Grilled Romaine with Blue Cheese Vinaigrette and Bacon Crumbles or Not

This grilled romaine salad with blue cheese vinaigrette is perfect for a romantic Valentine’s Day meal or any day of the week. It’s easy to do both on a grill pan over a range or on a grill outside if you’re up to braving the cold.

Grilled lettuce is a bit of an odd concept I suppose. What we traditionally serve as cold and crisp is getting thrown on the grill, which is great fun if you love the grill like a certain someone around here. Personally, I love the grill plenty, but in February I also love my grill pan that rests across the burners on my very own stove in my very own house. That’s just me, though.

Valentine’s Day is on a Monday, which makes an interesting day to head out and eat at some fancy restaurant. Chances are good that most people will choose to celebrate on the weekend rather than the first day of the work week. Right? Maybe? Honestly, Ole and I stay at home for Valentine’s Day and always have, so I have no foresight into what you’d choose to do aside from that’s what you’d do if it were St. Patrick’s Day (which we definitely do celebrate).

But if you chose to stay at home on Monday the 14th, then I’d suggest you make this salad to mix up the meal and do a little something special. Grilling your romaine will actually bring out a bit more complexity in the salad, and with a slightly sweetened blue cheese going on top, bringing a slightly smoky flavor to your salad.

We’ll start with the dressing: Minced garlic, salt and pepper, white wine vinegar and a bit of raw honey get whisked together. Add in the blue cheese and then smash it up with a fork as you stir so that it starts to become part of the liquid. I suppose if you have a small food processor or a blender handy (mine was in the garage and it’s cold out there) you could do this in there and avoid the trouble of smashing it by hand.

When it starts to look creamy and still has a few lumps here and there, we’re going to drizzle a bit of olive oil in while whisking constantly. Slowly drizzle. Do not do what I did, which was attempt to take a picture of the drizzling and end up with a pool. No pool. Thin drizzle.

After you cut the romaine hearts in half, a light layer of olive oil is brushed on.

The halves are placed on the grill, and they can share space with a bit of bacon or pecans, too. Just a few minutes and then flip to a different side. We just want to lightly sear the outside so that it’s nice and brown, but not burnt.

A perfectly presentable grilled romaine salad with blue cheese vinaigrette for that special someone, or if you’re like us, you could eat it on Thursday night after the kids have done their homework and the day’s train track creation (courtesy of Magnus) has been cleaned up off the living room floor to prevent massive injury in the post-dinner bathroom dash to see who can wash their hands the fastest. Or for a quiet Valentine’s Day dinner. With mood lighting.

1 clove garlic, minced
2 teaspoons raw honey
2 tablespoons white wine vinegar
1/2 teaspoon salt
black pepper to taste
1/4 cup blue cheese, crumbled
1/3 cup extra virgin olive oil
4 hearts of romaine
1 tablespoon olive oil
2 slices bacon, cooked and crumbled, or 1/4 cup toasted pecans, chopped
Extra blue cheese crumbles

In a small to medium bowl add minced garlic, honey, white wine vinegar, salt and pepper. Whisk to combine. Add in blue cheese and, using fork tines or small food processor, smash into the sauce until partially smooth. It is not necessary to remove all the lumps, but the mixture should become thick. Using a slow, thin stream, pour in olive oil while whisking to incorporate until all olive oil is emulsified into the dressing. Set aside.

Preheat grill to medium-high heat. Cut romaine hearts in half, leaving the root ball on to hold them together. Brush lightly with olive oil. Place heads down on grill, grilling 3 minutes on each side until slightly browned.

Drizzle grilled romaine hearts with dressing. Sprinkle with blue cheese crumbles and bacon or pecans.

Makes 8 servings.
Copyright © Food for My Family.

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  1. The first time I had grilled romaine was at Nancy’s (The Sensitive Pantry) beach house. The grilling brought out some great flavor that I didn’t expect. It’s a lovely way to enjoy a salad.

    We have tickets to a basketball game on the 14th. At my insistance! My beloved Spurs are playing the Nets, and I could not miss it. James is convinced I’ll be the only woman in the crowd. But why have 1 valentine when I can have the 20 or so Spurs plays too? 🙂 They’re sure to notice me decked out in Black and Silver, waiving my Spurs flag, if I’m amongst a sea of Net-clad fans, right?

  2. What a beautiful and simple design. I could NEVER have come up with it in a million years. You are my chef hero!

  3. I’ve never grilled lettuce before and now I definitely want to try it! This sounds so full of flavor!

  4. Delicious! I did a similar recipe last summer on the grill outside. loved it. Your photos are beautiful 🙂

  5. That is some gorgeous salad, wow. Love it. Want it.

  6. I’ve never thought of grilled lettuce, but this sounds pretty darn good.

  7. Love it honey! Although I would use feta for me and hubby can have Blue Cheese

  8. I had grilled caesar salad about 3 years ago in Lancaster, PA, and have loved it ever since! I’m a vegetarian (so no bacon), but the idea of toasted pecans with blue cheese dressing sounds delicious and decadent…thanks!

  9. Shaina-This is one of my top ten salads, but I have never thought to grill it!! OMG-I’m loving that!

  10. Mmm, thanks for the blue cheese vinaigrette recipe – can’t wait to try with pecans. This half-galley kitchen lacks a grill or grill pan, but we’re getting solid with improv around here.

  11. Did you like it? What were those yummy bacon things you served with it? The grill is brilliant. It looks pretty. I have never had a grilled lettuce salad yet and have been hearing about it for years, particularly about grilled radicchio. Did the grilling change the flavour dramatically – like frying onions does to an onion?

  12. What a great salad! Love it!

  13. What a lovely and creative way to enjoy a salad. I must try this and shed these Christmas-induced pounds already, haha! Thanks so much for sharing, Shaina. I’m so glad to have found your beautiful blog and look forward to seeing more! 🙂 – Georgia

  14. I don’t normally crave salad, but *this* one, I want. NOW. 🙂

  15. I love how grilling lettuce brings out nice caramelized flavors. I also like to grill radicchio.

  16. Grilled romaine is one of my all time favorite salads. We enjoyed it all summer long. Mmmm. Loving your photos.

  17. I’ve never grilled lettuce, but that looks SO good!!!

  18. My daughter asked the other day if there was a such thing as “fried lettuce” I told her I had tried grilled & love it, but never fried (yuck!) I will send her here for the recipe for grilled romaine 😉

  19. This is an entirely new idea for me — where have I been? — and I absolutely adore it! I can’t wait to try your perfect recipe as a side dish the next time I make a soup dinner.

  20. This look so delicious Shaina!!

    Thanks for linking up! I featured you on my wrap up post!!

  21. Very nice, wish I had it in front of me right now! Sounds yummy!


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