Grilled Romaine Lettuce

Try grilled romaine! Paint hearts of romaine lettuce with an herb vinaigrette, then quickly grill. Serve whole or chopped up in your next salad.

Grilled romaine salad on a platter with dressing set behind it.
Sally Vargas

One of the great things about being a food blogger is that it compels you to be somewhat adventurous in your food.

If you had told me a few years ago that I would not only be happily eating grilled romaine lettuce but encouraging others to do the same, I would have thought you were nuts.

Why Grill Romaine Lettuce?

Why in the world would anyone want to grill lettuce? Lettuce just isn't part of the grilling food group people! You know, burgers, ribs, beer can chicken.

Grilled lettuce? Why that's just... just pretentious, that's what.

Well the joke's on me, and anyone who loves salad and also loves grilled things but hasn't tried to put them together. Lettuce is a vegetable, or at least we eat it like one. We do grill vegetables. They are good.

It stands to reason that the vegetable we call lettuce, if endowed with enough structure, which romaine has, would also be good grilled. And it is!

That said, as much as I like it, my mom likes it, and my friends like it, you may not. But I do encourage you to try it, especially if you have some romaine hearts around.

A platter of whole romaine in a romaine salad.
Sally Vargas

How to Serve Grilled Romaine

When you're done with the grilling, you can either serve them whole (one romaine heart per person), or slice them crosswise, and toss them in a bowl for a grilled salad.

What is Romaine Lettuce?

Romaine is a variety of long-leafed lettuce that's crispy with a mild flavor. Great for cold salads (it's the sole lettuce in a traditional Caesar Salad), it's sturdy enough to hold up for a brief stint on the grill.

Its exact origins are unknown, but it's believed to come from somewhere in the Mediterranean—perhaps the Greek island of Cos, which could be why the British call it cos lettuce. Western Europe learned of its existence by way of Rome, hence why in the U.S. it's called romaine.

The Best Romaine Lettuce to Buy

This recipe calls for hearts of romaine, so you can buy either packaged hearts or whole heads of romaine. Remove the outer layer of leaves of a whole head and you'll easily find the heart, which is a little lighter in color with leaves somewhat tightly packed together.

When shopping for whole heads, look for heads with vibrant, dark green leaves that have some weight to them—that means they are nicely hydrated and fresh. Avoid heads where the leaves are visibly dry or have started to wilt or turn color. Look for hearts that are a vibrant light green with no dark spots or wilting.

How Long Should the Lettuce Be on the Grill?

Because the temperatures of grills can vary greatly, you'll need to keep an eye on the lettuce to determine when it's done. It should take fewer than 8 minutes. Take the romaine off the grill when all sides are lightly charred.

Serving Tips

Serve grilled romaine right away. You can serve it whole, as is. The herbed vinaigrette will have flavored it nicely.

Or, you can sprinkle the whole hearts with Parmesan cheese. To be a little decadent, drizzle on blue cheese dressing and toss on some bacon crumbles.

You can also chop up the grilled romaine and use it as a base for a salad.

What to Serve With Grilled Romaine Lettuce

From the Editors Of Simply Recipes

Grilled Romaine Lettuce

Prep Time 10 mins
Cook Time 10 mins
Total Time 20 mins
Servings 3 to 4 servings


  • 3 to 4 romaine hearts

  • 3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil

  • 1 tablespoon red wine vinegar (or cider vinegar)

  • 2 teaspoons chopped fresh herbs such as rosemary, thyme, oregano (or 1 teaspoon dried mixed herbs)

  • 1/4 teaspoon kosher salt

  • Pinch freshly ground black pepper


  1. Prep the romaine hearts:

    Pull off any old leaves. Chop off the top 1 or 2 inches of the lettuce head, and shave off the browned part of the root end, leaving the root end intact so that the lettuce head stays together.

    Cutting board with romaine heart with the top and ends sliced.
    Sally Vargas
  2. Prepare your grill:

    Turn your gas grill to high or get your charcoal coal grill very hot.

  3. Prepare the vinaigrette:

    Put the oil, vinegar, herbs, salt and pepper in a small bowl and whisk with a fork to combine. Paint the lettuce hearts all over with the vinaigrette.

    Whisking the dressing to make a grilled romaine salad.
    Sally Vargas
    Brushing dressing on romaine lettuce.
    Sally Vargas
  4. Grill the lettuce:

    Grill the romaine hearts until lightly browned on all sides, turning every minute or two until done.

    Three romaine hearts on the grill to make grilled romaine.
    Sally Vargas
  5. Serve immediately:

    Serve immediately. You can either serve the hearts whole, or chop them and toss them for a salad.

    Three grilled romaine hearts on a platter.
    Sally Vargas
Nutrition Facts (per serving)
130 Calories
11g Fat
8g Carbs
3g Protein
Show Full Nutrition Label Hide Full Nutrition Label
Nutrition Facts
Servings: 3 to 4
Amount per serving
Calories 130
% Daily Value*
Total Fat 11g 14%
Saturated Fat 1g 7%
Cholesterol 0mg 0%
Sodium 98mg 4%
Total Carbohydrate 8g 3%
Dietary Fiber 5g 17%
Total Sugars 3g
Protein 3g
Vitamin C 9mg 47%
Calcium 78mg 6%
Iron 2mg 13%
Potassium 572mg 12%
*The % Daily Value (DV) tells you how much a nutrient in a food serving contributes to a daily diet. 2,000 calories a day is used for general nutrition advice.
Nutrition information is calculated using an ingredient database and should be considered an estimate. In cases where multiple ingredient alternatives are given, the first listed is calculated for nutrition. Garnishes and optional ingredients are not included.