Grilled Romaine With Tomato Vinaigrette

June 21, 2023
1 Ratings
Photo by © Kristin Teig
  • Prep time 10 minutes
  • Cook time 5 minutes
  • Serves 4
Author Notes

Lettuce probably isn’t the first vegetable you might consider tossing on the grill, but I think it should be. Grilling a sturdy head of lettuce like romaine transforms it, giving it charred, frilly edges while still keeping the bulk of the matter crisp and juicy. When halved lengthwise, the heads reveal layers of nooks and crannies for dressing to nestle. I like opting for a vinaigrette with a bit of texture.

Here, fresh tomatoes are grated on a box grater over a bowl to catch all their juices and soft, pulpy flesh. A little olive oil, balsamic, garlic, Dijon, and fresh basil turn it into a vibrant tomato vinaigrette. —Sheela Prakash

Test Kitchen Notes

Excerpted from Salad Seasons: Vegetable-Forward Dishes All Year by Sheela Prakash © Rizzoli, 2023. —Food52

What You'll Need
  • 1 medium beefsteak or heirloom tomato (about ½ pound)
  • 1 small garlic clove, gently smashed and peeled
  • 1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar
  • 1 tablespoon plus 2 teaspoons extra-virgin olive oil, divided
  • 1/2 teaspoon Dijon mustard
  • 1 tablespoon fresh basil leaves, chopped
  • Kosher salt, to taste
  • Freshly ground black pepper, to taste
  • 2 medium romaine lettuce hearts (about 1 pound total), halved lengthwise through the core
  1. Heat an outdoor grill for medium-high direct heat. Meanwhile, set a box grater over a medium bowl and use the side with the large holes for grating the tomato into the bowl. Discard the flattened skin and stem left behind. Grate the garlic into the bowl using the small holes of the grater. Add the vinegar, 2 teaspoons olive oil, Dijon, basil, a generous pinch of salt, and a few grinds of pepper. Whisk until combined and emulsified. Taste and season with additional salt and pepper as needed.
  2. When the grill is hot, brush the cut sides of the lettuce with the remaining 1 tablespoon olive oil and season all over with salt and pepper. Grill cut side down, uncovered, until the edges are browned and grill marks appear, 1 to 2 minutes. Flip and grill the other side, about 1 minute more.
  3. Transfer the romaine, cut side up, to a serving platter and spoon the tomato vinaigrette over it.

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Sheela Prakash is a food and wine writer, recipe developer, and the author of Salad Seasons: Vegetable-Forward Dishes All Year and Mediterranean Every Day: Simple, Inspired Recipes for Feel-Good Food. Her writing and recipes can be found in numerous online and print publications, including Kitchn, Epicurious, Food52, Serious Eats, Tasting Table, The Splendid Table, Simply Recipes, Culture Cheese Magazine, Clean Plates, and Slow Food USA. She received her master's degree from the University of Gastronomic Sciences in Italy, holds Level 2 and Level 3 Awards in Wines from the Wine & Spirit Education Trust (WSET), graduated from New York University's Department of Nutrition and Food Studies, and is also a Registered Dietitian.

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