Grilled romaine with buffalo tofu and creamy tahini ranch dressing will be an instant hit with vegetarians and omnivores alike. This next-level salad is simple to prepare and will become a regular in your summer rotation. Moving week has arrived, friends! As I’m sitting here writing this post, I’m exactly 48 hours away from picking up and loading the moving truck and making the 19+ hour drive to Colorado. And as of now, about 10% of my apartment is actually packed, so if anyone in the Birmingham area wants to come load boxes with me, I will pay you in grilled romaine salads.
Until then, I’ll probably keep going strong on this procrastination streak until I can’t possibly put it off any longer. Queen of efficiency over here. This salad combines the irresistible crunch of a wedge salad (but infused with deep, smoky accents) with zippy buffalo sauce and a cool, creamy sauce to tie it all together. I’ve never met a grilled salad I didn’t like, but this one goes down as one of my all-time favs.
Skeptical about grilled greens? Try it and you’ll be a convert. A quick char adds smoky depth and a glossy finish to crisp romaine hearts.
Simply slice the romaine hearts in half lengthwise, keeping the core intact on both halves, brush the cut side with oil, and place each piece cut-side down on an outdoor grill (avoiding direct flames) or indoor grill pan. The key is to get a nice char while still keeping the inside tender and crunchy, so play it fast and hot. If you or someone you’re cooking for is new to tofu, this is an excellent gateway recipe. Spicy buffalo sauce coats blank-canvas tofu like a dream, and gives more of wing eating experience than an alt-meat eating experience, if that makes sense. Just trust me on this one.
And as far as the tahini ranch, this is the condiment version of those fresh white sneakers you’ve been wearing with everything all summer. Not only is it a fabulous contender for salads, but it goes with sandwiches, chips, and a fresh tray of crudité, too.
I’m a loyalist to Soom tahini—its flavor is rich and luxurious and texture resembles a loose nut butter (enter code dishingouthealth for 10% off your online order!). But if you’re looking for a quick pick-up at the grocery store, Whole Foods 365 brand also makes a great one. This recipe serves four, but could be transformed into lettuce wraps for tailgating parties to serve more. Any excuse to eat more Buffalo-flavored food is a touchdown.
- ¼ cup tahini (such as Soom)
- 3 Tbsp. neutral vegetable oil (such canola or grapeseed), divided
- 1 Tbsp. fresh lemon juice
- 2 tsp. fresh chopped dill
- 2 tsp. fresh chopped chives
- 1 tsp. sweetener of choice (granulated sugar, maple syrup, etc.)
- ½ tsp. kosher salt, divided
- ¼ tsp. freshly ground black pepper
- ¼ tsp. garlic powder
- 3 to 4 Tbsp. warm water
- 4 hearts of romaine, each halved lengthwise
- 1 (14-oz.) pkg. extra-firm tofu, drained and pressed dry, and cut into small cubes
- ¼ cup Franks RedHot Original or Buffalo Sauce
- 2 Tbsp. grass-fed or vegan butter, melted
- 1 garlic clove, minced
- Optional toppings: crumbled soft cheese, sliced red onion, additional fresh chopped chives
- Combine tahini, 1 Tbsp. of the oil, lemon juice, dill, chives, sugar, ¼ tsp. of the salt, black pepper, and garlic powder; whisk well. Gradually whisk in water in 1 Tbsp. increments until desired texture is achieved. Set aside.
- Preheat a grill or grill pan over medium-high. Lightly coat with cooking spray. Brush cut-side of romaine hearts evenly with 1 Tbsp. oil; sprinkle with remaining ¼ tsp. salt. Working in batches, place romaine hearts, cut-side down, on grill or pan. Cook until char marks appear, about 3 minutes. Use a set of tongs to transfer romaine to a plate.
- Combine Frank's sauce, butter, and garlic in a bowl; whisk well. Set aside.
- Heat remaining 1 Tbsp. oil in a large skillet over medium-high. Add tofu; cook 6 to 7 minutes, stirring occasionally, until golden brown. Reduce heat to medium, and add buffalo sauce mixture, stirring constantly to fully coat tofu. Cook 2 additional minutes, until most sauce is absorbed. Remove from heat.
- Place two romaine hearts on each of four plates. Divide tofu evenly over each serving. Drizzle tahini-ranch overtop. Garnish with crumbled soft cheese, red onions, or additional chopped chives, if desired.