With just a slight bit of effort, this recipe turns lettuce into something completely different. It’s hot and crisp, yet tender inside, with some crunch and the edges browned. Add in a balsamic vinaigrette and spices like oregano and thyme, and it’s a flavorful side dish that’ll surprise everyone who eats it.
Why Grill Romaine Lettuce?
Lettuce doesn’t need to mean boring, cold salads. And though it’s unconventional, this grilled romaine lettuce can really elevate your salad game.
Grilling lettuce isn’t something that many think about – surely there are better foods that deserve the grill? Think burgers, chicken, ribs, steaks, sausages – practically any meat!
However, if you’ve got a soft spot for salads, then you’ll be surprised at how fantastic grilled lettuce can be.
As long as the lettuce has enough structure like a romaine lettuce does, it’s good for grilling!
Ingredients (+ Substitutions)
These are the ingredients you’ll need to make this roasted romaine lettuce:
- Romaine Lettuce: This robust leafy green is the star of the show. With its long, firm leaves and crisp texture, Romaine lettuce holds up well under the heat of roasting. Unlike other greens, Romaine doesn’t wilt into oblivion. Instead, it softens slightly while retaining some crispness.
- Olive Oil: This is not just a cooking medium, but an integral part of the flavor profile. Extra virgin olive oil has a distinctive fruity note that complements the natural taste of the lettuce. Plus, it facilitates even roasting and helps the lettuce to caramelize nicely. Choose the best quality you can.
- Garlic: Minced garlic adds a pungent depth and savoriness to the recipe. As it roasts, garlic loses its sharpness and becomes subtly sweet, mingling with the olive oil to infuse the lettuce with deliciousness.
- Balsamic Vinegar: This ingredient introduces a tangy complexity to the dish. It lends a bit of acidity to balance the richness of the oil and the natural sweetness of the roasted lettuce. You can try other vinegars like red wine vinegar or apple cider vinegar if you want to try different tastes.
- Spices: Both oregano and thyme have a strong, distinctive aroma that stands up to roasting without losing their character. These herbs give the dish a Mediterranean touch.
- Lemon Juice: An optional but recommended addition. A squeeze of fresh lemon juice just before serving lends a bright citrus note that cuts through the richness of the dish, adding an extra layer of freshness. Be sure to choose fresh lemon juice, not the bottled stuff!
How to Make This Roasted Romaine Lettuce
This all takes less than 5 minutes and is really easy to
- Preheat your oven to 400°F (200°C).
- Wash the Romaine lettuce heads thoroughly under cold running water. Pat them dry with paper towels or a clean kitchen towel. Cut each head in half lengthwise, leaving the root end intact to hold the leaves together.
- Make the vinaigrette: In a small bowl, mix together the olive oil, minced garlic, dried oregano, dried thyme, balsamic vinegar salt, and black pepper. Brush this mixture generously over the cut sides of the romaine lettuce halves, making sure to coat the entire surface.
- Arrange the lettuce: Place the seasoned Romaine lettuce halves, cut-side up, on a baking sheet or roasting pan lined with parchment paper.
- Roast the lettuce: Roast the Romaine lettuce in the preheated oven for about 5 minutes or until the leaves start to wilt slightly and get some golden-brown edges.
- Serve the Roasted Romaine Lettuce: Remove the roasted lettuce from the oven and transfer them to a serving platter. Squeeze a bit of fresh lemon juice over the top if desired. Serve immediately while still warm.
Is My Pan Right For This?
If you’ve tried roasting veggies, then the right pan is crucial. This is because smaller trays may give your veggies enough room to properly roast and end up being steamed.
When the veggies steam and the veggies are too crowded, they become soft. So if you want that crispy texture, you need to make room.
Be sure to choose a large baking tray with raised edges – this is great for roasting veggies, and particularly in getting that crispy texture for the lettuce here.
How Long Do I Grill the Lettuce?
The temperature of grills can vary quite a lot, so keep an eye on it throughout. Between 5-8 minutes tends to be the sweet spot. Once the sides are lightly charred, that’s when you know it’s time.
What Can I Serve with This Roasted Romaine Lettuce?
These are the perfect side dish for meat dishes or as part of a lovely grilled salad.
- Mediterranean Yogurt Marinaded Chicken
- Mediterranean Turkey Burgers
- Mediterranean Chicken Wraps
- Mediterranean Eggplant Tomato Bake
- 2 large heads of Romaine lettuce, sliced lengthways
- 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
- 2 garlic cloves, minced
- 1 tbsp balsamic vinegar
- 1 tsp dried oregano
- 1 tsp dried thyme
- ¼ tsp salt (adjust to taste)
- ¼ teaspoon black pepper (adjust to taste)
- A squeeze of lemon juice (optional)
- Preheat your oven to 400°F (200°C).
- In a small bowl, mix together the olive oil, minced garlic, dried oregano, dried thyme, balsamic vinegar salt, and black pepper. Brush this mixture generously over the cut sides of the romaine lettuce halves, coating the entire surface.
- Place the Romaine lettuce halves, cut-side up, on a baking sheet or roasting pan lined with parchment paper. Roast in the preheated oven for about 10-15 minutes or until the leaves start to wilt slightly and get some golden-brown edges.
- Remove the roasted lettuce from the oven and transfer them to a serving platter. Squeeze a bit of fresh lemon juice over the top if desired. Serve immediately while still warm.
- Check on your lettuce every few minutes - different grills will cook at different times, so the cook times will differ slightly.
Amount Per Serving Calories 72Total Fat 7gSaturated Fat 1gTrans Fat 0gUnsaturated Fat 6gCholesterol 0mgSodium 149mgCarbohydrates 3gFiber 1gSugar 1gProtein 0g
Want More Delicious, Mediterranean-Style Recipes?
If you’ve cooked this recipe, be sure to leave a comment or review! But if you’re looking for more: