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Grilled Summer Salad

Image of grilled summer salad

Summertime and the grilling is easy … easy as choosing your favorite seasonal fruits and vegetables and placing them on a hot bar-b.

Corn and kabob veggies are old favorites on the grill. Still, the plant-based movement has expanded the repertoire to include everything from salad greens to buttery avocados to juicy watermelon (and tofu and tempeh too).

Summer salads are usually cold and crisp, but here’s a salad recipe that takes seasonal vegetables to the grill, adding heat, smoke, and charred flavors to the proverbial meal starter. This salad is substantial enough to fill in as the main course.

Structurally firm romaine lettuce hearts are topped with slices of succulent portobello mushrooms, seasonal corn kernels straight from the cob, sweet baby heirloom tomatoes, a drizzle of creamy balsamic dressing, and a sprinkle of plant-based parmesan and chopped fresh basil leaves.

This recipe proves that everything is more delicious when grilled. Salad never tasted so good.

Grilled Summer Salad

Image of salad ingredients

Ingredients
4 organic romaine hearts
4 organic corn cobs
4 portobello mushrooms
1 container baby heirloom tomatoes

Vinaigrette for basting:
½ cup balsamic vinegar
½ cup olive oil
Pinch of salt
Pinch of black pepper

Creamy Balsamic Dressing:
¾ cup plant-based mayo
2 ½ tablespoons balsamic vinegar
1/2 teaspoon Dijon mustard
½ teaspoon garlic salt
1 teaspoon maple syrup
¼ teaspoon dried basil
¼ teaspoon dried oregano
Salt & pepper to taste

Pine Nut Parmesan:
1 package pine nuts (3 ounces)
1 ½ tablespoons nutritional yeast
½ teaspoon garlic salt
1 teaspoon lemon zest

Chopped fresh basil leaves for garnish
Fresh ground black pepper for finishing

Directions
To make the CREAMY BALSAMIC DRESSING, whisk all the ingredients together. Adjust seasoning and set aside.

Image of balsamic dressing mixed

To make the PINE NUT PARMESAN, in a processor, pulse all the ingredients until the mixture resembles the texture of crumbly parmesan cheese.

Image of pine nut and parmesean

To make the VINAIGRETTE for basting, whisk the ingredients together and set aside.

Image of viniagrette

Note, you’ll want to prepare the salad ingredients for the grill so they can cook simultaneously, even though you’ll be removing them at different times.

For the CORN, brush the cobs with the vinaigrette. Place the cobs on the grill and cook for 12-15 minutes, turning every few minutes until the cob is partially charred. Remove from grill and let cool. Stand each cob upright in the center of a bundt pan and slice downward to remove the kernels.

Image of corn and kebabs on the grill

For the PORTOBELLO MUSHROOMS, remove the stems and gills and brush with the vinaigrette.

Image of portobello mushroom

Grill gill side up for 3 to 4 minutes until deep brown in color, and then repeat on the other side. Remove from the grill and let rest at least 5 minutes before slicing.

Image of grilling mushrooms
For the ROMAINE HEARTS, trim off any wilted tips and the brownish part of the root end. Brush the vinaigrette over the hearts. Grill until grill marks show, turning every 2 minutes until completely done. Remove from grill.

For the BABY HEIRLOOM TOMATOES, place the tomatoes on a metal or water-soaked wooden skewer and brush with the vinaigrette. Grill for about 3 to 5 minutes, occasionally turning until the tomatoes are blistered and slightly charred.

Image of grilled vegetables

To ASSEMBLE and SERVE the salad, slice the grilled romaine hearts down the center. Top with sliced, grilled Portobello mushrooms, corn kernels, baby heirloom tomatoes, and chopped fresh basil leaves. Drizzle with the creamy balsamic dressing. Sprinkle with pine nut parmesan and fresh ground black pepper.

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