Grilled Romaine with Roasted Red Pepper Dressing

When I'm trying to step up my vegetable eating game, it's easy for me to get stuck in a salad rut. I tend to make the same old pile of lettuce, a few chopped carrots and maybe a cucumber or bell pepper. After a while it's just...well...boring. And eating - even eating healthfully - shouldn't be boring. 

I can’t remember where I first saw the idea for grilled romaine lettuce, but I was immediately intrigued. I absolutely love other grilled vegetables like eggplant, zucchini and asparagus. Why not lettuce, too?

Romaine works really well on the grill because it’s hearty and can hold its shape in the midst of the heat. The smoky flavor from the char on the leaves takes the salad to a whole new level, especially when combined with roasted red pepper dressing. The pureed peppers provide a creamy texture without actually adding any milk-based ingredients, and a few toasted pine nuts add a crunchy, nutty finishing touch. 

Grilled Romaine with Roasted Red Pepper Dressing
Yields 4 side dish servings

2 heads romaine lettuce, rinsed and patted dry
Olive oil
Salt and pepper
Handful of pine nuts
Roasted Red Pepper Dressing (recipe below)

Add a handful of pine nuts to a small sauté pan over medium-high heat. Cook for a few minutes, stirring frequently, until the pine nuts get slightly toasted. Remove from heat and set aside.

Slice the romaine heads in half lengthwise. Drizzle both sides with a little olive oil and sprinkle with salt and pepper. 

Preheat a grill or grill pan to medium-high heat. Make sure it’s fully preheated before adding the lettuce so you get the best char. Add the romaine slices cut side down to the preheated grill and allow to cook for about 2-3 minutes. Flip them over and cook an additional 2-3 minutes until charred and slightly wilted. 

Transfer to serving platter or individual plates. Drizzle Roasted Red Pepper Dressing and sprinkle with toasted pine nuts. Serve and enjoy!

Roasted Red Pepper Dressing
Yields about 10 ounces

1 shallot, chopped
2 roasted red peppers (don’t bother with store-bought – make your own!)
2 tablespoons red wine vinegar
½ cup plus 1 tablespoon olive oil, divided
Salt and pepper

In a small sauté pan, heat 1 tablespoon of the olive oil over medium-high heat. Add the shallot and cook until softened and almost translucent.

Add the cooked shallot, roasted peppers and vinegar to a blender and blend well. Add in ½ cup of olive oil and a few sprinkles of salt and pepper. Blend until ingredients are fully incorporated. Add more salt and pepper to taste.

Transfer to an airtight container and refrigerate until ready to use. You may need to shake the dressing up before serving. Serve over grilled romaine.

This post was originally featured by Bright, Bold & Beautiful.