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Grilled romaine Caesar salad is a quick and delicious twist on the classic Caesar salad. Make this unique salad by searing romaine lettuce in a stovetop skillet or on a grill until it’s slightly charred. Drizzle with an amazing homemade Caesar dressing and top it off with plenty of grated Parmesan cheese. Serve this 15-minute salad as a hearty dinner salad with meat, chicken or other protein.
Do you want to take your everyday romaine salad to the next level? Then you have to try this recipe! Grilling romaine lettuce to make a classic Caesar adds a smoky flavor and a satisfying crunch to this already delicious salad.
Grilled lettuce tastes fantastic. You get the best of both worlds in every bite: The sweet nutty flavor of roasted vegetables, along the with crisp refreshing texture of romaine lettuce.
For a week-night prep, turn this into a simple dinner salad — and you don’t need to fire up an outdoor grill. It’s easy to prepare grilled romaine lettuce on the stovetop using a large skillet (such as cast-iron). Learn how to do it with the help of these step-by-step photos.
About the ingredients
- Romaine lettuce: Romaine hearts are what you need to make this salad, which is what the interior of a head of romaine is called. Romaine lettuce has elongated leaves and long, crisp ribs. It’s the traditional type of lettuce to use in Caesar salads because the leaves hold up perfectly when tossed with heavier, creamy dressings.
- Parmesan cheese: Freshly grated Parmesan is a must in a Caesar! If you want to omit dairy cheese, substitute with nutritional yeast or a vegan grating cheese.
Ingredients in homemade Caesar salad dressing
- Mayonnaise: Use your favorite prepared mayo, or try a homemade aioli to make this dressing over-the-top delish.
- Dijon mustard
- Olive oil
- Anchovy: Authentic Caesar dressings with anchovy have a distinctive savory flavor. I use drained, oil-packed anchovies, which have a mild flavor. If you’re not a fan of anchovies, feel free to leave them out.
- Vinegar: Choose white wine vinegar, rice wine vinegar or apple cider vinegar.
Caesar dressing steps
Grilled romaine, step by step
- Serve the romaine on a platter, one or two halves per person. Set out a knife and fork to to make the salad easy to eat.
- Add in ideas to make a satisfying dinner salad include halved cherry tomatoes, sliced grilled or baked chicken breasts, salmon, shrimp or any cooked protein you enjoy.
- The Caesar dressing is perfect for kale salad and more salad recipes!
Grilled Romaine Lettuce Caesar Salad
Caesar salad dressing
- ¼ cup (60 ml) extra virgin olive oil
- 2 tablespoons (30 ml) white wine vinegar, or apple cider vinegar
- 1 tablespoon (15 g) mayonnaise
- 1 tablespoon (15 g) Dijon mustard
- 1 grated garlic clove
- 2-3 oil-packed anchovies, finely chopped
- 2 teaspoons fresh lemon juice
- ½ teaspoon kosher salt
- ¼ teaspoon cayenne pepper
- ¼ teaspoon freshly ground pepper
- 2 heads romaine lettuce hearts
- Extra virgin olive oil
- Salt and freshly ground black pepper
- ¼ cup grated Parmesan cheese
Mix the Caesar dressing
- Combine all ingredients for the dressing in a bowl. Whisk together until smooth and combined. Alternatively, place the ingredients in a blender or food processor and blend, or place in a lidded jar and shake well. The dressing can be made up to 5 days ahead. Store refrigerated.
Make the salad
- Trim a slim piece off the stem end of each romaine head — be sure to keep the stem intact. Remove any outer leaves that are damaged or discolored.
- Cut each romaine heart in half.
- Drizzle olive oil over the cut sides of the lettuce, or use a pastry brush. Don't be shy about the quantity of oil — it adds flavor, color and helps the lettuce to release from the hot pan. Sprinkle some salt and black pepper over the cut sides.
- Place a large (12-inch) skillet (non-stick or cast iron) over medium-heat heat. When a drop of water sizzles in the pan, add the romaine hearts, cut-side down. Cook until the lettuce is browned and smells pleasantly nutty, 3-5 minutes.
- Using tongs, gently transfer the romaine halves to a serving platter. Drizzle some of the dressing generously over the lettuce and sprinkle with the cheese. Serve the salad with a knife and fork, with the remaining dressing on the side.
Karen’s Notes and Tips
- I use drained, oil-packed anchovies, which have a mild flavor. If you’re not a fan of anchovies, feel free to leave them out.
- The lettuce will sear best if it’s dry. If you do wash the lettuce, make sure it’s completely dry (including in between the leaves).
- The dressing can be made up to 5 days ahead. Store refrigerated.