Grilled Romaine Salad with Pale Ale Parmesan Dressing

If regular lettuce leaves you feeling wilted, try this smoky variation.


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This salad is easy to add to any grilling menu. Prepare the dressing before you start cooking and then toss the lettuce on the grill once your meat and other vegetables are done. The pale ale combined with lemon creates a burst of citrus in the creamy, herb dressing. Choose a hoppy pale ale with strong citrus notes. If you don’t have a grill, you can re-create this salad using a large grill pan on the stove. It just won’t have the same smoky flavor.

Serves 4

¼ cup freshly grated Parmesan

1 garlic clove, chopped

4 tablespoons sour cream

2 tablespoons mayonnaise

1 tablespoon chopped parsley

1 teaspoon lemon zest

¼ teaspoon fine sea salt

Pinch ground black pepper

2 ounces pale ale

Cooking oil for the grill

1 large head romaine lettuce

Shaved Parmesan and lemon wedges, for garnish

Place the grated Parmesan, garlic, sour cream, mayonnaise, parsley, lemon zest, salt, and pepper in a small food processor or single-serving blender cup. Puree until all ingredients are combined, about 15 seconds. Pour in the beer, puree until smooth, another 10 to 15 seconds.

Heat the grill to medium-high to high, about 400°F. Brush the grate with oil. Place the head of lettuce on the grill. Use tongs to flip it every 15 seconds, until the outer leaves begin to darken and wilt. It will take about five minutes.

Place the lettuce on a cutting board and chop into large pieces. Transfer to a serving bowl, pour in the dressing, and toss to coat. Garnish with shaved Parmesan and lemon wedges before serving.

Note: The goal with a grilled romaine salad is to cook the lettuce just until the outer leaves are warmed and slightly wilted while the inner head stays cool and crisp. When it’s chopped together, it creates a mix of temperatures and textures.

Beers to consider:  Sierra Nevada Brewing Company Pale Ale, Stone Brewing Pale Ale 2.0, Deschutes Brewery Mirror Pond Pale Ale


Lori Rice is a photographer, writer, and nutritional scientist based in California’s Central Valley. To learn more about cooking with brews and for great recipes like the one on the next page, check out her cookbook, Food on Tap: Cooking with Craft Beer, available on Amazon.

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