The Easy Method To Roast Okra For A Drier Texture

Valued by chefs and home cooks alike for its versatility in cooking, okra shows up in everything from gumbo to succotash, and in its pickled form elevates your favorite brunch cocktail, the Bloody Mary. So, if you love okra and have ever heard someone declare their disdain for the pods, you've probably rolled your eyes. You might have even argued, "It's because you haven't had it cooked right!" — and you'd be right! One of the easiest ways to "cook it right" and prove those who think they hate okra wrong is to roast the pods at high heat which results in a drier texture. 

Many eaters dislike okra because it can become slimy when cooked. This is actually a result of a thick gelatinous liquid in the pods called mucilage. The odorless, colorless, and tasteless goo helps plants such as okra maintain their moisture content (even in the heat of summer), but is also part of the reason why a pot of simmering gumbo ends up so velvety smooth. When cooking okra, the heat in effect breaks down the vegetable's cell walls, releasing the mucilage. By cooking okra at a higher heat through a method like roasting can come in handy to dry up the slippery seed pods, and with a little finesse, you'll find this roasting method a breeze. 

How to roast okra

If you're trying to achieve a crispy okra dish, it primarily comes down to using high heat so feel free to use an air fryer or roast okra in a conventional oven. Whichever route you choose, start by washing and patting dry roughly a pound or so of okra. After trimming the ends, slice the okra lengthwise. Once that's complete, thoroughly whisk a concoction of olive oil, salt, cayenne pepper, garlic powder, and smoked paprika that will be used to toss the okra in. Arrange the sliced okra in a single layer cut-side down on a baking sheet or in your fryer, and roast the pods at 450° Fahrenheit for about 15 minutes or until the bottoms are slightly crispy and brown. These tasty treats are best served hot but can be refrigerated in a sealed container for up to three days. 

The roasted okra is great all on its own or as a side dish, but, if you serve this roasted okra with a bit of salsa verde or Tajin for dipping, we're willing to bet that even the okra naysayers in your circle will thank you for introducing them such a treat!