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Grilled Romaine Lettuce with a Glorious Char

***Editor’s Note ~ Due to the overwhelming amount of traffic this post has provided the site, I decided it needed a face lift.  This was done originally with my old point and shoot camera so I decided to redo the grilled Romaine entirely with my DSLR. So if this looks different to you because you’ve been here before, it’s the same process, but with better pictures***

Sounds nuts right? Grilled Romaine lettuce? Grilled lettuce? Isn’t that just grilled salad?! I thought the same thing, but decided to try it anyway. I was ridiculed soundly by friends and family who thought this was some sort of joke. I took the ribbing while doing the prep, cooking the lettuce and even while plating it. Then I handed out the forks to those around the fire and the only sound was the charred yet crisp lettuce being crunched by suddenly mute mockers.

Romaine lettuce has some natural sugars inside that are not released by slathering it with caesar salad dressing. It is only release when grilling the lettuce. Combine that with something so simple as grated cheese and the resulting combination is as wonderful as it is off the wall with a sweet smokiness and a lovely savory of the cheese. Or make the best Caesar’s salad by you’ve ever had by making grilled salad first.

Grilled Romaine Lettuce Ingredients:

2 heads of Romaine lettuce, the leafy outer leaves removed and sliced lengthwise
2 tbsp olive oil
2 tsp granulated garlic or garlic powder
1/2 cup of fresh grated Romano cheese (any hard grated cheese could be used like Asiago or parmesian)
Course salt and fresh cracked pepper

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Grilled Romaine Lettuce Ingredients

Prep and cooking is even easier than compiling the ingredients. First, remove the outer leafy leaves as they will get wilted before the rest of the lettuce picks up a nice char:

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Remove these leafy outer leafs

With these two heads, I had quite a few leaves I had to pull away:

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Discard these leafs

With the outer leaves removed, the lettuce look like giant hearts of romaine:

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Giant Hearts of Romaine Lettuce

Rinse the heads of lettuce under cold water:

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Rinsing

Now place the Romaine heads on a cutting board and pat dry with a paper towel.  Then cut the heads of Romaine in half lengthwise:

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Slicing
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Sliced

Now time for the olive oil, garlic, salt and pepper. Always lay the flat side down first when doing this. That way you apply these ingredients on the flat side last and thus it will be facing up and not flat on the cutting board which is where all the oil, garlic, salt and black pepper will wind up and require a second coating. I didn’t get shots of them being applied to the curved side first, so in these pictures I have skipped ahead. First drizzle the olive oil:

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Drizzling

Then dust the halved heads of Romaine with the granulated garlic and sprinkle with coarse salt and fresh cracked black pepper:

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Dusting
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Sprinkling
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Cracking

Again, apply the oil, garlic, pepper and salt to the curved side first and then repeat for the flat side.

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Ready for Grilling

Now off to the grill which I prepared for direct grilling over very hot coals.  This is a quick process, so don’t go to the bathroom or refill your drink after you start.

Place the half heads of Romaine right over a hot fire flat side down:

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Grilling Lettuce

This only takes a couple of minutes so keep checking the underside. Look for the lettuce to blacken a bit. A nice char is the desired result without having the lettuce wilt too much under the heat:

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Grilled Romaine Lettuce

Notice how I have them not quite flipped over.  With one side being rounded, in order to get an even char all the way around, I have to char them in three phases with the curved side getting a sear on two sides, almost like a triangle.

During the cooking process, some of the leaves you cut through are going to pull away from the head like so:

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Pull these off the Grilled Lettuce and discard

Once all the grilled Romaine lettuce heads are charred evenly they should look similar to this:

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Gloriously Grilled Romaine

You can plate this a couple of ways.  You can remove from the grill, lop off the bottom inch or two (where sediment can build up even if you wash well) and put into a bowl where you add the grated cheese and toss. The other option is to serve the grilled romaine halves individually as I did here, adding the cheese as soon as it leaves the grill:

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Add the Cheese to the Grilled Romaine

On the table and ready to serve:

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Plated

Grilled salad my be the perfect side to go with a grilled steak. Once the steak is pulled off to rest, throw the lettuce on. The steak, depending on thickness, should be perfectly rested when your grilled salad is ready to be plated. And if you skipped the cheese and and salt went with a warm bacon vinaigrette, it would be paleo on top of being gluten free!

I get asked all the time if this recipe can be done on a gas grill. It can, but the grill needs to be able to get wicked hot. If your grill used to get that hot but has cooled off as it has aged, don’t junk it just yet. Call the brilliant people at GrillPartsSearch.com and have them do a little triage. It could simply be a fuel regulator or a burner that needs to be replaced which is a lot cheaper and easier than buying and building a brand new grill.

If you have any questions about the above dish please feel free to comment below or email me.

5.0 from 1 reviews
Grilled Romaine Lettuce
Author: 
Recipe type: Side Dish
Cuisine: BBQ
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 4-6
 
To truly appreciate the unbeknownst sweetness of romaine lettuce, one must grill it. Only with that char, will one every experience a magical side dish.
Ingredients
  • 2 heads of Romaine lettuce, the leafy outer leaves removed and sliced lengthwise
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 2 tsp granulated garlic or garlic powder
  • ½ cup of fresh grated Romano cheese (any hard grated cheese could be used like Asiago or parmesian)
  • Course salt and fresh cracked pepper
Instructions
  1. Remove the leafy outer leaves of each head of romaine
  2. Rinse the heads under cold water
  3. Slice down the center lengthwise
  4. Place flat side down and drizzle with olive oil and dust with granulated garlic, salt and black pepper
  5. Flip over and repeat the step above
  6. Prepare the grill for high heat grilling
  7. Place the half heads of romaine flat side down over the coals
  8. Once the flat side has a nice blackened char (about 2-3 minutes depending on the heat of the grill) flip over and sear one side of the curved side
  9. After another 2-3 minutes rotate to char the other half of the curved side of the half head of romaine
  10. Remove any leafs that come loose during the cooking process
  11. Once the flat side and the curved side are charred, remove from the heat, place on a platter and sprinkle the grated cheese on the lettuce
  12. Serve immediately
Notes
Do not eat the bottom two inches or so at the base. Romaine lettuce is known to collect dirt and grit at the base. The only reason the base is not cut off is because the lettuce would fall apart like confetti on the grill without the base.

Here’s a nice collage of the process:

Grilled Romaine Collage

Scott Thomas

Scott Thomas

Scott Thomas, the Original Grillin’ Fool, was sent off to college with a suitcase and a grill where he overcooked, undercooked and burned every piece of meat he could find. After thousands of failures, and quite a few successes, nearly two decades later he started a website to show step by step, picture by picture, foolproof instructions on how to make great things out of doors so that others don’t have to repeat the mistakes he’s made on the grill.
Scott Thomas

@GrillinFool

http://t.co/FxaUMvg9r4 - Dedicated to step by step, picture by picture, foolproof grillin' instructions.
@thesportsgents @TeamCanadaBBQ @FoodiePatutie @BBQCentralShow think I might do ribs in the snow. - 12 mins ago
Scott Thomas

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64 comments

I have seen a few recipes for grilled romaine lately – I’m thinking I’ll have to give it a try!

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I considered this over the weekend but dismissed it after Scott set the grill on fire (sigh). Will have to try it once the grill is operational again.

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Yum!! This looks great. Can’t wait to fire up my grill.

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I’ve seen grilled romaine around and have been wondering how it was. Hmmmm, looks good I think I’ll try it soon :)

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thanks for this post! i’ll add this as research to my thesis: “if its edible, I can grill it!”. i’ll be cooking this soon.

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I learned something new today, that romaine lettuce can be grilled! very informative post :)

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I love grilled salad! Never have done romaine…but endive and radicchio. Sounds great and it is finally grilling season!

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Never had grilled greens before…I need to give this a try!

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Grilled lettuce?!? Who knew!?! I will give it a try.

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Everyone,

It caught me completely off guard too. First I mocked. Then I decided to try and I got mocked. It was so good that I’m doing it this weekend for my Wife and I. I have no idea what else I am grilling, but grilled Salad is on the menu again.

Please let me know how yours turns out. Also, if you try anything different. I considered slathering the romaine with Caesar Salad Dressing instead of oil and see how the salad dressing tastes caramelized onto the lettuce but decided to keep it simple for the first go round…

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So Good!!! I was for sure skeptical, as was everyone else! But it was SO yummy. Amazing how much smokey flavor the romaine picks up in the few minutes it is on the grill. I could eat this every day! I stuck to the original recipe, but S&P, garlic powder, oil and parm, but will definitely play with it. Thanks so much for sharing!!

Melissa,

I was skeptical too! I had little hope for this dish and made it for the first time on Mother’s day at a party here at the house. Not only was I skeptical, but so was everyone else. I got mocked mercilessly all the way to the grill with my head of lettuce lopped in half and all the way through the grilling process. Then I finished it and handed out a handful of forks. Too bad only a handful got to taste it because I got mocked by the rest who didn’t get a chance to taste it. I got a lot of apologies once everyone else tasted it…

…….Scott

Nothing is unfit for grilling….you made it loud and clear..:)

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That is definitely something I am going to have to try. Sounds so wierd, but looks so good!

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I have always wanted to try grilled romaine. This looks delicious and so easy! Thank you for the recipe.

http://www.cookincanuck.com

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What a great idea! Thanks for taking us through the process – I realize it’s easy but it’s nice to have a good visual of what it should look like so that it’s neither over nor under done! I love cool, crisp lettuce salad but this sounds like a deliciously different alternative (probably a lot healthier, too, w/o all the dressing!)

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This looks so good! I’ve seen Emeril do it several times on his show, but I’ve never tried it. Next time hubby fires up the grill, I’m slapping some Romaine on there! Thanks!

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What a great idea – I bet it tasted as fabulous as it looks.

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The grilled lettuce sounds so good. Talk about a tasty caesar option.

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Its very new. You give all unique recipes based on grill & grilling ramaine lettuce is really new & its a must for me to try it. I have tried your grills based on chicken. It came out well. Thanx for sharing

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Very nice idea on the grilled romaine salad. Going to have to give that a try.

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Seems great. I tried a salad made from a grilled romaine head once, but I bet I could do it much better at home with your recipe.

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Sorry to comment twice in a row! I just made this last night, and it was really good. Do you mind if I post my picture on my blog, and of course credit yours?

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Athlete,

By all means post it on your blog. Just give us credit with a link. I’m glad you enjoyed it. I did it again last night as well for about 8. It came out really well. Got a suggestion for a modification to the recipe that involves a hot bacon vinaigrette. From your handle, I’m guessing that is not your thing but for others it might be. I’m waiting on the recipe and I plan on adding it to this post…

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I have made this six times this past week. mainly because I had the romaine to use up but also because it addicting! I sprinkled bacon and balsamic vinegar on it also. Very, very good!

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I’m on board with everyone else. I haven’t tried it, but I’m curious how it will turn out.

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Had for the first time out at a restaurant in Denver and have been making this on my own since. It’s great! I also recommend slicing up some bread and grilling that as well- then throwing it in with the lettuce and putting the dressing on and shaved parm. cheese. I’ve used a number of types of dressing – classic caesars dressing is great, as are most vinegarettes .

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What is the type of smoker you use? I HAD one, but after a few months it just stopped. It was an electric one, which I like. Do you have any suggestions?
N.

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Nancy,

Just about any grill can be turned into a smoker. Even a gas grill. We’re big fans of Char-Broil and Big Green Egg products. BGE’s can be really expensive but are amazing smokers. Char-Broil has an entire line of nice charcoal smokers that do a great job. What is your budget? If you want to take this offline email me at scott (at) GrillinFools (dot) com and we can discuss…

…….Scott

I was invited to a dinner party about 10 months ago and was asked if I could bring something to contribute. We were having a few drinks at the time and I had mentioned that I could BBQ the salad. Everyone laughed and made fun of me for a couple weeks before the party. When I showed up with my romaine Caesar dressing olive oil etc.. They again began to mock me. Well that all came to a sudden halt when they started eating. They were blown away with how the heat from the grill enhances the flavor. To this day they all brag about my BBQ salad.

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Tracy,

I was mocked and ridiculed the first time I did it too. I wish I had made more the first time as about 20 people mocked but only a handful got to taste it. Now, most people keep their traps shut until they taste something weird of mine as they know how inventive I can be. Have you tried the grilled bologna? Same kind of deal…

…….Scott

I know what you mean! Have you tried grilled gyro meat with grilled pita pockets! I grill the tomatoes and lettuce for that as well and it’s GREAT! Everyone always laughs when we throw a frozen pizza on the grill, too! DiGiorno’s comes out great. Buy the cheese one and add grilled veggies, or whatever you like… just great! I’m a firm believer in “if it’s edible, it can be grilled” as the one post stated. Nothing I won’t try!

No I haven’t, but I’m making your Moinks and ABT’s for Bday party tonight. I’ll search your grilled bologna. I assume it’s on here?

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Did this at the same time as the Fatty’s and some pork steaks. Could not believe how good it was. Great recipie. Whole family loved this one too.

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I posted this on my fishing site and gave you credit with a link to this page. It turned out great! I found you from Woody and Rizz!

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No problem, TT. Of all the recipes we have on the site, that’s the one that gets us the most traffic. It’s so weird, so easy and yet so good. Glad you enjoyed it…

…….Scott

Had this (a Caesar version) in a restaurant in Winston Salem, NC and have been anxious to try at home- so surprisingly good! Thanks for the recipe, gonna make tonight and will be back to your site for more!

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Ashley,

Thanks for the kind words. They are very much appreciated from someone as talented as yourself. May your creativity never wane…

…….Scott

Had this once at a fancy restaurant in Atlanta. I was craving it! This recipe was perfect!! I ate the whole thing by myself!

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This is absolutely wonderful, but don’t be afraid to experiment. I use EVOO (extra virgin olive oil), coarse black pepper, a little flaked sea salt & a little garlic salt before grilling, then sprinkle shaved asiatic, romano, parmesan, etc. on top..

And charcoal is the tastiest by far.

The one problem is that no mater what else I am grilling, this overshadows the other foods.

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This is my favorite recipe I have ever seen online!! I love the photo’s that you put with them. Really explains how you prepare your romaine. Grilled Romaine is one of my favorite salads!!

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Tried it. Fantastic!! Quick and easy. Paired well with cedar planked salmon!

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Requested my salad in high end restaurant to be Romaine only. Chef prepared grilled with blue cheese crumbles ($8). Very, very good. Grilling two heads today.

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turned out really well, but the propane kept on putting the romaine in flames. The flavor was really good, like when your grill any veggies. Don’t use too much olive oil. Two hearts fed six people.

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It is great….try adding grilled salmon or grilled chicken. It makes it even better!

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Karen,

We’ve added flat iron steak as well and it’s awesome…

……..Scott

Cooked tonight. Excellent! I poured a little Caesar dressing (just a little) on top along with other ingredients for added flavor. We both enjoyed it, and my husband, who is not adventurous at all, really enjoyed it. I think it really meant more to him because he could grill it himself — which is really important to him. Thanks for the recipe!

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Vickey,

Glad it came out well…

…….Scott

WOW! Penzey’s! I use their spices etc for everything. Never buy spices in the store. Making these for dinner tonight with a little Pecorino Romano, my favorite hard cheese.
Thanks for the recipe.

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Definitely trying this next week. Thanks for the easy to follow directions.

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We followed this recipe tonight and it turned out wonderful! Highly recommend with grilled chicken. Thanks for the clear directions!

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Made tonight. Have had grilled romaine regularly at a favorite restaurant. This recipe was so easy to follow. Mine came out as good as the restaurant’s did. I added a corn mixture with peppers, onions and cream and grilled chicken. Also a little Ceasar dressing yum! Thanks for sharing!

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Cheryl,

That sounds amazing!

Prepared this and the Apple tart for the family tonight. Wonderful taste and so easy.

Thank you!!

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I was skeptical, but after trying it once it is now a standard part of our grilling menu. Very, very good and what could be easier!

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This grilled romaine was EXCELLENT. Made it yesterday. Appreciated the pictures!

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Mary from OHIO,

Glad you liked it…

…….Scott

I have this at just about every small cookout I throw. Some other great toppings: Blue cheese, balsamic vinegraitte, bacon, grilled tomatoes, and the list goes one. Highly recommend everyone try this, you will want to have it again!

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This is soooooo good I can not get enough of it! A perfect meal for me!!

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Very excited to try this tonight! Looks and sounds amazing!

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AMAZING Taste! I grilled the romaine, along side of summer squash, zucchini and onion. I also quartered a pear and had that on the grill. When the romaine looked ready, I crumbled goat cheese on top and drizzled balsamic vinegar, and closed the grill cover for a minute. Then, I removed the lettuce from the grill. On top of the cheese went the onions, then the zucchini and the summer squash. Of course on top went slivers of the roasted pear. My husband, friend and I loved this fun and flavorful salad. We will definitely keep on experimenting with grilling lettuce.

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Thanks for this simple but awesome recipe, did tonight on a charcoal grill after cooking a meduim rare blue cheese stuffed Ribeye steak aw life is good!

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