Ginger & Pepper Romaine Stir-Fry

Don’t underestimate your romaine lettuce. Sure, it makes for wonderful caesar salads, but did you realize it enjoys a bit of sizzle? Unlike other lettuces, romaine is quite tolerant of heat. Over the past few months, we’ve been playing with it in stir-fry situations and it’s never let us down. Instead, it’s opened our eyes to how perfectly suited it is to stir-fry and how it gives a pleasant crisp texture if given the chance.

You’re probably wondering if I’ve lost my mind and many of you may find me outright blasphemous. It all started when Joe made dinner one night and used romaine instead of bok choy. In his mind, all leafy greens are the same (he also thinks cucumbers and zucchinis are the same thing). His stir-fried romaine turned out surprisingly good, so we’ve continued to use it and like it quite a bit. No longer is romaine a substitute or fallback when we’re out of bok choy — I purposefully purchase romaine hearts to stir-fry.

Here is how I prepared the romaine most recently and I found this combination to work well together.

Ginger & pepper romaine stir-fry

2 hearts of romaine, cut into 1″ strips
1 pepper sliced into thin strips
1 tablespoon finely chopped ginger
3 tablespoons soy sauce
3 green onions, chopped
1 teaspoon chili oil (or more to your liking)
1 tablespoon oil, preferably peanut

[printer-friendly version]

Bring a wok up to high temperature, then coat with the peanut oil. Add peppers and stir-fry for 1-2 minutes, until they begin to take on some color but remain crisp. Add green onion and ginger, toss to combine.

Add romaine lettuce and toss to combine with other ingredients. Once the romaine begins to slightly wilt down, add the soy sauce and chili oil. Continue to stir-fry, about another 2 minutes until leafs are wilted but stems remain firm.

The end result is a deliciously crisp and refreshing dish that can be served as a side or as a light meal. The lettuce wilts a bit, but the stems remain firm and crisp. The peppers add extra crunch, the ginger a bit of bite and the soy lends a tangy sauce. The chili oil will add a note of warmth but isn’t ‘hot’ at all. I might increase the chili oil a bit more next time.

You can easily substitute pea pods or bean sprouts in place of the peppers. I served it as a side, but with some meat thrown into the mix it would make a nice main course too.

So, my parents came over today and brought me lunch. I felt bad that I hadn’t prepared anything, so I busted out my Nigella breakfast bars. They not only enjoyed them, they asked me for the recipe. Go figure.

I just started adding ‘printer-friendly’ links to my recipe pages — let me know what you think and whether you find it useful.

You might also like these posts:
Asparagus rice salad
Tangy spiced eggplant salad
Purple potato gratin with bacon

Comments on this entry are closed.

  • Geggie February 8, 2008, 10:10 am

    Tasty! I love wilted romaine! I think I’ll add this to my list of “to try” recipes.

  • Lady Rose February 8, 2008, 2:12 pm

    What a great idea — with the cold weather I haven’t really been in the mood for a cold salad, but this sounds great!

  • JennDZ - The Leftover Queen February 8, 2008, 2:30 pm

    Wow, this is the second time this week I have seen cooked romaine! What a great idea!

    Welcome to The Foodie Blogroll!

  • Allen of EOL February 8, 2008, 2:39 pm

    geggie: wilted romaine is yummy, it’s fun to play around with what veggies/sauce you put with it! let me know what combo you come up with.

    lady rose: this will keep you warm, no cold greens here! another wilted greens idea I enjoy is to wilt the greens with a bit of balsamic vinegar (or red wine vinegar), then toss in a handfull of crispy bacon and a bit of sliced fruit (strawberries, orange segments, etc.)

    queen: dang, i thought i was the one startin’ this trend — now that you’ve seen it twice, it’s your turn to make it — *tag*, you’re it! :-)

    Thanks for managing The Foodie BlogRoll!

  • jakester January 10, 2010, 4:34 pm

    Romaine stir fry would never have entered my mind, except it was freezing outside so finding something inside sounded a whole lot better. I knew I had a lot of chopped romaine left from a take out salad. Googled and came up with this recipe. Tweeked a little, didn’t use the ginger, used onion and Montreal steak seasoning. Cooked the onions a few minutes in olive oil, seasoned with seasoning, threw in Romaine. Wasn’t expecting much from wilted lettuce…but that stuff was good! The romaine still had crunch, along with the onion, made for a fast meal using nothing but leftovers, thanks for coming up with another fast, healthy meal.

  • 1BeautyQ! February 4, 2010, 1:31 pm

    I had my first fried romaine salad last week in Arizona’s Marriott Hotel. It was the most memorable salad of the trip. Very tastey,and interesting in texture. It is one that I will use, in variation, now that I have returned home as well, grilled, fried, sauteed, stir-fried! And thank-you for the many suggestions for toppings!

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