You can make Grilled Romaine Salad with Parmesan in less than 20 minutes! You'll love the smoky flavor of the charred romaine topped with toasted walnuts, shaved Parmesan and a simple vinaigrette. This is one of the best salads!
Are you late to the grilled romaine party? Did you even know it's a thing?
If this is new to you, you're in for a treat! And if you're already a fan, wait until you try this Grilled Romaine Salad with Parmesan and toasted walnuts.
You'll wonder where it's been all your life!
Grilling romaine hearts gives them a delicious, smoky flavor that makes you weak in the knees. (This is a proven fact, based on my careful experimentation.)
It turns plain lettuce into the showstopping star of your meal. And the charred romaine salad has gorgeous grill lines!
Romaine hearts are smaller, yellowish leaves found at the center of heads of romaine lettuce. The hearts have a sweeter taste and are often crunchier in texture.
I recommend buying a package of romaine hearts for this recipe, since they'll be cleaner than a head of romaine. But, if you’re starting with the entire head of lettuce, remove the outer leaves and any wilted ones until you find the hearts in the middle.
Parmesan: Shaved Parmesan cheese brings a delicious, salty accent to this warm romaine salad. It’s so satisfying to munch on a thin slice of Parmesan! I highly recommend it instead of grated cheese here.
You can either buy shaved Parmesan or simply use a vegetable peeler to shave off a piece from a triangle of Parmesan.
Walnuts: Toasted walnuts add wonderful flavor and crunch. You can skip them if needed or substitute pecans, cashews, or hazelnuts.
White Balsamic Vinegar: This has a mild, fruity taste that complements the grilled romaine hearts beautifully. You can find it at the grocery store or buy it online (affiliate link).
White balsamic vinegar is a game-changer for salads, but if you don't have any, you can use red wine vinegar or dark balsamic vinegar.
Olive Oil: I recommend using regular olive oil, which is milder than extra-virgin olive oil. It makes a difference in the flavor of this vinaigrette. But, use what you have!
How to make grilled romaine salad
See the card at the end of this post for the full recipe, but here's an overview.
- Toast chopped walnuts in a pan on the stove for about two minutes or until fragrant.
- Place rinsed, dried and trimmed romaine hearts on a greased, heated grill pan (affiliate link) or outdoor grill. Cook them for three minutes per side.
- Shave the Parmesan cheese.
- Whisk the ingredients for the vinaigrette.
- It’s important to leave the hearts of romaine intact when cleaning them. Just rinse them and trim off the dark edge of each root end.
- When toasting walnuts in a pan on the stove, watch them carefully, so they don’t burn. As soon as they become fragrant, remove them from the heat.
What to serve with it
To serve, place a grilled lettuce heart on each plate and top with toasted walnuts and shaved Parmesan. Drizzle on the white balsamic vinaigrette. You could even try this with lemon olive oil or yogurt-based ranch dressing.
Frequently asked questions
I always make grilled Romaine indoors with my stovetop grill pan. You also could use a George Foreman pan (affiliate link) or an outdoor grill.
If you don't have a grill, you can mimic the taste by making charred romaine under your broiler.
Cut the lettuce hearts in half the long way and drizzle them with oil. Broil for two minutes, flip over, and broil for two minutes more. Watch them closely so they don't burn.
More salads to enjoy
- The Best Italian Green Salad with Homemade Dressing
- Spinach Salad with Mandarin Oranges and Pancetta
- Apple Mozzarella Pecan Salad with Maple Vinaigrette
- Easy Breaded Scallops over Salad with Lemon Vinaigrette
- Buffalo Chicken Nacho Salad
If you try this Grilled Romaine Salad recipe, please leave a comment and rating!
Grilled Romaine Salad with Parmesan
- 2 whole romaine hearts (the inner leaves of a head of romaine)
- ¼ cup shelled walnuts
- olive oil to brush on grill pan or grill
- 10-12 shavings of fresh Parmesan cheese
- ⅛ cup olive oil (preferably regular instead of EVOO)
- ⅛ cup white balsamic vinegar
- ⅛ teaspoon garlic powder
- ⅛ teaspoon salt
- 1 pinch black pepper
- Carefully rinse the romaine hearts and pat them dry with paper towels. Trim off just the dark edge of each root end, making sure to leave the romaine hearts intact.
- Roughly chop the walnuts and place them in a small pan on the stove over medium-high heat. Stir them around for two minutes, just until they become fragrant. Remove the pan from the heat.
- Brush your grill pan with olive oil and heat it (or your outdoor grill) on medium high. When the grill is hot, add the romaine hearts and cook them for three minutes before flipping them over. Cook the romaine for three minutes longer, turning if needed to get it browned all around.
- While the romaine is cooking, use a vegetable peeler to shave off pieces of Parmesan and set them aside.
- To make the vinaigrette, whisk the olive oil, vinegar and seasonings in a small container. Serve the romaine topped with the walnuts, Parmesan and some dressing.
(Recipe Source: Cooking with Mamma C, inspired by a restaurant meal. Originally published on May 13, 2015 and updated now with new photos and additional information. Photos by Kanyi Muraguri for Cooking with Mamma C.)