Smoky, sweet, tangy, salty, who says salad can't have it all? This Charred Fall Romaine Salad packs all of the flavors of autumn into the ultimate crispy bite.
It doesn't take much to take a humble salad and turn it into an occasion, like Roasted Beet and Kale Salad. Using seasonal ingredients and a combination of textures and flavors, this easy and delicious salad is elegant enough to be a main course.
Charred Fall Romaine Salad is all about texture. Smoky bacon, salty creamy feta, and the crunch of pepitas make this a dish worth celebrating.
- Romaine - This mild yet hearty lettuce takes on a smoky flavor when charred and holds up well to grilling.
- Olive Oil - Olive oil is used both for the vinaigrette of this salad, and also to brush the romaine before grilling.
- Brown Sugar - Helps the apples caramelize and creates a sweet sauce that is balanced by the tang of the apple cider vinegar for an agrodolce.
- Apple - Use your favorite variety. You will want one that holds its shape once caramelizes such as a honey crisp, pink lady, or golden delicious.
- Bacon - Bacon really does make everything better, including this autumn salad. Smoky, salty, crispy, and always delicious it will have you going back for a second bite.
- Pecans - These add buttery flavor and that irresistible crunch factor.
- Apple Cider Vinegar - Bright, tangy, and acidic but with a slightly sweeter profile than other types of vinegar. Used in both the vinaigrette and also to deglaze the pan.
- Feta - Creamy, salty, and a little funky, feta adds texture while balancing the sweet elements in this salad.
- Pepitas - Salty and crunchy, nothing says fall like pumpkin seeds.
- Maple Syrup - Maple syrup adds a little sweetness to the vinaigrette dressing that balances the acidic vinegar while echoing the sweetness of the apples.
- Salt and Pepper
How to Make Charred Fall Romaine Salad
There is nothing complicated about making this colorful and vibrant salad. With just a few simple steps you will be serving this all fall long.
Time needed: 30 minutes.
Smoky charred romaine is combined with a tangy light vinaigrette and crispy, sweey and savory topping.
- Bacon Makes Everything Better
Heat a sauté pan over medium heat. Add your bacon. Allow it to cook until the fat has rendered, and the bacon is crispy. Remove the bacon from the pan and allow it to drain on a paper towel lined plate reserving the bacon fat in the pan.
Add the apples and brown sugar to the pan with the bacon fat. Cook the apples until they are caramelized and softened, but still have their shape and texture, about five minutes.
Add the bacon back into the pan along with the pecans. Deglaze with apple cider vinegar, scraping up all of the little brown bits called fond.
Cut the head of romaine lettuce in half. Brush the cut side with olive oil and sprinkle with salt. Grill your romaine on either a grill pan or grill until slightly charred, flipping occasionally, approximately 2-3 minutes. Transfer to a platter.
Add all of the ingredients for your vinaigrette to a jar. Shake to combine.
- Finishing Touch
Split the apple and bacon mixture between the two romaine halves. Top with pepitas and crumbled feta cheese. Serve the dressing on the side and enjoy!
- Pears - You can replace the apples in this recipe for pears. Pick one that is ripe, but firm to the touch so it keeps its shape when cooked.
- Honey - No maple syrup? No problem. Honey can be used in the vinaigrette as well.
- Sunflower Seeds - For a slightly different salty crunch, you can replace the pepitas in this recipe with sunflower seeds.
- Goat Cheese - Goat cheese and apples are a classic pairing. Feel free to substitute the feta in this recipe for tangy and creamy goat cheese.
- Vegetarian - While bacon really does make everything better, this salad can easily be made vegetarian by leaving the bacon out. Simply add a drizzle of olive oil into the pan before caramelizing your apples.
- Dairy Free - This salad can be made Dairy Free by either leaving the feta off the salad or replacing it with Dairy Free feta.
The grilled romaine lettuce in this Charred Fall Romaine Salad can be grilled inside on a grill pan, or outside on your gas or charcoal grill. In addition, you can also get a similar charred effect by broiling the romaine for a couple of minutes in the oven.
Top Tip for Charred Fall Romaine Salad
To help achieve those perfect pretty grill marks, always make sure your grill pan or grill is fully heated. If you are using a grill, clean and lightly oil your grates. Also make sure that your lettuce is thoroughly dry.
Charred Fall Romaine Salad
- 1 sauté pan
- 1 grill pan or grill
Charred Romaine Salad
- 1 head of romaine lettuce,
- 2 tbsp olive oil
- pinch of salt
- 1 apple, diced
- ¼ cup brown sugar
- 3-4 strips of bacon, sliced
- handful of pecans
- 2 tbsp apple cider vinegar
- 2 tbsp feta cheese, crumbled
- 1 tbsp pepitas
- ¼ cup olive oil
- 2 tbsp apple cider vinegar
- 1 tbsp maple syrup
- salt and pepper to taste
Charred Romaine Salad
- Heat a sauté pan over medium heat. Add the bacon and cook until the fat is rendered, and it is crispy.
- Remove the bacon from the pan and allow it to drain on a paper towel lined plate, reserving the bacon fat in the pan.
- Add the apple and brown sugar into the pan and allow it to cook until the apples are caramelized and tender, about 5 minutes.
- Add the bacon back into the pan along with the pecans. Pour in the vinegar to deglaze the pan. Remove from the heat.
- Heat a grill pan or grill. Drizzle the romaine with olive oil and a sprinkle of salt.
- Grill the romaine halves until they are lightly charred. You can also put them under the broiler for a minute or two.
- Add the charred romaine to a platter.
- Divide the apple and bacon mixture between the two romaine halves.
- Top with the pepitas and feta. Serve the maple vinaigrette on the side.
- Add all of the ingredients for the vinaigrette to a jar. Shake until fully combined.