Food & Drink

Grilled okra with dip makes a great appetizer

This recipe is about trust.

Yes, I know okra can be a tough sell. I get it. And I’m not going to tell you that these grilled okra spears taste like french fries or anything else – they taste like okra. Which I happen to love.

I love their earthy and undeniably green flavor. I love the charred bits that get crispy on the grill (which are, if I may say so, rather fry-like). I love the way the seeds pop between my teeth. This is the recipe that made me fall in love with okra.

You’re probably wondering about the slime factor here. Oh, the dreaded slime factor! Since the okra is quickly cooked over high heat and because each pod remains intact in its own little okra universe, the slime factor is minimized. Think “creamy” rather than “slimy” in this instance. (Trust.)

Of course, if the okra is a tough sell, this chipotle dipping sauce certainly should not be. As much as I love okra, it still needs something to jazz it up, something to contrast the earthiness and add a bit of zing. Smoky-spicy chipotle peppers and lime juice mixed into sour cream and mayo will do it quite nicely. If you have leftover sauce, save it for spreading on sandwiches and burgers, or just eating with raw vegetables. It keeps in the refrigerator for at least a week.

One more argument for this grilled okra: It makes a great party appetizer. Besides being quick and easy to grill, it’s unexpected and intriguing. Surely, you can try just one. To be polite, of course. And then, like any other crunchy, salty, intriguing snack, suddenly they’re gone. (Trust.)

If you don’t have a grill, you can roast the okra in high heat in the oven or in a scorching hot cast-iron skillet over high heat. The okra will taste a little less smoky, but it will be no less delicious.

Emma Christensen is recipe editor for, a website for food and home cooking.