Per Serving: Calories: 93Total Fat: 4gSaturated Fat: 1gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 3gCholesterol: 3mgSodium: 425mgCarbohydrates: 8gFiber: 3gSugar: 5gProtein: 8g

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sheila thigpen in her kitchen

Sheila @ Life, Love & Good Food

Recipe Developer, Food Photographer, Home Cook, Wife, Mom, Nana

Sheila Thigpen is the publisher of Life, Love, and Good Food — a Southern food blog — and the author of Easy Chicken Cookbook and The 5-Ingredient Fresh and Easy Cookbook. After 20+ years in the publishing industry, she retired in 2018 to focus on her own creative endeavors full time. She and her husband live near the beautiful Smoky Mountains and have a precious little granddaughter who has stolen their hearts. As an influencer, Sheila has collaborated with brands like Kroger, HERSHEY’S, Hamilton Beach, Garafalo Pasta, OXO, Smithfield, Valley Fig Growers, and more.

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