Grilled Romaine Salad with Red Walnuts

There’s no debate about it: plant-based foods are essential to a healthy gut.  The entire Mediterranean food system is built around meals that include vegetables as the base to most dishes.

I’ve said this before:

If the eyes are the window to your soul, then the gut microbiome is the window to your health.

If you’re new here, know that right off the bat, my recipes might include a citation for gut health because of a specific ingredient used.  I also suggest that most meals should consist of a 6:1 ratio of plants to protein.  Fear, not diehard protein fans, you’ll be left feeling full longer with less risk in the unfavorable digestive outcome of protein fermentation that can produce potentially toxic metabolites, such as ammonia in the gut.  My effort is to push a plant-heavy diet, combined with the powerful macronutrients of proteins and fats, and foods that are rich polyphenols (organic chemicals that occur naturally in plants) for an optimal balance of bacteria in the gut.


  • 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • 2 heads romaine lettuce, tops and bottoms trimmed, the heads cut lengthwise into quarters
  • 1 avocado
  • ½ red onion 
  • ½ cup grated Parmesan


  • 1 clove garlic, peeled and minced
  • 2 teaspoons Dijon mustard
  • ½ cup extra-virgin olive oil
  • 2 tablespoons cider vinegar
  •  Celtic sea salt and black pepper to taste


If using a grill, heat your grill at this time or get out a grill pan and heat to medium-high.
  2. Meanwhile, make the dressing: Put the minced garlic into a bowl.  Add the mustard, olive oil, and vinegar and whisk.  Season to taste with salt and pepper. Set aside.
  3. Make the salad: Drizzle the olive oil over the quartered heads of lettuce and avocado. Lightly grill these directly over high heat for 15 to 20 seconds on each side, until they are lightly golden, then remove to the cool side of the grill. Brush the prepared dressing over the lettuce. Sprinkle the lettuce with Parmesan and cover the grill for 1 or 2 minutes to allow the cheese to melt and the lettuce to soften further. Remove lettuce to a platter and serve.