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7 Sep

Grilled Okra with Spicy Sumac Seasoning Salt

Grilled OkraOkra lovers and haters, rejoice. Grilled okra with spicy sumac seasoning salt is an untraditional and finger lickin’ good recipe that will make you fall in love with okra all over again, or, for the very first time.

Okra is rarely described as addictive. All it takes, though, is a few minutes on a hot grill and a tart and spicy seasoning salt to transform okra into finger food that will fly off the table. Crispy, salty, spicy veggies hot off the grill are better than a bowl of chips, any day. Set them out as an appetizer or snack and eat as many as you like without worrying about spoiling your dinner or your waistline.

Bell pepper and zucchini strips, asparagus, green beans, carrots, even cucumbers, can be thrown on the grill. A grilling basket (or skewers) will keep the veggies from falling through the grates. Olive oil or coconut oil, salt, cayenne and your favorite spices add the finger lickin’ flavor.

Grilling is a really easy way to prepare okra and cuts down on the slime factor. The outside is nicely charred and the fresh, moist middle is a pleasant contrast. Although it’s really the bold, tart flavor of ground sumac blended with thyme, cayenne and salt that transform okra into a killer snack.

This spice blend is similar to za’atar, a Middle Eastern seasoning that also contains toasted sesame seeds and a variety of different herbs. The flavor of sumac is tart and lemony. In addition to thyme, sumac is often blended with cumin, oregano and marjoram (fresh or dried). Play around to find the combination you like best then keep a jar in the kitchen for seasoning not only veggies, but lamb and beef as well.

Servings: 2 to 4, as a snack or appetizer

Time in the Kitchen: 20 minutes


  • 24 okra
  • 1 tablespoon fresh thyme (15 ml)
  • 1 teaspoon sumac* (5 ml)
  • 1/8 to 1/4 teaspoon cayenne (a pinch)
  • 3/4 teaspoon salt (3.70 ml)
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil (15 ml)


*Look for sumac in the spice aisle of specialty foods stores or Middle Eastern markets

Prepare grill for high heat.

In a small bowl, mix together the thyme, sumac, cayenne and salt.

Seasoning Salt

Trim off the little stems on the end of the okra pods (optional).

In a large bowl, drizzle olive oil over the okra and use your hands to toss until the okra is evenly coated.

Sprinkle the seasoning blend over the okra, tossing the okra with your hands again to evenly coat.

Put the okra in a grilling basket or skewer the pods to keep them from falling through the grill grates.

Grilling Okra

Grill the okra un-covered until nicely charred, about 4 to 6 minutes on each side.

Serve the okra hot off the grill or soon afterward. When refrigerated, leftover grilled veggies quickly become soggy.

Grilled Okra

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  1. My fiance and I fight over the last bits of crispy roasted broccoli every time I make it. I’ve done broccoli, cauliflower, green beans, and sweet potatoes that way. I don’t have a grill, but it gets the job done. I will absolutely try okra next.

    Kristina wrote on September 7th, 2013
  2. I LOVE LOVE LOVE grilled okra! Or failing that, roasted under the broiler. It’s absolutely addictive.

    I usually use a splash of Balsamic to add the acid note, but I’ll have to try sumac on the okra I just picked up from the Farmer’s Market. What good timing!

    Paleo-curious wrote on September 7th, 2013
  3. Kudos to Mark for creativity. Okra happens to be one of only two vegetables that I don’t particularly like (the other is turnips), but the seasoning and cooking method could be used for a good many other veggies.

    Shary wrote on September 7th, 2013
    • i learned to love turnip because of chef Rachel’s over fried turnip chips

      okra, s usually pretty “slimy” so i don’t really know how to cook it. so i may try this recipe. i have no idea what sumat is tho.


      pam wrote on September 8th, 2013
  4. Why are you cooking at high heat with olive oil?!

    Fox wrote on September 7th, 2013
  5. I have to say, after growing up eating boiled (so gross) okra, I’ve come to LOVE grilled okra! Dipped in a mayo/basil dip it really is addictive! ps: the george foreman grill does a great job grilling those little guys up!

    kate wrote on September 7th, 2013
  6. You can do this in a frying pan too if you keep the stem ends on. Basically roll them around and fry them until they brown/char up just a bit. Use whatever seasonings you like, I like to use McCormick Montreal Steak and Tony Chacheries creole seasoning together. Tastes JUST like deep fried okra!

    Billy wrote on September 7th, 2013
    • Be cautious with any spice blend that lists “natural flavorings” as an ingredient. Bad stuff hides in there.

      Paleo Bon Rurgundy wrote on September 7th, 2013
  7. Steaming whole okra pods (don’t need to eat the stems, and you can hold the stem when you dip the rest into a sauce) is another way to reduce the slime problem. Growing your own and picking the pods young also helps, but I’ve never gotten around to doing that myself.

    Mark. wrote on September 7th, 2013
  8. sounds so good! our local organic food store has red okra–we just picked it up and it’s on the grill right now!

    drjoyous wrote on September 7th, 2013
  9. As a person raised in the south, I’ve eaten okra all my life, usually cooked with onions and tomatoes. This sounds delicious and I can’t wait to try it. I only regret this post wasn’t available before I went to the farmers market – the okra was beautiful. Maybe this would convince my yankee husband that okra is good.

    Catlady wrote on September 7th, 2013
    • The roasting brings out the natural nuttiness of okra. Much different flavor than boiled or batter-fried okra. I’ve introduced this to all of my yankee family, including my husband a former vegetable hater. They are really good cold, if you have any leftovers.

      Holly wrote on September 8th, 2013
  10. Ever since our okra plants started producing in early August my DH has been cooking them up for breakfast. They sure are tasty fried in bacon grease.

    Linda wrote on September 7th, 2013
    • This is a great tip. I’m pretty sure I could eat anything fried in bacon grease.

      Amy wrote on September 7th, 2013
  11. I still haven’t developed a taste for okra but I might try it again.

    Donnie Law wrote on September 7th, 2013
  12. Wow. This looks really good. I have sumac growing here as well as okra. Maybe I could grind my own sumac powder?

    shannon wrote on September 7th, 2013
    • I’m not sure where you are, but make sure you’re not confusing it with poison Sumac plant that is popular in landscaping because of how well it grows!!!

      It is not the same thing and could be fatal.

      Charlie Golf wrote on September 15th, 2013
  13. I misunderstood….and thought it was about grilled orka (big fish) .

    Definitely a different dish.

    Petra wrote on September 7th, 2013
  14. Got to give this recipe a go – I’m an okra fan but the natural slimey-ness of it can be hard to overcome. Having recently returned from Turkey, they certainly seem to know how to stew it over there as it was far less slimey than when I’ve cooked it at home. Paired with middle-eastern spices, I think this could be great! It’s nice to experiment with exotic vegetables!

    Luke M-Davies wrote on September 9th, 2013
  15. raised and still living in the south, I didn’t develop a taste for okra til adulthood. Now, I love it and am so glad to see a recipe for it. I have looked for recipes, but most are fried or with tomatoes. Will try this recipe so I can continue to eat!

    Raylynn wrote on September 9th, 2013
  16. Looks delicious!

    John Durant wrote on September 10th, 2013
  17. I grew up eating okra, and love it any way it’s prepared, including boiled then topped with butter. Savor the slime! But I’ve never eaten it grilled. I only wish this post had come out sooner – my garden’s okra are all in the freezer by now and the ones allowed to go to seed are harvested and snoozing in the fridge until spring. I can hardly wait to try this recipe next summer!

    Gina wrote on September 22nd, 2013
  18. This was delicious! Even my picky fiance liked it. The smaller and thinner the okras, the crispier (and better). I did a full batch of the seasoning for half the okra with the max pepper. Just the right amount of heat.

    Shireen wrote on October 1st, 2013
  19. Gonna give it a try …but I wonder if there is another alternative to sumac…trying to keep it local to my own backyard….hehe…..anybody have any ideas …..

    Rhonda wrote on January 22nd, 2014
  20. Pan fried the okra on medium high heat. Crispy and Tasty. Very delicious. First time I have eaten okra. Certainly won’t be the last!

    Rob wrote on April 29th, 2014

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