Grilled Romaine Lettuce

Grilled romaine lettuce is easy to make and adds a delightfully smoky flavor to any salad. Top simply with Parmesan for a summer appetizer.

Grilled romaine

As flexitarians, you might think we’d use less of a grill in the summer than those with a meat-centric diet. Au contraire – the grill is actually our cooking method of choice in the summer!  Our grill mania was further fueled this past week when we were gifted a beautiful charcoal grill–by a complete stranger! It’s a long story, but suffice it to say, we were touched by his generosity and even more excited to experiment with our new favorite toy. And we thought, why not try out this new grill with some…grilled romaine lettuce?

OK, grilled lettuce might sound a bit strange, right? But Alex and I have been hearing about grilled romaine lettuce quite a bit lately. We started out pretty skeptical. But after trying it, somehow grilling romaine lettuce brings out an unexpectedly beautiful smoky flavor in this leafy green. I’m not quite sure how to describe it, but it is hands down one of the best things I’ve tasted lately. Keep reading for the grilled romaine lettuce recipe.

Grilled romaine

How to make grilled romaine lettuce

The key to getting the perfect grill marks on the romaine is to slice each heart in half and drizzle with a bit of olive oil. Slicing the romaine hearts in half makes it easier to flip them, and prevents them from rolling off the grill. Be sure to season the lettuce with balsamic vinegar, salt, and pepper prior to grilling so that the flavors all meld together during the grilling process. To make grilled romaine, you only need to leave it on the grill for about three minutes on each side (remember, you’re grilling lettuce, not a steak!). You want each side to be slightly charred, but still mostly green.

With a little freshly grated Parmesan, this grilled romaine is the perfect way to start a summer meal al fresco. We served it alongside pasta recently and it was an excellent complement. You could also play up the grilled flavors and mix in some additional grilled veggies. Whatever way you serve this grilled romaine, give it a try and experience the magic of grilled salad!

Grilled romaine

Looking for romaine lettuce recipes? 

Outside of this grilled romaine lettuce recipe, here are a few more romaine lettuce recipes on A Couple Cooks:


Looking for more grilled & side dish recipes?

Here are a few more grilled and healthy side dish recipes to add to your repertoire:

This grilled romaine recipe is…

This grilled romaine lettuce recipe is vegetarian and gluten-free. For vegan, use vegan cheese or try sprinkling with vegan Parmesan.

Grilled romaine

Grilled Romaine Lettuce

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  • Author: a Couple Cooks
  • Prep Time: 5 minutes
  • Cook Time: 6 minutes
  • Total Time: 11 minutes
  • Yield: 4 as an appetizer or side 1x


Grilled romaine lettuce is easy to make and adds a delightfully smoky flavor to any salad. Top simply with Parmesan for a summer appetizer.



  • 2 heads of romaine lettuce (or packaged romaine hearts)
  • Olive oil
  • Balsamic vinegar
  • Kosher salt
  • Fresh ground black pepper
  • Parmesan cheese


  1. Preheat a grill. (If you don’t have a grill, you also can use a stovetop grill pan; in that case, skip this step.)
  2. Wash and dry the romaine. If using romaine heads, remove a few of the outer-most leaves and save for a salad at another time.
  3. Cut each romaine heart in half lengthwise. Drizzle each side liberally with olive oil and balsamic vinegar, and add several pinches kosher salt and fresh ground black pepper.
  4. Place the romaine hearts on the grill, and grill for about 3 minutes on each side, until slightly charred.
  5. Top with grated Parmesan cheese and serve immediately.

  • Category: Salad
  • Method: Grilled
  • Cuisine: American

Keywords: grilled romaine, vegetables, grill, summer, side, vegetarian

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About the Authors

Sonja Overhiser

Cookbook Author and writer

Sonja Overhiser is author of Pretty Simple Cooking, named one of the best healthy cookbooks of 2018. She’s host of the food podcast Small Bites and founder of the food blog A Couple Cooks. Featured from the TODAY Show to Bon Appetit, Sonja seeks to inspire adventurous eating to make the world a better place one bite at a time.

Alex Overhiser

Cookbook Author and photographer

Alex Overhiser is an acclaimed food photographer and author based in Indianapolis. He’s host of the food podcast Small Bites and founder of the recipe website A Couple Cooks. Featured from the TODAY Show to Bon Appetit, Alex is author of Pretty Simple Cooking, named one of the best vegetarian cookbooks by Epicurious.


  • Reply
    June 14, 2011 at 12:49 am

    I immediately had to smile…the same with BBQ situation at my house. 5 of 7 days grilling. heard about grilled lettuce from an austrian cook. i never tried but i should. thanks for sharing.

  • Reply
    Lindsay @ Pinch of Yum
    June 14, 2011 at 9:53 am

    So simple, so delicious! It looks so good (and that’s saying a lot for plain romaine with parmesan)!

  • Reply
    Jennifer @ Raisin Questions
    June 14, 2011 at 11:27 am

    I’ve been hearing about grilled romaine a lot lately, too! Thanks for giving it a try and posting. I guess I’ll have to give it a try as soon as our lettuces really get growing in the garden!

  • Reply
    [email protected]
    June 14, 2011 at 1:45 pm

    It’s amazing how much grilling adds flavor. PS love your new header- very nice! It changed right- or am I imagining it… LOL

    • Reply
      June 14, 2011 at 2:17 pm

      Haha! Thanks! Hopefully we’ll be getting around to giving the whole blog a face lift sometime soon :)

  • Reply
    Erin @ Dinners, Dishes and Desserts
    June 14, 2011 at 2:06 pm

    I love this! Grilled romaine is so tasty, just so much more flavorful!

  • Reply
    June 14, 2011 at 2:19 pm

    Love grilled romaine – we keep the grill open all year long and made our own grilled salad in February. Delish!

  • Reply
    June 14, 2011 at 4:43 pm

    we LOVE grilled romaine! it’s so fun and different.

  • Reply
    June 14, 2011 at 5:31 pm

    We love grilled romaine!! Caesar dressing or blue cheese dressing are my favorite toppings thus far. Now, I’ll try yours :-)

  • Reply
    City Share
    June 16, 2011 at 9:28 am

    we have a portable grill, but nowhere to use it. (One of the downsides to living in NYC.) This is giving me another reason to have grill envy. Looks delicious and the description of smoky flavor really sold me.

  • Reply
    June 19, 2011 at 2:45 pm

    Ive always wanted to try grilled romaine but my BF is a stickler for spinach salads. Maybe I can convince him by telling him this one goes over the grill :D

  • Reply
    June 22, 2011 at 8:22 am

    I’ve been meaning to try grilled romaine for a while. Since it has your approval, I’m sure I’ll like it! Thanks for the reminder :)

  • Reply
    Snippets of Thyme
    June 23, 2011 at 11:46 pm

    That sounds really delicious. I would love to try it!

  • Reply
    May 21, 2012 at 10:13 am

    Boil dark balsamic and a little sugar to make a syrup to drizzle on the plate. Make a vinegrette dressing with EVOO and white balsamic adding a little sugar and bit of orange juice. Pour over grilled lettuce. Shave parmigan cheese or feta on top. Add broken pecans or pine nuts and fresh chopped herbs. There will be no conversation just eating!

  • Reply
    June 4, 2012 at 5:59 pm

    A friend recommended that I try grilling romaine. I googled it and came across your site. OMGoodness. SO good! My new favorite way to eat romaine!

    • Reply
      June 6, 2012 at 10:01 am

      Awesome! We find it amazing how much flavor comes out on the grill. Glad you enjoyed it!

  • Reply
    August 1, 2012 at 7:56 pm

    This was fabulous ! I did add a dash of garlic powder, basil leaves and freshly chopped tomato when I served it! My hesitant hubby loved it! Thanks for sharing!

  • Reply
    July 27, 2018 at 12:55 am

    Hey question…… Has anyone had it next day? I’m wantin to make for my co workers for lunch next day

    • Reply
      July 27, 2018 at 6:00 pm

      It is tasty as leftovers too! It’s best eaten the day of, but the grilled flavor definitely stays if you have a way to reheat it!

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