Elevate your appetizer or side dish scene with this sophisticated, yet simple to prepare, okra appetizer.
Okra is the unsung hero of vegetables. At least this is how I feel about it.
Most people are only familiar with fried okra or okra in gumbo. While both of these dishes are delectable, it’s only the beginning of what this power veggie has to offer.
I love to roast okra. And I mean, I REALLY love roasted okra. It transforms this humble, southern vegetable to something high class and so flavorful.
If you are new to roasted okra, I think my Roasted Okra & Tomatoes recipe is great starting place.
However, if you and roasted okra already have “a thing”, like we do, I have an amazing new recipe for you: Roasted Okra with Smoky Red Pepper Ricotta.
It is the perfect upscale appetizer or classy side dish that looks like it took forever to make, but didn’t. This recipe doesn’t need any hard-to-find ingredients so don’t worry about that. The only real unique ingredient is smoked, sweet paprika, which is easy to find on Amazon or any grocery store nowadays.
This dish not only looks beautiful, it also has surprising flavors to back up its good looks. It’s the perfect okra appetizer or side dish. To serve this, I recommend using either a serving spoon or pie server so you can scoop up the ricotta underneath with the okra on top. Eat it with your fingers as a appetizer or with a fork and knife as a side dish.
Here’s how you make it:
- 1 lb fresh okra, sliced in half longways
- 1 red bell pepper, halved and deseeded
- 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
- ½ teaspoon garlic powder
- ½ teaspoon Kosher salt
- ¼ teaspoon fresh ground black pepper
- 1 ½ cup whole milk ricotta
- Juice of 1 small lemon
- 1 teaspoon (more if desired) smoked paprika
- Preheat oven to 425 degrees. Cover a large, rimmed baking sheet with parchment paper.
- Layer the cut okra and bell pepper on baking sheet and toss each one in a tablespoon of oil. Sprinkle just the okra with garlic powder, Kosher salt, and pepper. Toss to coat. Roast for 15 minutes, until okra is mostly tender and slightly charred. Remove the the okra and set aside. Roast the bell peppers for 5 more minutes, or until tender and slightly charred as well. Allow pepper to cool enough to touch.
- In a food processor or high powered blender, pulse ricotta, pepper, lemon juice and paprika until smooth and combined.
- Spread pepper-ricotta on a platter to cover the bottom. Layer roasted okra on top. Serve with a pie server to scoop both ricotta dip and okra. Can be eaten as finger food or with a knife and fork.
I’ll tell you a little secret about this recipe. I created it for an actual magazine, Edible Northeast Florida, as a part of their holiday entertaining issue. It sadly did not make the cut, but this recipe did!!
So tell me, what kind of feelings do you have about okra? Leave a comment and let me know.