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This 20-minute Big Mac salad recipe (or simply cheeseburger salad) will convince you to skip the drive-through! This dish captures the satisfying taste of a cheeseburger with all the crisp freshness of a salad. It also gets a classic McDonald’s upgrade with copycat Big Mac sauce — just like the casserole version of this burger.
The inspiration for a hamburger salad came from my childhood memories of rare stops at McDonald’s after gymnastics practice. We seldom ate out when I was growing up (my parents much preferring home cooked meals), so even though I loved my mom’s food, those unexpected stops for fast food were such a treat. Now I try to avoid all those processed ingredients myself, and with this keto Big Mac salad recipe, I can enjoy the same flavors at home, all the time — and so can you!
Why You’ll Love This Big Mac Salad Recipe
- Tastes like a Big Mac in salad form
- Crisp, meaty, and fresh textures
- Sweet, creamy dressing
- Simple, natural ingredients
- Ready in 20 minutes
- Healthy, low carb, keto friendly, and gluten-free
- Easy healthy dinner idea
Let’s be real — the key to this cheeseburger salad is the Big Mac salad dressing! The sauce at the fast food joint is loaded with sugar, but I sweeten mine with Besti powdered instead. It’s just as sweet and has no aftertaste, but has 0 net carbs, 0 calories, and unlike most sweeteners, dissolves easily for a smooth texture. Try it out and see for yourself!
Ingredients & Substitutions
This section explains how to choose the best Big mac salad ingredients, what each one does in the recipe, and substitution options. For measurements, see the recipe card below.
The main ingredients for this salad are very similar to what you’d find in a Big Mac:
- Ground Beef – Use hamburger for classic flavor (I usually use 85/15 lean ground beef), but if you like, you can use ground turkey or ground chicken instead.
- Sea Salt & Black Pepper
- Romaine Lettuce – Chopped iceberg lettuce, arugula, or spinach leaves would also work.
- Tomatoes – I used chopped Roma tomatoes, but you could use cherry tomatoes or grape tomatoes if you prefer. You can also omit them if you want to, as a traditional Big Mac doesn’t have any.
- Cheddar Cheese – The Big Mac sandwich traditionally includes a slice of processed cheese, but we’re using shredded cheddar. You can omit to make the salad dairy-free and paleo-friendly if needed.
- Pickles – Dice up some dill pickles and add them to the salad for a delightful crunch and an extra layer of flavor. You can also add diced or sliced red onions for even more crunch!
- Sesame Seeds – Instead of a sesame seed bun, garnish with sesame seeds for the same flavor!
Big Mac Sauce:
The dressing for this hamburger salad is very similar to my sugar-free Thousand Island dressing:
- Mayonnaise – I used my own homemade avocado oil mayonnaise, but store-bought would work as well (this is my favorite store-bought brand when I don’t have time to make my own).
- Pickles – Use dill pickles and dice finely for the special sauce. You can also use sweet pickle relish instead, but beware that this will have added sugar or corn syrup.
- Mustard – I used classic yellow mustard, but you could use Dijon instead, or even keto honey mustard if you like extra sweetness.
- Vinegar – Adds tang to the dressing. I used white vinegar, but apple cider vinegar, white wine vinegar, or rice vinegar can all work instead.
- Smoked Paprika – Adds a subtle smokiness to the dressing, and is responsible for its signature color. Regular sweet paprika would also work.
- Besti Powdered Monk Fruit Allulose Blend – I used this instead of ketchup to add natural sweetness to the dressing, as it dissolves better than other sugar substitutes. You could also use zero sugar honey or sugar free ketchup. Regular powdered sugar works from a recipe standpoint, but I can’t recommend it because the whole point of this Big Mac salad is to make it healthier!
How To Make Big Mac Salad
This section shows how to make cheeseburger salad, with step-by-step photos and details about the technique, to help you visualize it. For full instructions, including amounts and temperatures, see the recipe card below.
- Brown the meat. Add the ground beef to a large skillet. Break apart with a spatula and season with salt and pepper. Cook until no longer pink.
- Blend the Big Mac salad dressing. Combine the mayo, pickles, mustard, vinegar, smoked paprika, and powdered Besti in a blender. Puree until smooth. Adjust sweetener to taste. Refrigerate until ready to use.
TIP: Need thinner sauce?
If the dressing is thicker than you like, you can thin it out with water or oil and puree again.
- Plate the cheeseburger salad. Add lettuce, tomatoes, shredded cheese, and pickles to a salad bowl.
- Add the beef and dressing. Top with ground beef crumbles, then drizzle with dressing and toss to coat.
- Garnish. Sprinkle with sesame seeds if desired.
- Store: Keep leftover Big Mac Salad in an airtight container in the fridge for 2-3 days, with the dressing stored in a separate container. If you already added the dressing, it will only be good for 1 day.
- Meal prep: Chop the pickles, tomatoes, and lettuce, precook the ground beef, and make the sauce. Store in separate containers in the refrigerator for up to 3-4 days. Assemble just before eating.
More Meal-Worthy Salad Recipes
In many ways, this low carb Big Mac salad reminds me of my popular taco salad. It’s another transformation of a carb-heavy classic into a lighter healthy salad that’s still packed with flavor and hearty enough to be a meal on its own. If that’s your thing, you’ll like these other salads that serve up dinner with minimal cooking:Disclaimer: Big Mac may be a registered trademark. This recipe is my interpretation of a similar dish, but is not to be construed as an endorsement of the company or having been endorsed by the company. There is no affiliation between myself and the company. Trademark remains the property of its owner and is used here only to describe the product.
Big Mac Salad Recipe
Big Mac Salad (Cheeseburger Salad)
This Big Mac salad recipe (cheeseburger salad) makes an easy, healthy, low carb lunch or dinner in just 20 minutes, with simple ingredients.
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Tap on the times in the instructions below to start a kitchen timer while you cook.
Meanwhile, puree all the dressing ingredients in a blender. If dressing is thicker than you like, thin out with water or oil and puree again. Adjust sweetener to taste. Refrigerate until ready to serve.
In a large bowl, combine the lettuce, tomatoes, shredded cheese, and pickles.
Add the ground beef. Drizzle the dressing over the salad. Toss to coat.
Garnish with sesame seeds if desired.
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Serving size: 1 1/2 cups
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