5 Minute Grilled Romaine Lettuce

5 from 5 votes
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If you’ve never had a grilled salad before, now’s the time to try. This delicious grilled romaine lettuce is packed full of flavor and is a great base for a summer salad.

Grilled lettuce topped with grated parmesan cheese

If grilling romaine lettuce wasn’t your first thought of how to cook this familiar salad vegetable, you’re not alone! In fact, this grilled romaine recipe is a bit of a hidden gem. Grilled lettuce transforms a common salad green into a side dish that’s smoky and complex in flavor. I actually find it’s closer to cooked spinach in taste than to traditional lettuce.

For this recipe, I’ve used just a handful of ingredients to enhance the flavor of the grilled romaine lettuce. As it’s a great carrier for other flavors, you also can incorporate fresh herbs and spices or use the grilled romaine hearts in other recipes.

Grilled lettuce in a grill pan

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Ingredients in Grilled Romaine Lettuce

  • Romaine Lettuce: These are taller than baby gem lettuces, with vibrant green leaves. I recommend getting heads of romaine lettuce fresh and preferably organic.
  • Olive Oil: I use extra-virgin olive oil, but you can use any you have to hand, including flavored (try one flavored with garlic for an extra taste boost).
  • Salt and Pepper: Sea or kosher salt works best along with freshly cracked pepper.
  • Lemon Juice: Use fresh lemon juice to brighten up this recipe.
  • Parmesan Cheese: You could swap this out for blue cheese if you want a stronger flavor to a grilled romaine salad, but parmesan works perfectly.
Ingredients for grilled lettuce

How to Make Grilled Romaine Lettuce

There are just a couple of simple steps for how to grill romaine lettuce.

Prep the Lettuce

Preheat your outdoor grill or grill pan to medium-high heat.

Remove any damaged leaves from the lettuce, then slice the head in half (vertically, lengthwise). I then like to wash the lettuce halves in a bowl of water to remove any dirt or sand. Once rinsed well, pat the lettuce dry completely, otherwise your grilled salad leaves won’t char.

Brush the lettuce halves with oil and sprinkle with salt and pepper.

Steps for cleaning and seasoning lettuce

Grill

For best grilling romaine lettuce, brush some oil on the grill pan or grill grates (if using). Grill the lettuce leaves on medium-high heat. Place the cut side down first for about 2-3 minutes, then flip and cook for another 2 minutes.

I find the best way to grill romaine lettuce that looks as good as it tastes is by adding a lid as soon as I put the lettuce on the grill to achieve a good sear and give the grilled romaine lettuce beautiful black char marks. You can also use a spatula or tongs to press down on the leaves to char them.

Steps for grilling Romaine lettuce

Remove the grilled romaine lettuce from the grill and add a touch more salt and pepper to each half, if you want. Drizzle with lemon juice for added brightness.

Lastly, use a grater to generously shave fresh parmesan on each half and enjoy.

Grilled lettuce topped with grated parmesan cheese

What to Serve with Grilled Romaine Lettuce

You can serve grilled romaine lettuce on its own as an appetizer, side dish, or with a dipping sauce. I recommend Caesar dressing, ranch, Dijon mustard, or blue cheese dressing. Or, try serving it these ways:

  • Grilled romaine lettuce works great as the base for any salad recipe. Use this recipe as a substitute for raw romaine in a Caesar salad, Niçoise, taco, tuna, or a Big Mac-style salad. You can also use it as a base for your own salad – grilled romaine works great with blue cheese, tomatoes, red onions, croutons, and bacon, but you can use any ingredients or proteins you like best.
  • You could use the leaves in place of raw lettuce for lettuce wraps, though you might want to let them cool a little before rolling. It’ll add a lot of flavor to this low-carb lunch option.
  • If you want to make full use of your grill, serve grilled romaine lettuce as a side dish alongside grilled portobello mushrooms, onions, broccoli, eggplant, corn on the cob, or zucchini.
  • If you remove the leaves from the romaine heart, you can add them to sandwiches in place of other greens. Try it for a smoky flavor in an egg salad sandwich or a turkey sandwich. Or use it as a green instead of iceberg for taco night.
  • Grilled romaine lettuce can also be served either as leaves or whole alongside a delicious protein for an easy weeknight meal (even better if the protein can be cooked on the grill!). Try it with salmon, chicken cutlets, steak, shrimp, or others.
Freshly grilled lettuce

More Delicious Side Dish Recipes

If you try this recipe, let me know how it goes in the comments below. I’d appreciate a recipe card rating and would love to see your recipe recreations – tag me on Instagram @Alphafoodie!

5 Minute Grilled Romaine Lettuce

5 from 5 votes
By: Samira
If you've never had a grilled salad before, now's the time to try. This delicious grilled romaine lettuce is packed full of flavor and is a great base for a summer salad.
Prep Time: 5 minutes
Cook Time: 5 minutes
Total Time: 10 minutes
Servings: 4

Equipment

Ingredients 
 

  • 2 heads romaine lettuce medium-sized
  • 2 Tbsp olive oil
  • 1/2 tsp sea salt or to taste
  • 1/2 tsp black pepper or to taste
  • lemon juice just a squeeze, if wanted
  • parmesan cheese grated, as much as wanted

Instructions 

Prep the lettuce

  • Preheat your outdoor grill or grill pan to medium-high heat.
  • Remove any damaged leaves from the lettuce, then slice the head in half (vertically, lengthwise). Wash the lettuce halves in a bowl of water to remove any dirt or sand. Once they’re rinsed well, pat the lettuce dry.
  • Brush the lettuce halves with oil and sprinkle with salt and pepper.

Grill

  • Brush some oil on the grill pan or grill grates (if using). Grill the lettuce leaves on medium-high heat. Place the cut side down first for about 2-3 minutes, then flip and cook for another 2 minutes.
  • To get grill marks, add a lid as soon as you put the lettuce on the grill to achieve a good sear and give the grilled romaine lettuce beautiful black char marks. You can also use a spatula or tongs to press down on the leaves to char them.

Serve

  • Remove the grilled romaine lettuce from the grill and add a touch more salt and pepper to each half, if you want. Drizzle with lemon juice for added brightness. Use a grater to generously shave fresh parmesan on each half and enjoy.

Video

Notes

This recipe is best enjoyed on the same day as grilling. If you have any leftovers, you can keep them in the fridge for 1-2 days but keep in mind that the lettuce will soften and lose its grilled flavor.
Check the blog post for serving recommendations!
Course: Appetizer, Side
Cuisine: American
Shelf life: Eat Immediately

Nutrition

Calories: 117kcal, Carbohydrates: 10g, Protein: 4g, Fat: 8g, Saturated Fat: 1g, Polyunsaturated Fat: 1g, Monounsaturated Fat: 5g, Sodium: 320mg, Potassium: 777mg, Fiber: 7g, Sugar: 4g, Vitamin A: 27264IU, Vitamin C: 13mg, Calcium: 105mg, Iron: 3mg

Nutrition information is automatically calculated, so should only be used as an approximation.

5 from 5 votes (5 ratings without comment)

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