Cart Smarts: Throw your salad on the grill

Little gem lettuce

We ordered a new variety of lettuce at the store this week — gem lettuce, which is a cross between butter and romaine.

These hearts are slightly sweet, with tender outer leaves and a crunchy core. The shape is similar to romaine lettuce, but much smaller.

As with other lettuces, the color is a good indicator of nutritional value. The darker green, outer leaves contain more vitamin A and vitamin K than the pale inner leaves. One serving is a head of gem lettuce, which is only 15 calories.

When we were discussing ways to entice customers to try this new product, we agreed that a salad wouldn't be exciting enough. Instead, we decided grilled lettuce would be fun and different.

I have read several recipes for grilled salads in the past but this was the first time I actually tried it. My eyes lit up at the first bite. I loved the caramelized, smoky flavor from the grill. The leaves were tender in the center and slightly charred on the edges. I really enjoyed this warm salad alternative.


For those of you who are bored with your typical salad routine, I highly recommend you try grilling your lettuce.


Grilled gem lettuce

1 package (6 count) Green Giant Fresh Little Gem Lettuce Hearts

2 tablespoons olive oil

1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar

Salt and pepper, to taste

Parmesan cheese, shredded


Heat gas or charcoal grill to medium-high heat. Cut each head of lettuce in half lengthwise. Drizzle cut side with olive oil, balsamic vinegar, salt and pepper. Place lettuce, cut side down, on grill. Cook 1 to 2 minutes or until slightly brown and grill marks show. Sprinkle with parmesan cheese before serving.

Recipe makes 6 servings.

Recipe adapted from

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