Grilled Romaine with Pumpernickel Croutons and Lemon Caesar Vinaigrette
Did I ever tell you about the first date my husband ever took me on? He brought me to a restaurant by the beach where I promptly ordered a chicken caesar salad and proceeded to eat only half of it. He still makes fun of me to this day for ordering something so lame. Grouper! Shrimp! Salmon! Anything would have been more appropriate than a caesar salad. Alas, I am who I am and that’s what I wanted. All these years later, I’ve found a better way to enjoy the classic. A more elevated and adult version. From this day forward, grilled romaine with lemon caesar vinaigrette is the only way I want to eat a caesar salad. And it’s about to be the only way you’ll want it too.
Grilled romaine. What’s the appeal?
Well for starters, grilling anything, literally anything, brings a robust flavor that you can’t get from baking, roasting, boiling, or just flat out eating raw. It adds depth and character and, in this case, char. We like char.
And yes, true, it’s going to wilt the greens a bit, but they still maintain texture — pinky promise!
The star of the show, however, is the lemon caesar vinaigrette. No mayo here, just straight up lemony anchovy goodness that packs a punch (anchovies tend to do that) and will leave you dipping anything and everything in it.
Which then leads me to the pumpernickel croutons. They are caesar salad puzzle piece you never knew was missing. And they disappear quickly, so make extra!
Add grilled chicken if you’re feeling fancy (we always are) and be made fun of no more! Grilled romaine with lemon caesar vinaigrette is everything you could ever hope for in a salad and it’s about to rock your world.
*For best results, marinate chicken at least 30 minutes, but a few hours is better!
If you make this Grilled Romaine Salad with Lemon Caesar Vinaigrette, please let me know by leaving a review below!Print
For the salad and dressing
- 2 anchovies (about 1 tsp), (packed in olive oil)
- 1 tsp dijon mustard
- 1 tsp lemon zest
- juice from ½ large lemon (about 3 Tbsp)
- 2 Tbsp parmesan cheese, (grated)
- 1 medium clove garlic, (minced (about 1 Tbsp))
- ½ cup extra virgin olive oil, (plus 4 Tbsp, divided)
- 2 cups pumpernickel bread, (cut into ½” cubes)
- 1 tsp kosher salt
- 3 hearts of romaine
For the grilled chicken, optional
- 2 large chicken breasts
- ¼ cup extra virgin olive oil
- 1 Tbsp kosher salt
- 1 Tbsp dried oregano
- 1 tsp garlic powder
- ¼ tsp freshly ground black pepper
- lemons for serving
For the salad and dressing
- Place anchovies in a mortar and grind with pestle until a smooth paste forms. Alternatively, you can chop the anchovies very finely with a knife. Place in a medium mason jar.
- Add dijon, lemon zest, lemon juice, parmesan cheese, minced garlic, and ½ cup olive oil. Secure lid on, then shake until well combined. Set aside.
- Preheat oven to 375 F. Combine pumpernickel and 2 Tbsp olive oil on a large baking sheet, then toss to combine. Season with about 1 tsp kosher salt, then bake 7-9 minutes, or until crisp. Set aside.
- Heat a grill over medium-high heat (about 400 F). Trim the tiniest amount off the ends of each romaine heart, just removing the part that is brown, then slice each in half lengthwise. Drizzle 2 Tbsp olive oil on the romaine.
- When grill is hot, grill romaine cut side down for about 2-3 minutes per side, or until charred and beginning to wilt. Remove and set aside.
For grilled chicken, optional
- In a large mixing bowl or tupperware, combine olive oil, salt, oregano, garlic powder, and black pepper. Whisk to combine. Add chicken breasts and toss in marinade. Let sit for as long as you have time — 5 minutes, 30 minutes, overnight. The longer you let it sit, the better.
- When ready, cook over medium-high grill (about 400 F) for about ~5 minutes per side, or until internal temperature reaches 165 F. Let rest 5 minutes, then cut into thin slices. Serve over grilled romaine wedges.