How to Grill

How To Grill Romaine Lettuce and Upgrade Your Summer Salads

A game changer for your salad prep.

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Between burgers, corn, and other popular grilling favorites, you may think your BBQ menu is complete. But, there’s another item that should be on your grill: romaine lettuce. It sounds odd, but grilled heads of romaine lettuce turn an ordinary side salad into something extraordinary. If you’re hesitant about grilling lettuce, read our below ‘How To Grill Romaine Lettuce Guide.’ It will lay your doubts to rest and make for a showstopping salad.

Is it normal to grill romaine lettuce?

As a crunchy, leafy salad green, romaine is commonly consumed raw. However, grilling romaine is quickly gaining popularity. It gives the leaves a soft texture without completely wilting them.

What does grilled romaine taste like? 

Romaine lettuce takes on a sweet, caramelized yet smoky flavor when grilled. Also, the grill gives the lettuce a slight crispy char that looks appetizing alongside the rest of your meal.

Is it necessary to wash romaine lettuce?

Yes, it’s necessary to wash romaine lettuce before consuming it. The CDC recommends thoroughly washing romaine to avoid foodborne illness – unless it’s pre-washed and lists the following on the package:

  • Ready-to-eat
  • Triple washed
  • No washing necessary

“Pre-washed greens sometimes cause illness. But the commercial washing process removes most of the contamination that can be removed by washing,” the CDC’s website states.

What is the best way to clean romaine lettuce?

If your romaine isn’t pre-washed, then you’ll have to do it yourself. Using the CDC’s guide for washing leafy greens, apply these tips when washing romaine lettuce:

  • Wash your hands for 20 seconds with mild soap and warm water before and after preparing the romaine.
  • Get rid of any torn or bruised leaves and outer leaves of the lettuce heads.
  • Rinse the remaining leaves under running water. Use your hands to gently rub them to help get rid of germs and dirt in between the leaves.
  • Dry lettuce heads with a clean cloth or paper towel. Begin slicing in half or quarters on a clean cutting board if the recipe calls for it.

How do you prepare grilled romaine lettuce?

Once the lettuce is washed, it’s ready to prepare for the grill. Cambria Style’s Editor-in-Chief LouAnn Berglund shares a recipe for grilled romaine that’s perfect for serving with your favorite salad dressing or her green goddess dressing (ingredients below).

“I am obsessed with grilled romaine at the moment,” she tells First for Women.

Grilled Romaine Lettuce Salad

Ingredients (Serves 2 to 4):

  • 2 heads romaine lettuce, tops and bottoms trimmed neatly, heads cut lengthwise into quarters
  • 1/2 cup grated Parmesan
  • 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • Salad dressing (for brushing and serving)
  • Salt and pepper
  • Preferred salad toppings (optional)

Directions:

  • Brush olive oil over quartered lettuce heads and season with salt and pepper. 
  • Lightly grill lettuce over hot grill 15 to 20 seconds on each side until lightly golden (not blackened).
  • Remove from grill and brush with salad dressing. (Be sure to dressing in between leaves.) 
  • Sprinkle with Parmesan and place back on grill that has been turned off – one to 2 minutes.  Allow cheese to melt and lettuce to soften. 
  • Drizzle with more dressing, add salad toppings, and serve.

Green Goddess Dressing

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup parsley leaves
  • 1 cup packed watercress or spinach leaves, stemmed
  • 2 tablespoons tarragon leaves, rinsed
  • 3 tablespoons minced chives
  • 1 garlic clove, roughly chopped
  • 2 anchovy fillets, preferably salt-packed
  • 3 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
  • 1 tablespoon plus 1 teaspoon champagne or white wine vinegar 
  • 1/2 cup canola oil or grapeseed oil
  • 1/2 cup mayonnaise 
  • 1/4 cup fresh basil
  • Salt and pepper

Directions:

  1. Mix all ingredients except mayo in blender or food processor until smooth. 
  2. Add mayo until blended and season with salt and pepper to taste. Serve immediately.
  3. Will keep 3 to 4 days in plastic food storage container in fridge. If needed, add water when ready to serve again until it reaches desired salad dressing consistency.

Have we convinced you that grilled romaine is the way to go? We hope so since it’s a great way to infuse salads with a smoky flavor all grilling season long!

Looking for additional grilling tips? Check out these stories:

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