Grilled Romaine Lettuce is easy to make and tastes incredible with some fresh tomatoes, basil, and a drizzle of balsamic vinegar. This is a delicious salad or side dish that can be made year-round.
It’s inspired by a fresh tomato bruschettta. For something similar, check out our Grilled Romaine Caesar Salad.
We came up with this recipe years ago visiting some friends in California, while trying to cook on someone else’s grill. We wanted to show our friends some easy ways to cook food on even the simplest of grills.
Setting up a simple kettle grill can be used for even our favorite recipes, like smoked tri-tip. While we were at it, we came up with this great side to pair – this Grilled Romaine Salad with Tomatoes and Basil.
This Grilled Romaine Lettuce Salad is a take on a traditional bruschetta with tomatoes and basil, but this is a more low carb version. Not that we’re switching to low carb around here. Believe me there are plenty of carbs in our lives. Instead, sometimes we just want a fresh salad to accompany our grilled meats.
This Grilled Romaine Salad is the perfect side dish or even makes a great appetizer if you swap the romaine for endive cups.
The topping can be made quickly by tossing together some fresh diced tomatoes, garlic, basil, olive oil, and salt and pepper.
How to Grill Romaine Lettuce
For grilling it’s important to choose a sturdy green like romaine because it can handle the heat without falling apart. Versus, say, butter lettuce.
- Prepare grill for direct cooking (get it nice and hot). Like 500 degrees hot.
- Cut your romaine heart in half lengthwise, then drizzle it with some olive oil, salt and pepper. Be sure if you rinse the greens, they are dry when applying the oil. It helps with making sure the grilled romaine lettuce is crispy versus wilting due to moisture.
- Grill both sides over direct high heat, for just a couple minutes each side.
- While the lettuce is grilling place a couple of lemons (cut in half) also on the grill to heat up. You’ll use these to squeeze over the finished salad.
What to do with Grilled Romaine Lettuce
Remove the lettuce from the grill and top with your tomato mix, and finish with some fresh squeezed grilled lemon and a drizzle of aged balsamic vinegar. This will sub as an impressive topping (or “dressing”) for your salad.
If you’re serving this as a meal then plan on one half romaine heart per person (pictured below left). Or if you’re feeding a crowd and there are other vegetable options then just cut each half into smaller portions and guests can take as much or as little as they’d like (pictured to the right).
That’s it. Seriously. Grilled Romaine is that easy, and incredibly delicious.
More Salad Recipes for the Grill:
- Grilled Romaine Caesar Salad
- Grilled Chicken Salad with Candied Pecans and Balsamic
- Black Bean Salad
- Grilled Buffalo Chicken Salad
- Flank Steak Salad
Grilled Romaine Lettuce with Tomatoes and Basil Recipe
Grilled Romaine Lettuce with Tomatoes and Basil
For the Grilled Romaine:
- 2 romaine hearts, halved lengthwise
- extra virgin olive oil
- salt and pepper, about ½ teaspoon each per half
- 2 lemons, halved
For the topping:
- 2 large beefsteak tomatoes, (Roma tomatoes work well too, but use 4-5 if using Roma, diced)
- 2 cloves garlic, finely diced
- 3 tablespoons basil, sliced thinly
- 1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
- ½ tablespoon aged balsamic
- ¼ teaspoon salt
- A pinch of fresh ground pepper, less than ¼ teaspoon
For the Grilled Romaine:
- Prepare grill for direct heat grilling.
- Rinse and dry the romaine (it is important for the lettuce to be fully dry before you grill otherwise it may steam).
- Brush both sides of romaine with olive oil, and sprinkle with salt and pepper.
- Grill the romaine hearts on each side until lightly browned on both sides (about 2 minutes each side).
- While the romaine is grilling place the lemon halves on the grill about 4 minutes (until you see grill marks).
- Remove from heat, and top with the tomato basil mixture and a squeeze of fresh grilled lemon and a drizzle of aged balsamic.
For the Tomato Basil Salad:
- Place together tomatoes, garlic, basil, olive oil, balsamic, salt and pepper, into a bowl and toss together.
This post was originally published in April, 2017, and updated in May, 2020, with updated details. The original recipe remains the same.
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