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October 26, 2023

Grilled Romaine Caesar

One of the best and most unique things your grill will see all season? Romaine lettuce! It’s shockingly delicious after a quick stint on the grill, and even better once it gets the Caesar treatment.

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    grilled romaine caesar salad with homemade dressing and topped with pickled onions and homemade breadcrumbs
    Photography by Gayle McLeod

    Hail, Grilled Caesar Salad!

    Our grilled romaine salad is everything you love about a classic Caesar salad (Crisp Croutons, lemony zip, a piling of parmesan, and yes, the grilled romaine maintains its crunch!), but with a subtly smoky, lightly charred, slightly spicy twist. We make this with Chimichurri Steak and Peach Cobbler for dessert.

    Romaine, 2 slices rye bread, red onion, spices, vinegar, Worcestershire and egg yolks in prep bowls

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    Ingredients You’ll Need

    • Pickled onionsHomemade Pickled Onions add a flash of color and acid to the dish. You won’t regret the effort it takes to quick pickle a red onion.

    • Bread crumbs – The texture these homemade bread crumbs add to the salad will blow your mind. No chasing too-hard croutons around the plate with your fork.

    • Caesar dressing – We’re positive that homemade is best here, but a store-bought dressing will work.

    • Romaine hearts – This is a sturdy lettuce that can withstand the heat of the grill. It’s also the classic Caesar leaf.

    • Parmesan cheese – THE king of cheese, and the only cheese acceptable in a Caesar. We don’t like to be inflexible, especially when it comes to recipes, but this is undebatable.

    2 slices rye bread on a baking sheet being brushed with olive oil
    2 slices toasted rye bread pulsed in a food processor
    rye breadcrumbs on a baking that have been broiled until crispy
    homemade Caesar dressing in a jar with a spoon

    How to Make Caesar Dressing

    This homemade Caesar dressing is quick, easy and so delicious—here’s how it’s done:

    • Gather your Caesar dressing ingredients: light olive oil, one egg yolk, anchovy paste, Dijon mustard, Worcestershire sauce, fresh lemon juice, and cayenne!

    • Blend with a whisk or immersion blender or food processor—until the dressing is totally emulsified–mixing the oil and egg yolk until smooth and incorporated. The egg yolk helps add body to the dressing, so it can grab onto the lettuce even better.

    • Drizzle on all the things including romaine lettuce hot off the grill.

    onion, vinegar, sugar, red pepper flakes, allspice, bay leaf, and cloves in a small saucepan
    boiled onion, vinegar, sugar, pepper flakes, allspice, bay leaf, and cloves in a small saucepan
    Romaine lettuce heads brushed with olive oil on a baking sheet
    romaine letruce brushed with olive oil being grilled

    How to Grill Romaine Lettuce

    Grilled lettuce? Oh yeah! If you haven’t tried it, our grilled romaine salad recipe will be the one that convinces you. Here’s how to grill lettuce:

    • Choose the right lettuce. Garden-grown romaine totally works here, but we like the pre-washed, prepackaged stuff with the outer leaves already removed for our grilled romaine lettuce recipe. The packaged heads of romaine tend to be tighter, which works in your favor when it comes to grilling romaine.

    • Cut in half lengthwise, keeping the stem intact for ease and to help the head of romaine hold together on the grill.

    • Grill over medium-low heat, and whatever you do, resist the urge to move them! We want your grilled romaine caesar to show off those pretty dark grill marks.

    • Dress generously with Caesar salad dressing, crisp croutons, and fresh parmesan shavings. This is no time to skimp on the toppings.

    grilled Romaine Caesar salad with homemade dressing and topped with pickled onions and homemade breadcrumbs

    How to Store + Tips

    • This is best consumed the day you make it, as close to the time you pull the last romaine half from the grill. However, if you do have leftovers, they’re best eaten the next day.

    • We don’t recommend freezing raw or grilled romaine. But breadcrumbs can be stored in the freezer, and pickled onions last a long time in the fridge.

    • You’re going to need a grill. Gas or charcoal both work great.

    • Your trusty food processor will come in handy to help the olive oil fully emulsify with the rest of the Caesar dressing ingredients.

    • This salad is p-r-e-t-t-y. Show it off on your favorite serving platter.

    grilled romaine caesar salad with homemade dressing and topped with pickled onions and homemade breadcrumbs

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    Grilled Romaine Caesar

    • Serves: 4
    • Prep Time:  1 hr 20 min
    • Cook Time:  6 min
    • Calories: 609

    Ingredients

    • 2 romaine hearts, halved lengthwise
    • 2 ounces Parmesan cheese, shaved

    Pickled Onions

    • 1 small red onion, thinly sliced
    • ¾ cup distilled white vinegar
    • 3 tablespoons granulated sugar
    • 1 teaspoon red pepper flakes
    • 5 whole allspice berries
    • 1 bay leaf
    • 3 whole cloves

    Bread Crumbs

    • 2 slices dark bread, such as rye or pumpernickel
    • 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil, plus more for brushing

    Caesar Dressing

    Method

    1. Make the pickled onions. Add the onion, vinegar, sugar, pepper flakes, allspice, bay leaf, and cloves to a small saucepan. Bring to a boil over medium-heat, stirring until the sugar dissolves, about 1 minute. Turn off the heat and let the onion cool in the saucepan, about 60 minutes. Store in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 2 weeks.

    2. Make the bread crumbs. Turn the oven to broil with a rack in the top position. Brush both sides of the bread with the olive oil. Place the bread on a baking sheet and broil until toasted about 1 minute per side. Tear the bread into large pieces and transfer to the base of a food processor. Pulse until large crumbs form, about 10 times. Return the bread crumbs to the baking sheet and broil until dry and toasted, 1-2 minutes longer.

    3. Make the caesar dressing. To a narrow jar, add the egg yolk, anchovy, garlic, 1 tablespoon of the lemon juice, and salt. Use an immersion blender to blend the dressing directly in the jar, about 30 seconds. Slowly pour in the oil and continue blending until combined. Add the remaining lemon juice, Worcestershire sauce, and pepper and blend until emulsified.

    4. Preheat the grill on medium-low. Brush the cut sides of romaine hearts with olive oil and place them face down on the hot grill. Cook without disturbing until grill marks appear, 2-4 minutes. Using tongs, flip the romaine and cook until grill marks appear, 2 minutes more.

    5. Transfer the grilled romaine to a serving platter. Top with ½ cup pickled onions, dressing, and breadcrumbs. Sprinkle with Parmesan.

    Nutrition Info

    • Per Serving
    • Amount
    • Calories609
    • Protein8 g
    • Carbohydrates27 g
    • Total Fat54 g
    • Dietary Fiber4 g
    • Cholesterol59 mg
    • sodium659 mg
    • Total Sugars13 g

    Grilled Romaine Caesar

    Questions & Reviews

    Join the discussion below.

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    • colleen richmond

      I am making this for dinner tonite and am confused how you have a white creamy dressing pictured for this when there is nothing in the recipe that would even give it that color. A true Caesar dressing is not milky white in color anyway? Please tell me if I am missing something?

      Hi! So the emulsion of the olive oil and lemon juice and Dijon mustard does yield a lightly colored, creamy dressing, and classic Caesar dressing (with egg yolk) is likewise usually pretty creamy. If it's looking super white on your computer screen or phone, it may be a weird screen thing? It is very light in color, though! Hope you enjoyed the recipe!

    • Jenn

      This was so delicious I've seen grilled salads and was skeptical but I have been convinced!!

      So glad you tried something new and loved it, thanks Jenn!