Grilled Romaine

Grilled Romaine with olive oil, balsamic vinegar, herbs, and Parmesan cheese will make you want to always grill your lettuce.

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Grilling lettuce may not be something you think to fo but trust me, grilling romaine lettuce is a game changer. The smoky edges and crispy lettuce is something you will crave with burgers,  salads, tacos, and more.

There’s nothing worse in life than a piece of limp lettuce – you know, that warm, green flop you get on burgers?

That’s not nice to eat – nobody wants that.

Thankfully, this recipe isn’t anything like that at all – it’s crisp, charred, and a vehicle for oh so many tasty treats!

While you may not have thought of grilling lettuce before, we’re going to talk about how, why, and just how delicious grilled romaine lettuce is – after all, who doesn’t love that grilled taste and that crisp bite that only comes from grilling food?

Once you’ve tried grilled lettuce you may find it difficult to have lettuce in any other way.

Grilled lettuce on a wire rack with grill marks, olive oil, salt,  and pepper.

Why Grill Lettuce?

Grilled lettuce is one of those things that might give you pause as you consider it – and you wouldn't be alone; after all, it certainly did for me!

I had never even considered grilling lettuce until I tried it and now I’m wondering how I never thought of it before – but it does raise the question of why grill lettuce at all? Well, you might actually remember an episode of Kitchen Nightmares in which Chef Gordon Ramsey was served a grilled romaine that turned out to be just awful, which has lead to a lot of confusion about grilled lettuce online.

Is it good?

Is it bad?

However, the most important thing to remember is that Kitchen Nightmares is a show about restaurants who are doing things badly, including badly cooking their grilled romaine – additionally, remember that Gordon Ramsey has very rigid ideas about food, ones that not everyone agrees with.

...though I’ll stay out of the pineapple on pizza debate this time.

Back to grilling lettuce…

When you grill lettuce, the flavor of the lettuce completely changes and takes on a wonderfully caramelized, smoky flavor – a fantastic plus for anyone who hates lettuce or just thinks of it dismissively as rabbit food. Grilling the lettuce also slightly changes the texture as you get a mix of cool inside with warmer, crispier grilled areas.

How to Grill Romaine Lettuce

Before your lettuce is ready to be grilled a little bit of prep work is necessary – first, it’s a good idea to rinse off your lettuce to make sure all the dirt has been removed; the best way to do this is to fill a large bowl with room temperature water deep enough to cover most of the lettuce, then gently swish the lettuce around in the bowl, so the water can get into all the little nooks and crannies.

If your bowl isn't deep enough to cover the entire lettuce you will need to turn it and repeat the process!

Once the lettuce is clean, you will want to cut the leafy green parts away; this particular recipe works best with just the heart of the lettuce – however, if you want some ideas for other ways to use the recipe there are some links down below that will hopefully inspire you.

Now that your lettuce heart is trimmed, cut it straight down the stem into halves, then combine balsamic vinegar and Italian seasoning before brushing it on the cut side of the lettuce. Set it on the grill cut side down and leave it there to your desired grilling mark level – usually three or four minutes should be enough! Once the time is up flip them over and grill for another 2 to 3 minutes so the smoky grilled flavor penetrates both sides of your romaine.

After that the lettuce is ready to serve!

Squeeze some lemon on top and sprinkle with parmesan cheese.

Seasoning Grilled Romaine

While my recipe calls for seasoning your lettuce balsamic vinegar and Italian seasoning there are actually a lot of different ways you can season your romaine lettuce to get a different flavor.

Serving Ideas

While grilled romaine is delicious as is, there’s also a whole lot more you can do with it – here are just a few ideas to get you started:

  • A Ceaser Salad: After the lettuce has been grilled cut it up into thin strips to make as the base of a sumptuous Caesar salad.
  • Tahini Topped Salad: Corn, tomatoes, peppers and tahini mixed into some sliced up grilled romaine make a quick, healthy lunch you are sure to devour.
  • Taco Addition: Sliced up grilled romaine gives tacos a fantastic smoky flavor, and a wonderful solid crunch, you didn’t know you were missing in a taco.
  • Burgers: Grilled lettuce is a great addition to a homemade cheeseburger and it takes the entire dish to another level.
  • Fish Bed: Grilled romaine makes a fantastic bed for grilled fish to sit atop.
Romaine lettuce on the grill with Parmesan, lemon juice, olive oil, salt, and pepper on a plate.

Other Grilled Vegetable Recipes

The Recipe
Grilled romaine lettuce on a plate with lemon, Parmesan, olive oil, and vinegar.

Grilled Romaine

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  • 2 Romaine lettuce hearts (for whole heads, just remove the outer leaves)
  • 1.5 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 tbsp balsamic vinegar
  • 1 tsp Italian seasoning (or other dried herbs)
  • Salt and pepper
  • 1 lemon
  • 1/4 cup Parmesan cheese

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Cut the romaine hearts in half through the stem. Then prep the romaine by removing any brown or limp leaves on the edges.


Mix together the olive oil, balsamic vinegar, and Italian seasoning. Brush this on the cut side of the lettuce. Season with salt and pepper and add any other seasoning you may like.


Place the cut side of the lettuce down on the grill. Cook for 3-4 minutes. Flip and grill for 2-3 minutes more until just charred with some grill marks.


Squeeze lemon juice over top and sprinkle with Parmesan cheese. Season as needed.

Nutritional Facts
Serving Size: 1/2 head Romaine
Amount Per Serving
Calories 112
Calories from Fat 63
% Daily Value *
Total Fat 7g
Saturated Fat 2g
Monounsaturated Fat 0g
Polyunsaturated Fat 0g
Cholesterol 5mg
Sodium 115mg
Total Carbohydrate 6g
Dietary Fiber 1g
Sugars 1g
Protein 6g

* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2,000 calorie diet. Your daily values may be higher or lower depending on your calorie needs.

The Nutritional Values provided are estimates only and may vary based on the preparation method.

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About the author Meet Kristen McCaffrey
Hi, I’m the cookbook author, recipe developer, and food enthusiast behind Slender Kitchen. I am obsessed with making healthy food that is easy to prepare and absolutely delicious. Meal planning is my secret weapon and I hope I can make meal time easier for you with our tried and tested recipes and foolproof meal plans. Learn More
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