The Surprise of Grilled Okra

You now how I know it’s summer? I mean, besides the 100+ temperatures predicted every day this week… OKRA and ZUCCHINI!

Last summer, I thought I’d discovered my favorite way to enjoy okra: rolled in almond meal and toasted in the oven. But last night, I discovered my One True Way To Eat Okra™. Say hello to grilled okra; I guarantee you’ll have a summer romance.

Spicy Grilled Okra

Serves 2-4

  • 1 pound fresh okra

  • 1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil

  • 1/4 teaspoon salt

  • 1/4 teaspoon coarse (granulated) garlic powder

  • pinch cayenne pepper


Prep. Preheat gas grill on high with the lid closed, about 10 minutes. Meanwhile, cut the stem off each piece of okra. Be careful not to cut into the pod! If you don’t allow oxygen to get inside the pod, you will not be slimed. Put cleaned okra in a large mixing bowl with plenty of room to toss.


Toss. Add the oil, salt, garlic powder, and cayenne to the okra. Toss with two wooden spoons until okra is coated with oil and seasonings. Don’t wash the bowl; just set it aside for a few minutes.


Grill. Place okra on the grill, close the lid, and amuse yourself for 2 minutes. Using tongs, roll the okra onto its other side and grill for another 2 minutes with the lid closed. Remove the okra from the grill and return it to the bowl. Toss again to roll the okra in the remnants of the spiced oil. Sprinkle with a little more salt, if you’re a salt fiend like me. Eat with your fingers!

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  • Patty says:

    I’ve tried it roasted and loved it, so I know grilling it will be EVEN better!

    • Mel says:

      The texture is lovely: tender, but not mushy. And NO SLIME!

    • Brenda Beale says:

      Thought I was the first one to invent grilled okra, good for you! Love this vegtable anyway you cook it. We cover it with olive oil & cajin seasoning put in grilling basket, so its easy to turn without losing them. Brought them to a party & they were gone before I could turn around.

  • Svend says:

    Maybe I missed it but do you have a recipe for the zuchinni noodles?

    • Mel says:

      I just julienned the zucchini, then sauteed it in a pan ’til it was tender… took it off the heat and mixed in a few tablespoons of homemade pesto. It’s important to mix the pesto into hot food, rather than adding the pesto to the food while it’s cooking. Too much heat will turn the herbs bitter.

  • APayne says:

    this sounds so good! we’re starting a whole9 challenge august (a month late – I know..) and we will add this to the recipe arsenal! thank u!

    • Mel says:

      Next time I’m going to play around with seasonings, so if you make a batch and discover a yummy taste combo, let us know!

  • sarena says:

    Just got tons of zucchini and patty pan squashes at my farmer’s market today. And I have homemade (nut free) pesto) in the fridge. Tomorrow’s dinner is partially planned now.

    I wish I could find organic okra!!

  • Mike says:

    Yes! I just found out about this. Pretty awesome. I made them last weekend…. so good!

  • Tom R. says:

    Yep. Okra popped up at the farmer’s market a couple of weeks ago, and busted this one out. Definitely worth a try. Broil it; fry it; grill it. Okra is awesome.

  • BobT says:

    “they made me want to smash in my own face with joy.”

    You are too funny.
    OK, I’ll try it this weekend.

  • Carrie says:

    want! we have been in the exact same mode – perfectly primal dinner last night of ribeyes on the grill (on sale at Central Market!), sliced zukes, carrots, shallots also on the grill on a foil sheet, and a side of local microgreens, garden tomatoes, balsamic, and basil infused olive oil. and plenty of cracked pepper! I think the phenom of grilling during these heinous ATX summers is one of the best respites because our houses can stay cooler while we cook! while we haven’t initiated whole30 yet, i’m attempting to ease the transition and focus our evening meal on being primal as possible and so far, it’s been delicious.

    • Mel says:

      I’m like Hellboy, standing over my grill, sweating in the 100+temps with the extra heat of the gas grill rolling over me. I am flame proof!

  • I’ve never had okra before! I’m always looking for new things to grill–especially veggies. Thanks for sharing!

    I’ve also wanted to try grilling sweet potatoes. I think they’ll taste awesome with some lime and cilantro…

    • Mel says:

      I bet thin slices of sweet potato will be HEAVENLY on the grill. I’m thinking… salt, garlic, cumin (of course), cinnamon, and then a drizzle of coconut milk when they’re toasty brown.

  • Kelly says:

    Ha Ha, We don’t even need to preheat the grill now. Heck, we don’t even need to turn the darn thing on to get our food cooked. 106 degrees today deep in the Heart of Texas…
    I love your Okra idea. Planning my grocery list now. 🙂

  • Kate says:

    I’ve never attempted okra and now can’t wait to try it! Any food that is smash-in-your-own-face good sounds amazing to me!

    PS – have started another Whole30 and got to share my experiences with our CrossFit gym since we were doing a contest back in Feb/March. I have to admit that going back and reading it made me want to stay Whole30 compliant ALL the time (although I stayed probably 75-85% compliant post contest). You were a major motivator and inspiration to me. Thank you!

    • Mel says:

      Congrats on starting another Whole30. YAY for you!

      I’m a week into mine, and I’m loving it. I find a lot of freedom in not even considering non-compliant food — and I physically feel pretty good right now. Sweet!

      Try the okra! And let me know how you like it.

  • shadrack says:

    This was delicioius, juicy, tasty, yummy. Not breaded, was great.

  • Marian says:

    Love okra and here is my technique for the unslimy non-grill version:

    Wash & dry okra (should be really dry)
    Slice into rounds (like you do for boiled okra)
    Heat small amount of olive oil in Sauté In non-stick pan
    add your fav seasonings, i use a sprinkle of garlic powder and Italian mix. From reading this blog I have a feeling you guys will add a little heat!
    Stir occasionally until slightly brown and a bit crisp. You may need to give it a spritz of olive oil
    **apologies for lack of measurements, I mostly just wing it.**

    I just discovered whole30 last week and had 5 successful days with a bit of a slip at Oktoberfest last night. Felt like cr*p last night and couldn’t sleep. Lesson learned. Love this blog.

    • Mel says:

      Thanks for sharing — sounds great!

      It hurts to learn the hard way about straying from the Whole30 path, no?

      The good news is that after a full 30 days, a treat now and then has less impact — but you have to get at least 30 days under your belt to make enough “deposits in the good health bank” to make a beer withdrawal 😉

      Glad you like my blog!

  • Skyy says:

    Hey Mel!

    Just wanted to let you know that your link for Zucchini Noodles with Pesto is pointing to this recipe. I know you’d want to know. It takes one to know one. 🙂

  • Skyy says:

    Its from the Recipe Index. When I click the Zucchini Noodles with Pesto, I end up at Grilled Okra.

  • Chris says:

    Just grilled okra as suggested and they were very fibrous and chewy—not good at all. What did I do wrong. Couldn’t even cut them with a knife.

    • Sorry… I don’t know how to help you. I haven’t heard of anyone else having this issue with the recipe. I did a quick Google search, and it seems that okra gets tough when it’s old/large. If the pods are more than 4 inches long, it gets tough, no matter how you cook it.