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Grilled Salad on the grill

How to Make Great Grilled Romaine Salad

Grilled salad may sound a bit weird. Like the vegetable adoration trend taken a bit too far.

If you’ve never tasted grilled romaine at a restaurant (and I just recently had one at the fabulous Cape Sea Grille that made me a believer yet again), you may wonder if we’re all just getting a bit too carried away.

The truth is that grilling salad greens, like romaine hearts, transforms the familiar into something far out. A smokey, slightly steamed and still crisp palette for your all of your salad creativity.

Is there anything that isn’t better grilled?

And since you’re probably already planning on grilling this Labor Day Weekend, why not make ultimate use of your grill once you’ve fired it up?

Here’s a quick how-to:

1. Find a lovely head of romaine. {I only wish I had grown this. It’s from Backyard Gardens.}

Romaine for grilled salad

2. Trim the root end but keep the core intact. Cut the head in half from root to leaf tops.

Trimmed romaine for grilled salad

3. If the heads are large, cut again into quarters, then wash thorough and drain well. Some of the outer leaves will fall off, so set them aside for your next fresh salad.

Grilled Salad prep

4. Brush the lettuce lightly with extra-virgin olive oil and salt it sparingly (optional).

Grilled Salad on the grill

5. Preheat your grill (gas or charcoal) to medium-high heat. Place the cut side down first and aim the core over the hottest part of the grill. (The cooked core is my favorite part!)

Grilled Salad ready on the grill

6. Cook for 2-3 minutes until the leaves begin to blacken, then turn with tongs and repeat on all sides.

customize your grilled salad

As a plus, you can grill other veggies to go with your salad, such as Walla Walla sweet onions, red peppers or some of that extra zucchini you probably have on hand.

Then compose your salad with some of this and that: bacon, crumbled feta or goat cheese, olives, pickled green beans… Let your mood–and the contents of your fridge–be your guide.

Grilled salad ready to eat
Grilled romaine salad with homemade bacon, cherry tomatoes, basil tips and shaved parmesan.

I love to use grilled romaine as a base for grilled salmon or steak. But it is also entirely enjoyable on its own.

Just in case you crave more, here are 1,000+ ideas for grilled romaine lettuce salads on Pinterest. Yup, it’s officially a thing.

Celebrate the end of summer and grill something totally new while you still can. Cheers!

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Grilled Salad on the grill
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Grilled Romaine Salad with Lemon Vinaigrette & Shaved Parmesan

Grilling adds smokiness to hearty greens, like romaine and radicchio for a wilted summer salad. Serve this with grilled salmon, shrimp or steak or on its own embellished with torn strips of prosciutto.

Course Salad
Cuisine American
Prep Time 5 minutes
Cook Time 10 minutes
Total Time 15 minutes
Servings 4 people
Author Lynne Curry

Ingredients

  • 3/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil, plus additional for brushing lettuce
  • 1/4 cup freshly squeezed lemon juice (about 2)
  • 1/2 teaspoon Dijon mustard
  • 1 small clove garlic, minced
  • sea salt
  • black pepper
  • 1 lemon thinly sliced
  • 2 large heads romaine
  • 1/2 cup shaved parmesan

Instructions

  1. To make the vinaigrette, combine the olive oil, lemon juice, garlic and mustard in a tightly sealed jar. Shake vigorously to blend well and set aside.

  2. Trim the root ends of the romaine but keep the cores intact. Cut the head in half from root to leaf tops. If the heads are large, cut again into quarters, then wash thorough and drain well. Some of the outer leaves will fall off, so set them aside for your next fresh salad.

  3. Preheat your grill (gas or charcoal) to medium-high heat. 

  4. Brush the lettuce lightly with extra-virgin olive oil and salt it lightly. Place the lettuce cut side down on the grate and aim the core over the hottest part of the grill. Cook for 2-3 minutes until the leaves begin to blacken, then turn with tongs and repeat on all sides.

  5. Grill the lemon slices until they begin to blacken on one side, turn with tongs and cook the second side. 

  6. Arrange the grilled lettuces on a platter, shake the dressing well and drizzle it all over, serving additional at the table. Top with the lemon slices and the shaved parmesan. Serve at room temperature.

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