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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27 thoughts on “Grilled Okra with Spicy Sumac Seasoning Salt”

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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.

  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!

  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.

    1. 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.


      1. I find that filtered olive oils for cooking have a higher smoke point than the cold pressed olive oils which have more olive meat fragments. One example is Costco’s Kirkland Pure Olive Oil. Save the extra virgin for salads.

  4. 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!

  5. 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!

  6. 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.

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

  8. 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.

    1. 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.

  9. 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.

    1. This is a great tip. I’m pretty sure I could eat anything fried in bacon grease.

  10. Wow. This looks really good. I have sumac growing here as well as okra. Maybe I could grind my own sumac powder?

    1. 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.

  11. I misunderstood….and thought it was about grilled orka (big fish) .

    Definitely a different dish.

  12. 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!

  13. 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!

  14. 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!

  15. 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.

  16. 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 …..

  17. 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!