Grilled wedge salad

As I write this post, the weather in California has been hitting triple digits.  It is HOT!  I can barely get myself to turn on the stove and I have definitely not been baking bread for the past few weeks.  My family loves this grilled wedge salad. If you are looking to add more greens and fiber into your diet, for some reason, the unseparated leaves  of the romaine lettuce in a wedge salad allows you to consume more leafy greens.

This wedge salad is different from regular wedge salads.  The romaine lettuce is slightly charred which gives it a unique and interesting taste. Lentils, blue cheese and bacon are added for the protein.  The lentils are seasoned during soaking and sauteed.  The thick sliced bacon is seasoned with brown sugar and fried until crisp.  For a healthier dressing, I make a homemade (cheater) ranch dressing using kefir!

Tips for making grilled wedge salad

Lettuce.

Tight leaved lettuce like romaine and iceberg holds up better than loose leaved lettuce.  Romaine lettuce has more nutrition than iceberg lettuce.  To grill the lettuce, DO NOT cut off the stem of the lettuce that holds all the leaves together which one normally does when preparing salad.  Cut the lettuce in half lengthwise, cutting directly through the stem.  This will keep most of the lettuce leaves intact, making it easier to grill. Wash the lettuce well and allow the water to drain, using paper towels to completely dry the lettuce.

Cut romaine lengthwise through the stem

Cut romaine lettuce in half, lengthwise through the stem. Uncut stem helps keep lettuce leaves intact.

Grill lettuce on top of gas oven stove top or BBQ

Grill lettuce on open flame of gas oven stove top or BBQ.

Use tongs to flip lettuce when charred.

Use tongs to flip lettuce when charred.

Bacon.

The large chunks of thick sliced bacon, slightly sweetened with brown sugar is a definite must in this salad.  Find thick cut bacon in the grocery store.  Pan fry the bacon until crisp.  When almost completely done, sprinkle brown sugar and allow to caramelize on both sides.  Caramelizing the sugar not only helps enhance the taste of the bacon, but also help make it crispy.

Sprinkle brown sugar to bacon.

Sprinkle brown sugar onto bacon. Allow to caramelize and crisp.

Lentils.

Lentils are an amazing source of protein and fiber.  They are also an excellent source of B vitamins, iron, magnesium, potassium and zinc.  Adding lentils to this wedge salad, gives some additional plant-based protein.  There are different types of lentils and any lentil will work.  Some people don't like lentils because of their mushiness.   The lentils for this grilled wedge salad are soaked in chicken stock until hydrated and then sauteed in a small amount of bacon rendering (melted bacon fat), making them tasty and not mushy!

Dressing.

For the dressing, I choose a less caloric, healthier homemade option which is "creamy" with health benefits.  Instead of making the ranch dressing completely from scratch, I cheat and buy the ranch dressing mix.  Combine the dressing mix with kefir for a creamy dressing.  If you prefer a thicker dressing, a combination of plain Greek yoghurt and kefir can be used. This home-made dressing is completely optional and is just a healthier and less caloric alternative to the store bought dressings.

ranch dressing mix

Ranch dressing mix

Other ingredients.

The other ingredients used as toppings can be tomatoes, cucumbers, colorful peppers, carrots etc.  Cut the vegetables into small, diced pieces and sprinkle this on the lettuce.   Place the lettuce on the plate cut-side up.  This allows the vegetables to balance on the lettuce as well as allow the dressing to spread to the other leaf layers. Drizzle the wedge with dressing and then garnish with blue cheese crumbles (or any other cheese of your choice) and large pieces of bacon.  Before serving, cut the brown part of the stem of the lettuce with kitchen shears.  Enjoy, stay cool and eat healthy!

Grilled wedge salad with toppings
Grilled wedge salad with toppings

GRILLED WEDGE SALAD

Michelle Sam
A wedge of lettuce, grilled and topped with salad ingredients including sauteed lentils, thick sliced bacon chunks and blue cheese crumbles. The dressing is a home-made ranch with kefir.
5 from 1 vote
Prep Time 15 mins
Cook Time 15 mins
Hydrate lentils 8 hrs
Total Time 8 hrs 30 mins
Course Main Course
Cuisine American
Servings 2 people
Calories 525 kcal

Ingredients
 
 

  • 4 Tbsp lentils
  • ½ cup chicken stock
  • 1 head romaine lettuce
  • 12 cherry tomatoes
  • 2 persian cucumbers
  • 2 Tbsp red onion small diced
  • 3 mini peppers

Dressing

Garnish

  • 3 strips thick cut bacon
  • 2 tsp brown sugar
  • 2 Tbsp blue cheese crumbles

Instructions
 

Hydrate Lentils

  • Wash and soak lentils in chicken stock overnight.
    4 Tbsp lentils, ½ cup chicken stock
  • Drain lentils through a sieve to remove water.

Prepare dressing

  • Combine kefir with ranch dressing powder.
    ½ cup kefir, 1 Tbsp ranch dressing powder
  • Mix well and refrigerate to thicken.

Caramelized Bacon

  • Fry bacon while prepping the rest of the ingredients.
    3 strips thick cut bacon
  • Pour out fat fequently to allow bacon to fry in a dry pan.
  • When bacon is almost done, sprinkle bacon with brown sugar on either side.
    2 tsp brown sugar
    Sprinkle brown sugar to bacon.
  • Fry until crisp. Remove bacon and place on a paper towel.
  • Cut into 1" (2 cm) thick pieces.

Sautee lentils

  • Fry lentils in the bacon pan with a little bacon grease for about 5 minutes until cooked.
    4 Tbsp lentils
  • Cool.

Grill lettuce

  • Cut romaine lettuce in half lengthwise WITHOUT removing the stem. This keeps the leaves intact.
    1 head romaine lettuce
    Cut romaine lengthwise through the stem
  • Wash well and dry with paper towels.
  • Over an open stove flame or BBQ, char lettuce. This should take seconds.
    Use tongs to flip lettuce when charred.
  • Place lettuce on plates, cut side up.

Prepare salad ingredients

  • Cut salad ingredients into small dice pieces.
    12 cherry tomatoes, 2 persian cucumbers, 3 mini peppers, 2 Tbsp red onion
  • Sprinkle salad ingredients over lettuce.
  • Drizzle salad dressing.
  • Garnish with blue cheese crumbles and large bacon pieces.
    2 Tbsp blue cheese crumbles, 3 strips thick cut bacon
    Grilled wedge salad

Nutrition

Serving: 2gCalories: 525kcalCarbohydrates: 48gProtein: 24gFat: 28gSaturated Fat: 10gPolyunsaturated Fat: 4gMonounsaturated Fat: 10gTrans Fat: 0.1gCholesterol: 50mgSodium: 1160mgPotassium: 1603mgFiber: 16gSugar: 18gVitamin A: 29343IUVitamin C: 93mgCalcium: 262mgIron: 6mgNet Carbohydrates: 32g
Keyword grilled wedge salad, wedge salad
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