It’s been said before, but we’ll say it again: grilling season has arrived. And while we love the classics, we decided to mix things up for our twist on the usual BBQ suspects. We landed on to this grilled romaine salad topped with charred corn, crispy chickpeas, avocado, tomatoes and homemade vegan ranch dressing. Grilled lettuce might sound odd, but the flame transforms this often-boring veggie into something totally new we think you’ll love.
Choosing the right lettuce for the grill
We wouldn’t grill just any variety of lettuce. Something like spinach would wilt down to nothing and probably make a mess on your grill. Kale, while hearty, doesn’t have the core that holds the head together, so you’d be likely to lose precious leaves through your grates. However with the right grill basket, you might be able to make delicous grilled kale. Just don’t leave it over the flame too long, as it shrinks down pretty quickly!
There are a few keys to grilling lettuce with the perfect texture–not too mushy or too raw. First, preheat the grill to medium, not high, which will char the leaves quickly without wilting them at all. Secondly, be sure to brush enough oil on the outer leaves so the lettuce doesn’t stick to the grates. And finally, watch the lettuce closely. You only need to grill the lettuce halves for about 5 minutes per side. Ultimately, your goal is to warm the romaine through with some charring on the outer leaves. You’ll be surprised by how that char can amp up the flavor of your salad.
Other hearty lettuces, like radicchio or endive, with a strong core and thicker leaves, would also grill up well and add some nice colors to a grilled salad. However, we chose romaine for it’s grill-ability and size. We have a lot of toppings to hold, afterall!
Next, add the toppings: grilled corn, crispy chickpeas & fresh veggies
In our book, a good salad is chock-full of mix-ins. Since we already had the grill going, we added a couple of ears of fresh corn. They char up nicely and compliment the charred lettuce. Then, we wanted to add some variety with cooked and fresh produce. We diced a ripe avocado, some plump cherry tomatoes and a few handfuls of fresh herbs. Many kinds of herbs would be delicious on this grilled romaine salad, but we had cilantro and chives on hand from the garden.
And the crunch factor, a star ingredient in this, and really all, satisfying salads, are crispy chickpeas. We used our favorite store-bought chickpea snacks here. However, we also have a delicous tried-and-true recipe for za’atar roasted chickpeas that would compliment this grilled romaine with vegan ranch too.
Dress it up: Vegan Ranch Dressing
The final element of this grilled romaine salad is a delicious homemade vegan ranch dressing. With a base of dairy-free yogurt (we used cashew-based, but choose your favorite) and plenty of fresh herbs, this dressing is likely to become a staple. Despite having no dairy or the faux flavorings usually found in bottled ranch dressing, this vegan version has the same delicous tang. Along with the ranch must-haves onion and garlic, we brought the tang with a bit of apple cider vinegar.
Enjoy grilling season, and as always, pile on the veggies, starting with this grilled romaine salad with herby vegan ranch!
This post contains affiliate links, which means that Crowded Kitchen may receive payment for items purchased.Print
Grilled Romaine salad, topped with charred corn, crispy chickpeas, avocado, tomatoes and vegan ranch dressing is the answer to your next summer salad recipe.
- 2–4 heads of romaine, sliced in half lengthwise
- 2 ears of corn, grilled, with kernels cut from the cob
- 1 ripe avocado, diced
- 3/4 cup cherry tomatoes, quartered
- 1/2 cup crispy salted chickpeas (we used this brand, but we also have a great recipe for Za’atar Roasted Chickpeas that would work great)
- Fresh herbs, chopped
Herby Vegan Ranch Dressing:
- 1 cup plain cashew (or other non-dairy) yogurt
- 3 tbsp almond milk
- 2 tsp apple cider vinegar
- 1/2 tsp salt
- 1/2 tsp garlic powder
- 1/2 tsp onion powder
- 1/4 tsp pepper
- 2 tbsp fresh chives
- 1 1/2 tbsp fresh parsley
- 1 tbsp fresh dill
- Preheat your grill to medium.
- Brush both sides of the romaine halves with olive oil and sprinkle with salt and pepper.
- Grill romaine for about 5 minutes per side, watching carefully, until the lettuce is slightly charred.
- Whisk or blend all of the dressing ingredients together until well combined.
- Whisk or blend all of your ingredients together until well combined.
- Lay grilled romaine halves cut-side up on a serving platter and top with grilled corn, diced avocado, cherry tomatoes, crispy chickpeas and vegan ranch dressing.
Keywords: Grilled Romaine Salad with Vegan Ranch