Traditional recipes

Grilled Romaine Salad with Spicy Dressing

Grilled Romaine Salad with Spicy Dressing

For salad dressing:


chipotle peppers in adobo sauce


teaspoon freshly ground pepper

For salad:


heads romaine lettuce, washed and dry patted


cups cherry tomatoes, sliced


cups sliced queso fresco

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  • 1

    For salad dressing:Place all ingredients in blender and blend until smooth. Refrigerate until ready to use.

  • 2

    For salad:Pre-heat grill or grill pan to medium-high heat

  • 3

    Slice each romaine lettuce head in half, lengthwise, and rub with olive oil.

  • 4

    Grill 4-5 minutes on each side. Serve warm with sliced cherry tomatoes, queso fresco and spicy salad dressing.

Expert Tips

  • Swap Out – Experiment with various types of lettuce or grill fruit alongside your lettuce for a sweeter salad.

No nutrition information available for this recipe

More About This Recipe

  • Think you can only grill beef or chicken? Wait until you try grilling your next salad! With a hint of smoke from the grill and a splash of spicy dressing, this salad will soon be your next go-to summer meal.

The Meatwave

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I'm fresh off a four day trip to Decatur, Alabama, where the folks at Kingsford invited me down to learn the ropes of competition 'cue with pitmaster Chris Lilly and then compete in the annual Riverfest event. Needless to say, on a barbecue press trip run by Kingsford and the man at the helm of Big Bob Gibson, I was extremely well fed with endless grilled and smoked goodies along with biscuits, gravies, and pies. Now I can't complain at all about this, but it did undo a bit of my work I've been keeping up for most of the summer to bring in the waistline. I'm not quite ready to give in to fall and winter gluttony quite yet, so I'm going into rebound mode, which calls for a salad or two, but that doesn't mean I have to shy away from the grill.

I got the idea for this particular grilled salad from another trip that had me and the wife stopping at 12 Bones Smokehouse in Asheville just a couples hours off of a huge breakfast. It was no challenge for me to indulge in ribs and pulled pork on a full stomach, but my wife wasn't of the same mind and I finally found out who orders the salad in barbecue restaurant.

To her credit, the salad did come with a side of ribs, but the main attraction was a giant iceberg wedge dressed with spicy Ranch, tomatoes, fried onions, and bacon. This combo had her raving, and I admit, it was pretty damn tasty (for a salad).

So thinking along those lines, I decided to put together something similar, but swapped out that chunk of cold lettuce with grilled hearts of romaine.

A sturdy leaf lettuce like romaine actually works fantastic on the grill. Halved, oiled, and lightly seasoned, the cut side is taken to the flames where it develops a slight char along the outer edges of the leaves closest to the fire.

In contrast, the top of the lettuce stays rather cool and remains nice and crisp. This creates a variety of texture, while the onions, tomatoes, and spicy ranch deliver on a bold and satisfying flavor. It's one that makes salad agreeable to me, which in turn will help me lose some weight gained in Decatur, which will then make me feel better about letting myself go once again come winter.

Published on Tue Sep 18, 2012 by Joshua Bousel

Grilled Romaine Salad with Spicy Ranch, Tomatoes, and Fried Onions

  • Yield 4 servings
  • Prep 15 Minutes
  • Cook 5 Minutes
  • Total 20 Minutes


  • 1 cup ranch dressing
  • 1 tablespoon adobo sauce from a can of chipotles in adobo
  • 2 hearts of romaine, rinsed and dried
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 12oz grape tomatoes, halved
  • 1/2 cup French fried onions
  • Kosher salt
  • Freshly ground black pepper


  1. In a medium bow, mix ranch dressing and adobo sauce to make the spicy ranch. Set aside.
  2. Split hearts of romaine in half lengthwise. Brush each cut side with olive oil and season with salt and pepper to taste.
  3. Light one chimney full of charcoal. When all the charcoal is lit and covered with gray ash, pour out and arrange the coals on one side of the charcoal grate. Set cooking grate in place, cover grill and allow to preheat for 5 minutes. Clean and oil the grilling grate. Place romaine on the grill, cut side down, and grill until leaves start to soften and char, about 5 minutes. Remove from grill.
  4. Place each heart of romaine on its own plate. Drizzle with dressing, then top with tomatoes and fried onions. Serve immediately.

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Chris Josh,

I was so completely disappointed that I didn't get to meet you there. I was so looking forward to hanging with you guys. Next time!

Chris Posted Thu, Sep 20 2012 12:15PM

Josh @Chris Our paths will cross someday, I'm sure. Hope you and the family are doing well. Posted Thu, Sep 20 2012 12:17PM

yl when grilling the romaine, is it done over the direct side or indirect side? and do you cover the grill? Posted Wed, Aug 27 2014 11:30AM

Grilled Romaine Chopped Salad

To make this grilled romaine salad, start by grilling the corn, red bell pepper, jalapeno and romaine lettuce. Prepare the Honey Lime Dressing by combing garlic, jalapeno, cilantro, lime juice, olive oil, honey, dijon mustard and ground ginger in a blender. Chop the romaine lettuce, then toss with the honey lime dressing. Top the salad with the grilled corn, taken off the cob, jalapeno, seeded & diced, red bell pepper, also seeded & diced, black beans, tomato, avocado, cilantro, goat cheese and tortilla strips.

An easy chopped salad recipe with so much flavor!



  1. In a small jar or bowl, combine mayo, garlic, lemon zest and juice, salt and pepper. Whisk well to combine. Add a splash of water to thin out the dressing, if desired. Cover and refrigerate until ready to serve.


  1. Cook bacon in a skillet until crispy. Drain on paper towels before giving a fine chop. Drain out all but a little of the bacon fat and add the torn pieces of bread to the pan. Toast the croutons over medium heat until crisp and golden.
  2. Preheat your grill to 500°.
  3. Meanwhile, cut your romaine in half and brush the cut side with olive oil. Once your grill is preheated, place the romaine cut-side down onto the grill grates. Use tongs to press the lettuce gently onto the grates. Grill for 2 to 3 mintues before turning. Repeat on the second side before transferring to a platter.
  4. Top grilled romaine with a little of the dressing, the bacon crumbles, croutons, some pickled red onion, parmesan cheese shavings. Top with more dressing and lots of freshly ground black pepper.

Nutrition Information:


Serving Size:

All information presented on this site is intended for informational purposes only. I am not a certified nutritionist and any nutritional information shared on should only be used as a general guideline.

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Grilled Romaine Salad with Buttermilk Dressing

Grilled Romaine Salad with Buttermilk Dressing: Of all the things I love to grill, Grilled Romaine is a favorite. This delectable Romaine Salad with charred hearts of romaine and creamy Creole Buttermilk Dressing, is a feast for the senses.

Smoky grilled romaine hearts, blistering warm oranges, slices of fresh avocado, and bits of thick cut bacon… What’s not to love?

This easy and elegant Grilled Romaine Salad with Buttermilk Dressing makes a perfect first course. Grilling lettuce and oranges brings their flavors to the forefront for major wow-factor. The avocados off-set the acidity and offer creamy richness. And bacon adds that salty porky crunch that only bacon can provide.

Top this grilled romaine salad with a savory buttermilk dressing blended with McCormick Creole Jambalaya Seasoning Mix for that extra punch of irresistible flavor!

This Grilled Romaine Salad with Buttermilk Dressing is one of the dishes I served at my McCormick Gourmet Dinner Party. Make sure to check out all the recipes HERE.