Grilled Romaine Caesar Salad (recipe and video)

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A simple and delicious Grilled Romaine Caesar Salad elevated with some smoky crispy pancetta (or bacon), grilled lemon, and grilled baguette slices to sub for croutons. This grilled Caesar salad is the perfect side dish for your grilled meats or backyard BBQ and you’re gonna love it!

Grilled Romaine Caesar salad on a serving dish with some grilled lemon and toasted bread
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I’m a huge fan of grilled salads. It’s one of the rare ways I can get that hubby of mine to indulge in salad. Otherwise he acts like I’m punishing him by serving him greens. But not with this one!

Grilled Romaine Caesar Salad Highlights

  • The lettuce will grill in minutes and can be served hot or cold
  • An easy way to make the dressing is in a food processor
  • Add protein like grilled chicken or grilled salmon to make a full meal

Video

Ingredients for Grilled Romaine Caesar salad

Fresh romaine is key for this grilled Caesar salad. Fresh hearts of romaine or the fresh bunch of romaine both work really well.

For the croutons go with a baguette or French bread. The goal is to grill it as a crouton.

For the Caesar Dressing the real flavor goal is to use anchovies or anchovy paste. If using fresh anchovies, use two. If using anchovy paste – start with 1 teaspoon. If you don’t like either, you can also substitute Worcestershire Sauce. The rest of the dressing is the classic ingredients including egg yolk, lots of freshly grated Parmesan Cheese, grilled lemon juice, salt, and good olive oil. The full list of ingredients is in the recipe card.

Preparation

The whole thing comes together easily. It starts with making the Caesar Dressing, then grilling the romaine and ending with building the salad. Get the grill ready using a two-zone grilling set up and targeting 400 degrees F in the cooking chamber.

To start you want to make grilled lemons. The grilled lemon juice is going into your Caesar dressing, so it’s best to do that first. I like to do the lemons and bread (for your “croutons”) together, since the bread won’t be served hot (though you can if you want to).

  1. Cut the lemons in half and slice your baguette and coat the baguette lightly with olive oil.
  2. Place those on the grill for a couple minutes per side. Stay close, these grill fast.
Grilling Lemons and Bread on the grill

When they’re done you can toss the romaine on.

How to Grill Romaine Lettuce

  1. Start by rinsing and drying your romaine lettuce (if you didn’t buy them pre-rinsed). Trim the stems then slice down the middle, lengthwise.
  2. Place directly on the hot grill. No need to add oil, otherwise this could cause flare ups in your grill. Grill on direct heat only a couple minutes per side. That’s all.
Romaine Lettuce cooking on the grill

Next prep your creamy dressing (super simple, see below), then drizzle over those gorgeous grilled romaine hearts.

Caesar Dressing

Place the anchovies, garlic, salt, pepper, and parmesan cheese in the food processor and grind until they turn into a paste. Then add the wet ingredients (the grilled lemon juice, egg yolks, Dijon mustard, and olive oil). Blend on low until it emulsifies. This will take at least a minute, on low.

The texture should be thick. If it’s too thin add more cheese. If you taste too much oil, add cheese and Dijon.

Modifications to Grilled Romaine Caesar Salad

  • Well for starters, crispy bacon or pancetta is a no brainer! So good.
  • You’ve gotta sprinkle on some shaved or grated Parmesan of course.
  • Grilled chicken is a fantastic protein.
  • Grilled salmon works wonders too.
  • You can also use tomatoes & basil, like our Grilled Romaine Lettuce with Tomatoes & Basil.
  • The options are endless.

We love this as a side dish or starter, or as a full meal if you add one of those recommended proteins.

Frequently Asked Questions

How do you make a Caesar Salad on the grill?

Using dry romaine lettuce and high heat, grill the lettuce direct for a good char and then add your favorite Caesar salad dressing. Be sure the lettuce is dry so it doesn’t wilt.

How do you wash romaine before grilling?

Using the two halves of the romaine hears, rinse under cold water and pat dry. If you have a salad spinner, add two hearts at a time and then spin until dry.

What’s a good substitute for anchovies in Caesar dressing?

If you can’t find or don’t want anchovies, use anchovy paste. If you don’t want anchovy paste you can use Worcestershire sauce.

Wine Pairing for Caesar Salad

The key characteristics in the dish are the lightly charred notes on the romaine, as well as the bright acidity in the dressing balanced with the creamy texture. Don’t get all freaked out about the anchovies, as there are only 2 in this dressing, and they provide more of a mildly salty and savory note rather than anything fishy. Believe me!

Grilled Caesar salad on a platter with a bottle of wine

For this particular meal we paired this dish with a very unlikely candidate. A Riesling. Ideally a dry riesling is best to match the acidity and char from the dressing and grill flavor.

Other options include:

  • For the Chardonnay lover: look for a lightly oaked chardonnay or one in stainless steel. Chablis would be deeeelicious. Just don’t go for something too heavily oaked.
  • For branching out: Gavi, or other northern Italian white would work too. They tend to have bright acidity and lemon notes that would be a great match. You can also sneak in some Prosecco Superiore as well.

*This recipe was first published in August of 2018 and updated in June of 2022 with recipe steps, FAQ, and alternatives to ingredients.

If you like this recipe we’d truly appreciate it if you would give this recipe a star review! And if you share any of your pics on Instagram use the hashtag #vindulge. We LOVE to see it when you cook our recipes. 

Grilled Caesar Salad with Crispy Bacon
4.52 from 25 votes

Grilled Romaine Caesar Salad Recipe

A simple and delicious grilled romaine Caesar salad elevated with some smoky crispy pancetta (or bacon), grilled lemon, and grilled baguette slices to sub for croutons, and instructions on how to grill romaine lettuce.
Prep: 10 minutes
Cook: 10 minutes
Total: 20 minutes
Servings: 4 servings
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Ingredients 

  • 2 hearts of romaine,, sliced in half lengthwise
  • 2 lemons,, cut in half
  • ½ baguette,, (we use gluten free) sliced on a bias in ¼ inch slices
  • extra virgin olive oil

For the Grilled Lemon Caesar Dressing:

  • 2 anchovies
  • 2 garlic cloves
  • ½ teaspoon kosher salt
  • ½ teaspoon coarse black pepper
  • 3 tablespoons grated parmesan cheese
  • ¼ cup grilled lemon juice, (approx 1 large lemon)
  • 2 egg yolks
  • ½ teaspoon Dijon mustard
  • ½ cup extra virgin olive oil

Optional toppings:

  • Parmesan Cheese
  • Crispy pancetta or bacon
  • Grilled Chicken
  • Grilled Salmon

Instructions 

  • Preheat grill for indirect cooking using two-zone grilling method. Target 400 degrees F in the cooking chamber.
  • Drizzle bread with olive oil (a light coating).
  • Place the romaine hearts, lemons, and baguette slices on the grill on direct heat and cook approximately 2 minutes per side, flipping often. Stay close, these will all cook at slightly different times. Remove when the bread has a nice toast, the lemons have darkened and have a nice char (see pictures), and the romaine has a nice char (but not burnt).
  • Remove from grill. Serve with the Grilled Lemon Caesar Dressing, parmesan cheese, and optional proteins (we vote for crispy bacon or grilled chicken).

To make the Dressing:

  • Place the anchovies, garlic, salt, pepper, and parmesan cheese in the food processor and grind until they turn into a paste. Then add the wet ingredients (the grilled lemon juice, egg yolks, Dijon mustard, and olive oil). Blend on low until it emulsifies. This will take at least a minute, on low.

Video

Notes

  • Serving size: serve a half of a romaine wedge per person. 
  • The dressing yields 1 cup. 
Chef’s Tip: Be sure the romaine is DRY before grilling. If wet or if oiled it will wilt because it takes longer to cook. You want it dry so it simply chars.
Alternatives to anchovies: If you don’t like anchovies, use anchovy paste (1 teaspoon), or Worcestershire (1 teaspoon) sauce.

Nutrition

Calories: 399kcal | Carbohydrates: 25g | Protein: 7g | Fat: 32g | Saturated Fat: 5g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 4g | Monounsaturated Fat: 21g | Cholesterol: 102mg | Sodium: 569mg | Potassium: 306mg | Fiber: 4g | Sugar: 4g | Vitamin A: 5101IU | Vitamin C: 38mg | Calcium: 121mg | Iron: 3mg

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

Additional Info

Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 10 minutes
Total Time: 20 minutes
Course: Appetizer, Salad
Cuisine: American
Servings: 4 servings
Calories: 399
Keyword: caesar salad on the grill, caeser salad grilled, grilled caesar salad, grilled romaine caeser salad, grilled romaine lettuce, grilled salad
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Vindulge

About Mary


I'm Mary, a wine/food/travel writer, Certified Sommelier, mom of twins, former vegetarian turned BBQ fanatic, runner, founder of Vindulge, and author of Fire + Wine cookbook. Thanks for stopping by!

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16 Comments

    1. Great question – it’s Best to serve warm for the flavor and texture. As the lettuce cools, it will wilt slightly versus the still crispy texture you would still get over a hot fire.

    1. We recommend that you make it. It is easy, take a lemon, cut in half, and then you can put over direct heat on a grill for 6 – 8 minutes. Then you use that juice for anything needing lemon.

  1. I love Caesar salads to begin with, but when it’s grilled, it takes it to a new level. Looks so tasty! And you’re right that it’s a great way to impress dinner guests.

  2. 5 stars
    This looks absolutely delicious and that Troon Riesling sounds so unique! Definitely going to have to seek out a bottle!

  3. 5 stars
    It wasn’t until just recently that I started grilling romaine, and I love what it does for a salad. This looks delicious, Mary!

  4. 5 stars
    I am not a big fan of caesar salads but for some reason I really love it when it’s GRILLED like this! Topped with crispy pancetta or bacon, too? Yes, please! This looks so tasty!