A bit crunchy and completely slime-free, this recipe converts many an okra-hater.
To be clear: I absolutely love okra. I love it fried and crispy. I love it thickening up gumbo. I love it stir-fried with spices. I love it stewed in tomatoes. I love it mixed into a cheesy dip. The “slime” factor doesn’t bother me one bit. I do, however, completely understand why someone would object to that specific texture as something to eat. But just because a person is slime-averse doesn’t mean they should miss out on the delicate grassy flavor of okra. Enter roasting.
Like most vegetables, okra responds very well to roasting. This version of roasted okra ends up with crispy and crunchy bits while mitigating any slime. There are two factors at work: the dry heat of a hot oven dehydrates the okra, taking the water necessary for the viscous texture out of the equation, and by cutting the okra lengthwise in half you speed up that process significantly. So yes, the oven temperature is high, and yes, you do need to cut each pod. The bit of time needed to do so more than pays off in the results, in my opinion. And once you get the hang of it you can stack a few like-sized pods together and get through the prep work pretty quickly.
Feel free to play around with adding spices or other vegetables to this dish, but I find the plain, lightly salted okra is always the star of this show.
- 1 pound okra
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 1/4 teaspoon salt, plus more to taste
- Preheat an oven to 425°F. Line a large baking sheet with parchment paper, if you like. I find this leads both to easier clean-up and more evenly browned okra.
- While the oven heats, prep the okra by cutting off and discarding the pod ends and then cutting each pod in half lengthwise. This is a key element of ending up with crispy, rather than just roasted, okra.
- Put the okra on the prepared baking sheet. Drizzle the okra with the olive oil and toss to coat all the okra pieces with the oil. Spread out the okra in a single layer. If you want the absolute most evenly browned okra, take a moment to put them all cut-side-down. Sprinkle with the salt.
- Roast okra, rotating the pan after about 20 minutes, until tender, browned, and crispy on most of the edges, about 30 minutes total. If you really love crispy, feel free to keep roasting for another 10 or even 15 minutes. Serve hot—like all roasted vegetables, okra will lose its crispness as it sits.