Charred Romaine Salad with Tahini Dressing

Fun fact!
Charred Romaine Salad // The Pancake Princess
Today is World Vegetarian Day! Apparently, today also marks the beginning of Vegetarian Awareness Month (which ends with World Vegan Day on November 1), which I only now know thanks to Zoe’s Kitchen. The Zoe’s folks recently invited me and a guest to sample a glorious spread of their vegetarian offerings in celebration of this lovely holiday. Y’ALL. Their spinach roll ups (imagine a spinach-stuffed quesadilla minus most of the cheese and a taquito had a baby). Their veggie kabobs. Their hummus plate. I don’t even get excited about kabobs normally. But ugh. So good. They have my heart where healthy fast-casual food is concerned.

Charred Romaine Salad // The Pancake Princess So it’s been awhile. Life has been life. I love how my friend Claire put it in this post: “There’s no one particular thing, person, event, or reason I can point to to explain my overall feeling of sublime contentedness, but I’m totally ok with it. Things just feel good right now.” Life has been busy but good and fun for the most part–some great news came my way about a week ago about some job stuff (while I was, ironically, in Orlando at a job conference. Though after receiving the news, my awesome friend and I decided that Harry Potter world would be a better use of our time, which was A GREAT DECISION)–and my food freelancing has been picking up, which I am super excited about! There have also been some way-below-mediocre days which my classmate and I decided we can attribute to Mercury’s current retrograde. But overall, life seems to be following the path that was laid out in a reading of my Turkish coffee grounds that my classmate’s sister did last spring–and that is a pretty darn peachy path. How are things with you? Are you also feeling this 2015 sweet spot?

Charred Romaine Salad // The Pancake PrincessBefore we get too far into the throes of fall-y comfort food, I have one last salad for all you fellow lovers of summer. This grilled romaine salad is another recipe adapted from that disastrous double date night with one of my most culinarily-talented friends. Some sliced romaine, a screaming hot pan, and just enough time on each side to get some charred edges plus a drizzle of thick tahini dressing and this is a salad I made three times in a week during the last days of summer. I liked the salty pop that anchovies added, but in the spirit of World Vegetarian Day, feel free to leave them off 😉Charred Romaine Salad // The Pancake Princess

Charred Romaine Salad

Serving Size: 2


  • Dressing:
  • 1 tablespoon tahini
  • ½ teaspoon freshly grated ginger
  • ½ teaspoon sesame oil
  • ½ teaspoon rice vinegar (apple cider or any other vinegar will also work)
  • ¼ teaspoon soy sauce
  • 1/8 teaspoon garlic powder (or 1/4 teaspoon fresh grated garlic)

  • For the salad:
  • 1 head romaine lettuce
  • 1 teaspoon sesame seeds
  • sliced avocado, carrot, tomato, or cucumber (optional)
  • anchovies (optional)


Combine all dressing ingredients and whisk together. Thin with about 1 tablespoon of water, or until you reach desired consistency.

Remove outer leaves from romaine head until you reach the cluster of romaine heart (reserve the outer leaves for leftover dressing). Slice the head in half.

Set a heavy-bottomed skillet over high heat. Once hot, place the lettuce flat-side down in the pan and let cook without disturbing for 1-2 minutes, or until lightly charred. (You can add a bit of oil with a high smoke point--like avocado oil--to the pan before adding the lettuce, but I found it wasn't necessary.) Flip and repeat until the underside is also charred.

Immediately drizzle with dressing, garnish with sesame seeds, additional vegetables and anchovies, if using, and serve!

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16 thoughts on “Charred Romaine Salad with Tahini Dressing

  1. Pingback: Friday Finds: 10.02.15 – Sukar W Zanjabeel Blog

  2. laurasmess

    I’m still one of those people who have never tried charred romaine (or ‘Cos’, as it’s called here in Australia. WHY do they call vegetables different things in different countries?!). This looks absolutely delicious, particularly as it continues to indulge one of my present obsessions. Tahini dressing. Yes.

    I’m loving that we’re just heading into summer as you guys are exiting the warm season. That means I have a whole archive of light, summery recipes to delve into over the next few months (starting with this deliciousness! Yesssssss!). P.S PUHLEEEZE COME TO AUSTRALIA. We have beach. And summer. And enough healthy tahini drizzled, acai infused, fried egg endowed deliciousness to last you for the next few months (and, well, obvi… I’m here. I’ve had enough of this long distance business ;P)

  3. Nora (A Clean Bake)

    So glad to hear everything is coming up Erika lately! You deserve it! Also was the HP world just amazing?! I hate to admit it but I want to go way too much for a person my age 😐

    PS: Not to overlook this fantastic salad, because CHARRED ROMAINE. So underrated, if you ask me. Have you ever tried it quickly braised?

  4. jaime / the briny

    erika, i’m so glad you shared a recipe for pan-charred romaine! once upon a time i remember hearing about the virtues of “grilled romaine” and, determined to recreate the dish with the tools at my disposal, i stuck half a head of romaine in a skillet on the stove and waited. the noncommittal medium heat turned the romaine into a watery, wilted mess and i wondered whytf anyone would ever want to eat hot lettuce, anyway.

    but you’ve renewed my hope and i can’t wait to try this out.

    oh, and i’m totally feeling that 2015 sweet spot. i had such a shitty run of weeks there in summer and suddenly everything is magical. like you, i’m not even exactly sure the whats or whys of it, but i’ll take it. :) xo

  5. Ala

    hahaha giiiirl, it’s good to hear from you! I really miss reading all of your stories and amazing mishaps/adventures (and I mean that in the best way). Congrats on excellent job news and even more excellent life decisions (AHEM Harry Potter worlllllld!), and getting even more coverage for your awesome and beautiful blog! Oh, and happy world vegetarian day – yay for more excuses to celebrate us being us!


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