Call me picky but I just don’t like romaine lettuce. Something about its crunchiness (I like iceberg even less) and bitter taste just turns me off. I’ll use it in a salad if I can hide it among a lot of loose salad greens and spinach, but I just can’t eat it on its own. Or at least I couldn’t, until I tried it cooked.
Yes, cooked. Grilled, to be specific.
I got this great idea from Ellie Krieger’s The Food You Crave; in her recipe, the romaine is cooked on the barbecue grill, but since it’s January and I didn’t want to wait until summer to give it a try, I decided to see how it would taste grilled on a George Foreman grill. Truth be told, I don’t use my new removable plate grill as often as I should, so I’ve been looking for things to cook on it.
As it turns out, it worked perfectly. Two halves of a romaine heart (the inside core of the head, often sold in packs of three) fit easily into the grill, bases placed at opposite ends. After just a few minutes of grilling, the romaine began to wilt and brown slightly and was done.
I dressed each head simply with white balsamic vinegar and pepper, and added a sprinkling of sunflower seeds to accentuate the nuttiness that grilling brings out. It’s a simple preparation that’s made a romaine believer out of me. Plus, it’s a great way to enjoy a green salad on a cold day when the thought of iceberg just makes you go, “Brrrrr.”
Ridiculously Easy Grilled Romaine Salad
- 1 heart of romaine lettuce (about 170 grams)
- 1 teaspoon white balsamic vinegar
- 1 teaspoon sunflower seeds
- freshly ground black pepper
- Cut the romaine heart in half lengthwise. Trim the stem end a little, if you wish, but be sure not to cut too much–all the leaves need to stay attached.
- Heat your George Foreman grill or a stove-top grill pan. Spray it lightly with olive oil, if necessary. (You know your grill–if you think it might stick, give it a quick spray.) Once it’s hot, put one romaine half on it, two if they will fit. Close the top of the Foreman grill or press the lettuce down lightly with a spatula if you are using a grill pan. Cook for about 2 or 3 minutes, until lettuce has begun to wilt and grill marks to appear; then, if you’re using a grill pan, turn over and grill for another 2 minutes.
- Place on two plates, cut side up, and sprinkle each with 1/2 teaspoon vinegar, 1/2 teaspoon sunflower seeds, and freshly ground black pepper to taste. Serve while still warm.
Nutritional info is approximate.
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HannaOctober 22, 2009 at 3:37 pm
Amazing and innovative find! Also great with some hot and sweet mustard, salt and pepper on top!
AnonymousMarch 10, 2010 at 3:51 pm
Thank you! I misplaced my olive oil somewhere, so I made this with sesame oil and put rice vinegar and soy sauce on top – yum!!
ddgattinaJune 20, 2010 at 11:42 pm
The Foreman grill is a great idea, as is splitting the romaine. I’ve been playing with trying this in my (gas) broiler, and it is delicious, but the interior leaves are still quite crisp. Nice, but I love that warmed/ seared flavor on the outside. Splitting the heads (unless they are really small) would help. Sunflower seeds are a perfect accent too. Thanks!
NormaJuly 1, 2010 at 2:45 pm
I loved this idea. So waited about 15 minutes, then went out and grilled some romaine. I didn’t have the ingredients on your list, so here’s my variation. I experimented on my friends, and they wanted more after they cleaned their plates. This recipe is made as: low fat, low calorie, low sodium and no sugar for my diabetic and weight control tasters: Recipe is for 4)
Spray Romaine, Nectarine, Peach and Tomato w/no fat non stick spray as well as a little drizzled olive oil and sea salt (I used substitute salt)
Grilled Romaine (2 heads split in half)
1 Large Grilled Nectarine (Sliced in Large pcs, so won’t stick to grill)
1 Large Grilled Peach (Sliced in Large pcs, so won’t stick to grill)
1 not to ripe Grilled Tomato (Sliced in Large pcs, so won’t stick to grill)
Cut Fruit in chunks and spread evenly on the four halves of Romaine.
Reduced balsamic (made with balsamic vinegar and substitute sugar)
Sliced strawberries as garnish
IrinaSeptember 19, 2010 at 12:25 pm
Hi! I was looking all over for the perfect vegetable side dish to a romantic birthday dinner- and THIS IS GOING TO BE IT! It’s so easy, I can focus on the other components, this looks delicious, and more special than a regular tossed salad! I am so pleased to have found this! Thank you!!
DannyOctober 25, 2010 at 12:29 pm
I’m lazy and therefor need thing to be “ridiculously easy” to prepare. Will give this recipe a shot for sure!
Phyllis GambillJanuary 1, 2011 at 9:14 pm
Thanks for this recipe. Just what I was looking for. Love salads but hard to eat when it is so cold outside. I use my GF and plan to try this tomorrow for lunch. I thougnt I would drizze a little EVOO and lemon juice and serve avocado on the side. Glad I found your website: will add to my favorites. Thanks, Phyllis
SuziMay 17, 2011 at 5:17 pm
I do a monthly newsletter for our company and I wanted to get your permission to use the grilled romaine photo for the May newsletter. Wuuld that be ok? I am spotlighting salads and grilling for MAy 2011. Thanks. Suzi
ElsieAugust 12, 2011 at 12:24 am
What a great idea! I have some romaine in the fridge, and I had no idea what to do with it – until now!! Thanks for sharing!!
kim h.January 13, 2012 at 4:52 pm
We just got a Cuisinart Griddler for Christmas…can’t wait to try this!
PamJuly 3, 2013 at 2:34 pm
Thanks for this – had it for lunch, it was great! I got a big George Forman grill recently and love finding new recipes for it. I didn’t use the sunflower seeds and threw some mushrooms on the grill with the lettuce and added golden potatoes to the mushrooms for a side dish. Lovely lunch, thanks again!
CyndiJuly 4, 2013 at 9:30 am
After dipping my toes in for quite awhile I just committed to a vegan way of eating. I think your website is going to be one of my new favorites. I did not want to trade in a meat based, high fat, high cholesterol diet for a fat filled vegan one. Looking forward to trying your wonderful sounding recipes.
Marilyn DubordJanuary 12, 2015 at 3:24 pm
Would broiling work too ? I don’t have a grill for inside or out…. I hate salads
so this might be one way to eat the Romaine !
Susan VoisinJanuary 12, 2015 at 4:34 pm
I haven’t tried it broiled, but I suppose it would work. You could also try cooking it cut-side down in a hot skillet on the stove.
JillFebruary 28, 2017 at 3:27 pm
I made this last night and served it with the White Bean & Garlic Soup. Great combo for a cold night! My guest had never eaten grilled romaine before; he loved it. I gave him soup to take to work this morning. ;P
Lotte LeeJune 26, 2017 at 5:56 am
I found out about this recipe from friends. It’s SO simple and tastes amazing! I love it so much that I wanted to share it with my readers at lottelee.com. Thanks for a great recipe to use on the grill this summer!
Jill in SFMarch 17, 2019 at 6:45 pm
Made this today and served it with chipotle bean burgers and corn, red pear, and black bean salad. No sunflower seeds so sprinkled toasted chopped pecans on the romaine. Big hit!
KarenDecember 19, 2019 at 8:45 pm
I just had this for dinner tonight and it was awesome! I ate an entire three pack of romaine hearts! Thank you for sharing this!