Grilled Greek Salad

Grilled Greek Salad

In the summer, you can’t go wrong with a fresh Greek salad. So, today, we’re happy to share a delicious twist on it: a Greek salad on the grill. Here, Julia Sherman (author of the beautiful cookbook Salad for President ) shows us how it’s done…

Greek Salad on the Grill
From Julia Sherman’s Salad for President

This salad proves that rules are meant to be broken. I have always considered the classic Greek salad to be the platonic ideal. I balk at fancy upgrades since the cheap red wine vinegar, kalamata olives and romaine are fundamental to the dish. Hell, I even prefer stuffed grape leaves from a can to those from the deli counter. Then one day I had a few grape leaves left over in the fridge, and I tossed them on the grill to warm them up. The oil-marinated leaves crisped, the rice steamed and softened inside and I had somehow managed to improve upon my favorite snack. With the rules out the window, I tossed all the veggies on the grill (save the cucumbers and tomatoes), and it worked. It’s not a replacement for the fresh Greek salad, but with the old-school Greek diners becoming a thing of the past, this is a fun variation to make at home.

Greek Salad on the Grill
Serves 4

You’ll need:

4 hearts of romaine, bottoms trimmed, cut in half lengthwise
1 small red onion, cut into rounds 1/4-inch thick
Extra-virgin olive oil
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
1 tsp dried oregano
One 6 oz slab feta cheese, 1-inch thick
1/4 cup Kalamata olives
8 to 10 canned or fresh vegetarian stuffed grape leaves (dolmas)
1 medium ripe heirloom tomato, cored and cut into 1-inch chunks
2 to 3 small Kirby or Persian cucumbers, cut into 1-inch pieces
4 or 5 oil-packed anchovy fillets (optional, but highly recommended)
Pepperoncini (optional)
Red wine vinegar
Sea salt
Breadsticks or Melba toast (optional)

Prepare a charcoal fire, heating until the coals turn white.

While the coals are heating, brush the romaine and onion rounds with oil and season with kosher salt, pepper and the oregano. Place the feta and the olives on a rectangular piece of aluminum foil and fold the edges upward to create a shallow boat. Drizzle them with oil. (Tossing the cheese on the grill is optional, but it’s a nice way to warm it up before serving. Feta sticks to the grill, so be sure to use foil if you decide to do this step.)

Spray the grill grate with cooking oil or brush with vegetable oil.

Place the stuffed grape leaves, romaine, onion and feta/olive packet on the grill and cook until the vegetables have a nice light char on all sides, about 4 to 5 minutes. The feta should be warm throughout. Remove from the grill with tongs.

On a large platter, make a bed of the grilled romaine (keeping the halves intact) and top with the tomato, cucumbers, grilled onion, olives and stuffed grape leaves. Cut the feta into one-inch cubes and toss them on top. Drizzle the whole mess generously with oil and season very lightly with sea salt (the olives, feta and anchovies add lots of salt already) and black pepper to taste.

Top with the anchovies and pepperoncini, if using. Serve with red wine vinegar and oil on the side, plus breadsticks or Melba toast if you want to make a nod to the salad’s roots.

Thank you so much, Julia! Your new cookbook is a work of art.

P.S. More recipes, including a peach and tomato panzanella and a corn salad.

(Reprinted from Salad for President: A Cookbook Inspired by Artists. Copyright 2017 by Julia Sherman. Photo by Julia Sherman. Published by Abrams. Thanks to Stella Blackmon for editing this series.)

  1. Yummy. I should try this recipe out

  2. I try to make my salads look pretty like that when I have company over, usually on the weekend. I will definitely try out this recipe, perfect for the summer!

    (Otherwise, if it’s a weeknight and I’m exhausted from work, all the veggies get thrown into a giant bowl and well, definitely not Instagram worthy…)


  3. Looks like a good recipe for a nice light lunch. I like to add wild rice or dressed up cous cous to Greek Salads too, if I want something that will keep me full for longer :)

    – Lubna

  4. Wow, looks amazing

  5. Yum, this looks delicious! Another reason I need to get a real grill… :)

  6. Zoe says...

    A restaurant I’ve been frequenting a little too much recently puts FRIED CAPERS on their Greek salad and it is the most delicious, crunchiest twist.

  7. brianna says...

    Julia, I sneaked a peek at your cookbook on Amazon – it’s a beauty!

  8. Lily says...

    Great idea! I want to try this weekend.

  9. Liz says...

    as a greek girl, i beeegggg you, please don’t get canned dolmades! they’re so much better made properly. canned ones are always crazy salty/vinegary.

  10. Sasha says...

    Thank you for this! Yum!! I can’t wait to try.

    We’ve been making grilled romaine hearts for years. They are so good! We usually serve with a homemade vegetarian caesar (olive oil, boiled egg, lemon juice, mustard, garlic…all in blender). One of our favorite salads.

  11. 100% YES.

  12. Thank you for the shout out! Love your blog, thrilled to be included.

  13. Looks delicious! Anchovies are always a pleasant surprise in salads and add great flavor.


  14. Lauren E. says...

    I ate a restaurant in Virginia Beach once that made a caesar salad with romaine on the grill and it was seriously one of the most delicious things I have ever eaten. I am a total convert. This looks right up my alley!

  15. Anna says...

    looks SO good. warm cheese makes everything better.

  16. Escondista says...

    Yummy! Anchovies on salads are the best!