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Grilled Hearts of Romaine

Grilled Hearts of Romaine

Yes, this is grilled, and it’s just as much fun to make as it is to eat.


  • 2 hearts of Romaine, basically a scaled-down version of the whole head
  • 1/3 cup olive oil
  • Balsamic vinegar
  • 16 slices cooked bacon, crumbled
  • 2 ripe medium tomatoes, diced
  • ½ cup shredded Parmesan cheese
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • Garlic Croutons


Preheat the grill to medium.

Slice a thin piece (1/16 inch) off the core end of each romaine, just to clean it up. Then cut lengthwise down the middle of each romaine heart, making 2 equal halves.

Brush both sides of each half lightly with olive oil and place cut side down on the grill. Grill only a couple of minutes, just until the leaves begin to wilt. Flip and repeat.

Remove from the grill and place cut side up on the plate. Sprinkle about a tablespoon of balsamic vinegar on each half, then drizzle with olive oil.

Add the bacon and tomatoes, and then top with cheese and season to taste with salt and pepper. Add the garlic croutons.

Grilled Romaine Lettuce

Elise founded Simply Recipes in 2003 and led the site until 2019. She has an MA in Food Research from Stanford University.

One of the great things about being a food blogger is that it compels you to be somewhat adventurous in your food.

If you had told me a few years ago that I would not only be happily eating grilled romaine lettuce, but encouraging others to do the same, I would have thought you were nuts.

Why in the world would anyone want to grill lettuce? Lettuce just isn't part of the grilling food group people! You know, burgers, ribs, beer can chicken.

Grilled lettuce? Why that's just. just pretentious, that's what.

Well the joke's on me, and anyone who loves salad and also loves grilled things, but hasn't tried to put them together. Lettuce is a vegetable, or at least we eat it like one. We do grill vegetables. They are good.

It stands to reason that the vegetable we call lettuce, if endowed with enough structure, which romaine has, would also be good grilled. And it is!

That said, as much as I like it, my mom likes it, and my friends like it, you may not. But I do encourage you to try it, especially if you have some romaine hearts around.

When you're done with the grilling, you can either serve them whole (one romaine heart per person), or slice them crosswise, and toss them in a bowl for a grilled salad.

Make the dressing:

In a medium bowl, stir the mayonnaise, sour cream, milk, blue cheese, shallot, garlic, lemon juice, salt, and pepper. Cover and refrigerate for at least 3 hours to let the flavors develop. Before using, taste and adjust the seasonings if necessary. The dressing will thicken as it sits and may need to be thinned with more milk.

Prepare the salad:

Once the dressing is chilled, heat a gas grill to medium low or prepare a medium-low charcoal fire. (Be sure the grate is hot, too.) Lightly brush olive oil all over the romaine hearts, taking care not to break the leaves. Sprinkle with salt and pepper. Put the lettuce cut side down on the grate, directly over the heat. Grill until the outer leaves are charred and wilted and the lettuce is warm and just barely tender all the way through to the core, 2 to 5 minutes, depending on the heat of your grill. Transfer the lettuce to a clean platter and let rest for 5 minutes.

To serve:

Place half a heart of romaine, cut side up, on each plate, top with about 2 tablespoons of the blue cheese dressing, or more to taste, and sprinkle with the crumbled bacon. Serve immediately.

French Grilled Romaine Hearts

Grilled hearts of romaine have picked up popularity within foodie circles and restaurants worldwide in recent times.

Multitudes of variations on romaine lettuce salads have been enjoyed since romaine's (kos) introduction in early Egypt, but its charms have just been waiting to be discovered as a top selection for grilling recipes. Romaine's mild sweetness turns into a delightful blend of smoky goodness when seared on the grill. Be warned, not all lettuce will respond as well as romaine on the grill so substitutes will be hard to find.

Though this grilled romaine lettuce recipe works best dressed with strongly flavored vinaigrettes or salty cheeses such as Parmesan or Grana Padano, the pure, unadulterated simplicity of salt and pepper is every bit as rewarding if you want to leave out the cheese.

The grilled romaine is not a dish for keeping. It should be freshly made and served immediately. Leave it lingering and the lettuce will wilt and lose flavor quickly. In the middle of winter do not despair if you are not getting the outdoor grill fired up, this recipe works very well using a cast-iron grill pan the results are almost the same except you are not in the fresh air.

Grilled Hearts of Romaine with Blue Cheese Vinaigrette and Pickled Onions

Combine first 5 ingredients and 1/4 teaspoon coarse salt in medium saucepan. Bring to simmer over medium heat. Add onions and stir to blend return to simmer and cook 2 minutes. Remove from heat cool to room temperature, about 1 hour. Season with freshly ground black pepper and more salt, if desired. DO AHEAD Can be made 1 day ahead. Cover chill.


Step 2

Prepare barbecue (medium-high heat). Combine vinegar and mustard in bowl. Gradually whisk in oil. Season with coarse salt and pepper. Mix in 1/2 cup cheese.

Step 3

Brush cut sides of romaine with olive oil, then sprinkle with coarse salt and pepper. Grill until cut sides are lightly charred, about 2 minutes per side.

Step 4

Divide grilled romaine among plates. Top with vinaigrette, pickled onions, and blue cheese.

How would you rate Grilled Hearts of Romaine with Blue Cheese Vinaigrette and Pickled Onions?

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This was delicious. I found the browning and turning process cooked the hearts perfectly and I didn't need the additional step of covering and cooking as the recipe states. I added shaved Parmigiano-Reggiano and a some freshly ground black pepper. I served them warm, and didn't cool to room temperature because there wasn't time. It was a big hit, and so very simple. Next time, as a variation, I will try grilling the hearts and using crumbled blue cheese.

Facing a glut of lettuce from my CSA share and having been curious about grilling, broiling or otherwise cooking lettuce, I have this recipe a shot. Delicious, simple, and surprisingly flavorful. I tried some plain (very good) then added some spring onion, a few parmesan shavings and some pepper flakes for garnish (also tasty).

This was a quick, easy, and delicious side dish. Frying them on medium-high heat until really brown gives them a sweet, smoky taste.

Really tasty! I was just looking for an easy way to use up romaine, and this was much better than I expected. I like a well seasoned dish as much as the next food lover, but I have to appreciate a recipe that provides great flavor from just three ingredients.

I prefer to grill this. I also like it with crumbled bleu cheese on top. Added near the end of grilling, it softens and adds a lot of flavor.

I've done this in the pan and on the grill. Like mine with salt and pepper and once one side is done, I sprinkle with freshly grated parm cheese.

Brush lettuce halves with some of Caesar Dressing. Place face down on heated grill or broiler rack and grill or broil 4 inches from heat source, about 90 seconds, or until golden and slightly wilted.

Remove from grill or broiler and arrange lettuces face-up on 8 plates. Place more dressing in center of plate, followed by dollops of Pico de Gallo. Sprinkle with Pumpkin Seeds.

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Grilled Hearts of Romaine

Preheat grill to medium-high heat. Remove loose outer leaves from each head of lettuce. Cut each lettuce head in half lengthwise. Brush cut sides with olive oil and season with salt and pepper.

In a small bowl, combine onions and vinegar and set aside. Grill lettuce cut side down, for about a minute or until just charred. Turn lettuce and grill one more minute (watch lettuce carefully as it may char quickly, depending upon temperature of grill).

Arrange lettuce on plates. Drizzle with Marzetti® Royal Caesar Dressing and top with onions, Parmesan cheese and toasted New York Bakery® French Bread crushed into small croutons. Serve with additional slices of toasted bread.

Grilled Hearts of Romaine

I’ve seen so many recipes for grilled romaine, but I’ve never tried it. Not myself or tasted someone else’s. Well, now I have! It’s so fast and so easy, you could make it on a week night!!

Here’s How to Grill it up:

Start with the freshest hearts of romaine you can find. Lettuce starts to turn bitter as it ages and adding the heat from the grill intensifies that bitterness. This head was not as fresh as it should be, but it tasted great.

Now that you’ve found that beautiful heart, heat the grill on high for about 10 minutes. Reduce to medium low.

Cut the head in half length wise. Lightly drizzle on some olive oil and a pinch of salt and pepper.

Lay on the grill, cut side down, for about 2 to 3 minutes. It doesn’t take long! You want the grilled side to be very lightly charred but the rest of it to be cool and firm.

Remove from the heat and put on a serving platter, cut side up.

Drizzle with Caesar salad dressing and top with parmesan cheese shavings and pinenuts.

Cut each half into half again and serve.

You can make it pretty by garnishing with edible flowers, like the chive flowers I used! Nasturtiums, violets and rose petals make a beautiful and delicious garnish as well!

NOTE: to toast pinenuts, heat a cast iron skillet dry. Toss in the nuts and shake, maintaining heat until they are lightly brown and fragrant. Place them in a small bowl to cool.

Skillet Grilled Romaine Hearts with Homemade Caesar Dressing

Grilled romaine hearts take on a smokey flavor and are delicious with a drizzle of my homemade Caesar dressing. Grilled outdoors or inside using a skillet grill, you can enjoy this summer classic all year round.

I’m a big fan of the Caesar salad.

The tangy homemade dressing, the crunchy croutons, the salty flavor of Parmesan cheese.

So how is my recipe different from all the others?

Romaine lettuces are drizzled with olive oil, then seasoned with fresh cracked pepper and grilled until warm and slightly charred.

Then the lettuces are topped with grilled chicken and served with a robust homemade Caesar dressing.

This classic salad will become a family favorite in no time.

This is a great recipe for warmer temperatures during grilling season because the lettuces go directly on the grill.

But this recipe can also be made indoors using a skillet grill or Panini pan in the winter months.

Lettuces may seem like the last vegetable you would try to cook on the grill but it really imparts a delicious smoky flavor and tastes wonderful.

So why not try it indoors!

Using a skillet grill pan gives the lettuces those grill marks you’re looking for.

Whip up my fresh Caesar dressing to go along with the salad.

If you’re squeamish about raw eggs, luckily there are none in my dressing recipe. And while you may be adverse to anchovies, mincing and mashing them into a paste before adding them to the dressing changes the flavor from fishy to fantastic.

Even my husband had no idea there were anchovies in the dressing. Had he known ahead of time he probably would’ve chosen a different dressing from the refrigerator.