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Grilled Romaine Let­tuce with a Glo­ri­ous Char

Grilled Romaine let­tuce? Sounds nuts right? 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 plat­ing. 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 released with heat. High heat. Like molten lava heat. Com­bine those sug­ars 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 the love­ly savory from the cheese.

Grilled Romaine Lettuce Ingredients:

2 heads of Romaine let­tuce, the leafy out­er leaves removed and sliced length­wise
2 tbsp olive oil
Course salt and fresh cracked pep­per
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)

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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 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 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 stick 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

***Editor’s Note ~ Here are two of my oth­er favorite side dish­es — Baked Pota­toes on the Grill (and no, I don’t use foil. No smoke if the taters are foiled), and My Spin on Okla­homa Joe’s Smoked Beans***

Now off to the grill with my soon to be grilled sal­ad which I pre­pared for direct grilling over very hot coals. So let’s get that grill rag­ing hot. The quick­est way to do that? Using the Elec­tro­Light Fire Starter:

ElecroLight - Vert 3
FIRE!

The Elec­tro­Light will get those coals lava hot in right about 2 min­utes. I’m not kid­ding. They light grills wicked fast. Check out my review of the Elec­tro­Light to see a video of coals being lit from start to fin­ish. Once the fire is lit, remem­ber this is a quick process, so don’t go to the bath­room or refill your drink once 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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Some nice char there

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 hits the plat­ter for opti­mal melt­ing:

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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 and went with a warm bacon vinai­gret­te, it would be paleo on top of being gluten free!

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

5.0 from 4 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

https://t.co/lVWgniik3V#Grill­Porn abounds here. All meat, all the time!
That mahogany col­or is so.…. Wait, what is that gloved hand going to do?!?! Oh, that was… https://t.co/bpqKk30DaO https://t.co/R0MxeAqiys — 1 hour ago
Scott Thomas

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79 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

My first expe­ri­ence with grilled romaine was at Ruth’s Chris Steak House where they have a grilled romaine Cae­sar sal­ad it was tru­ly out of this world and not to be missed. The sec­ond time was at a mag­nif­i­cent French restau­rant in Ocala Flori­da where we went to cel­e­brate my son’s grad­u­a­tion. Again the grilled romaine sal­ad was out of this world. 

Won­der­ing how a fla­vored bal­sam­ic vine­gar (cran-orange or straw­ber­ry ) or a fla­vored olive oil (lemon) would work in this recipe? Have you tried it? 

Cindy,

I would assume it would be even bet­ter!

.……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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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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Tonight I will grill a heart of romaine while the riv­et­ed rest. Thanks for the recipe.

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Thought I wrote “while the ribeyes rest” but leave it to auto­cor­rect to write non­sense!!

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Pame­la, it hap­pens to every­one. I saw a meme today that read:

Hey, auto­cor­rect, quit mess­ing with my pro­fan­i­ty you moth­er fork­lift

I laughed out loud…

.……Scott

I have grilled endi­ve like this but mar­i­nat­ed it just a bit, but I have to be hon­est this blows the endi­ve right off the grill! As a veg­e­tar­i­an this just gave me anoth­er deli­cious dish to enjoy along side my fam­i­ly who likes to eat grilled meat. Thank you for shar­ing this!!!

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Shel­ley,

I need to look into the endi­ve thing. Thanks for the inspi­ra­tion…

.……Scott

LOL spelled my own name wrong!! 

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[…] Red Romaine- Cer­ti­fied Organ­ic If you are let­tuced out with this share, grab your head of romaine and pop it on the grill.  I’m not kid­ding.  Let­tuce is NOT just for sal­ads.  Try the recipe here. […]

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Nev­er thought of that let­tuce can be cooked like this. It looks strange a bit to me and I may try to know how it tastes. Thanks for shar­ing

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You will not be dis­ap­point­ed. I promise you!

A friend of mine told me about grilled Artisian let­tuce. I decid­ed to try broil method in my oven, since I didn’t have a bar­be­cue grill. I broiled until brown on top. It was deli­cious. My hus­band even request­ed we have it tonight. Great recipe! Thanks.

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Gina,

I nev­er would’ve thought to broil it. Bril­liant!

.……Scott

best. recipe. ever.

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