This Big Mac Salad has the comfort food flavor you love with extra veggies in each bite! Just like a real burger, you can customize it with any toppings you love.
Whether you need a gluten-free alternative to the popular fast food burger, or you’re just looking for a new salad idea, this cheeseburger salad will quickly become a new favorite.
You can top it with any protein you love, and it makes an easy option for meal prep this week. The dressing will keep well for up to a week in the fridge and also makes a delicious spread for sandwiches.
Healthy Big Mac Sauce Ingredients
The key to this easy salad recipe is the Big Mac sauce drizzled over the top. It’s made with a handful of pantry ingredients, without using refined sugar, oil, or mayo.
If you’ve ever had Thousand Island dressing, it might remind you of that!
Cashews give this sauce creaminess, without using mayonnaise, but if you need a nut-free option you can also swap these for hemp hearts. The combination of yellow mustard, tomato paste, apple cider vinegar, and maple syrup tastes like you used ketchup and sweet pickle relish to make it.
How to Make a Big Mac Salad
To prepare the burger sauce, combine the cashews, water, vinegar, maple syrup, yellow mustard, tomato paste, onion powder, and salt in a high-speed blender.
Secure the lid and blend until the cashews are pulverized about 60 seconds.
Taste the sauce and make any adjustments, as needed. Then pour it into a jar and set it aside until you’re ready to assemble the salad.
This dressing will thicken as it sits, so stir in an extra tablespoon or two of water if you need a runnier consistency later.
To prepare the burger crumble, cook the lean ground beef in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Season with salt and pepper, then use a spoon or spatula to break up the meat and continue stirring until the ground beef is no longer pink. Drain any excess juices from the pan.
For extra fiber (and to stretch your budget!) stir in the cooked lentils when the meat is cooked through. Season with extra salt and garlic powder, and continue cooking until the lentils have mixed in with the meat.
Note: If you have leftover healthy burger patties to use up, you can simply warm one up and crumble it over this salad instead of making crumbled ground beef specifically for this recipe. It’s the perfect way to turn your leftovers into another meal!
Once the beef is cooked (or you have a leftover beef patty to use up) the salad is ready to assemble. Start by adding chopped romaine lettuce to a bowl, then top it with some of the ground beef and lentil mixture.
From there, you can add any other toppings you love. Use chopped Roma tomatoes or sliced grape tomatoes, diced dill pickles, red onion, shredded cheddar cheese, or any other items you have in the fridge. (Add sesame seeds to mimic a sesame seed bun!)
Drizzle generously with the special sauce and toss well. Then the burger salad is ready to eat.
Storage Tips: Store the leftover burger sauce in an airtight container in the fridge for up to a week. It will thicken when chilled, so you may need to stir in a tablespoon of water to thin it out again. Leftover burger crumbles can be stored in a separate airtight container in the fridge for 3 to 4 days.
Frequently Asked Questions
Yes, you can use ground turkey or chicken if you prefer, or simply use cooked lentils if you prefer a vegetarian or vegan option. (Omit the shredded cheese if you need a dairy-free recipe.)
Yes, if you don’t have apple cider vinegar on hand, try using white vinegar or red wine vinegar, instead.
This recipe is not low-carb as written, but you can omit the lentils from the burger crumble and swap the maple syrup in the dressing for your favorite sugar-free sweetener to reduce the carbohydrate count in this recipe.
Big Mac Salad
Big Mac Sauce
Ground Beef Crumble
- 1 pound lean ground beef
- 1 (15 oz.) can cooked lentils , drained and rinsed
- ½ teaspoon onion powder
- 1 teaspoon fine sea salt
- 6 cups chopped romaine lettuce
- 1 cup cherry tomatoes , sliced
- ¼ cup diced pickles
- ¾ cup shredded cheese (optional)
- To prepare the sauce, combine the cashews, water, tomato paste, mustard, vinegar, maple syrup, onion powder, and salt in a high-speed blender. Secure the lid and blend until very smooth. Pour the sauce into an airtight container and set it aside while you prepare the rest of the ingredients. (This sauce will thicken as it sits; feel free to stir in another tablespoon or two of water later to help thin it out again.)
- To prepare the burger crumble, add a drizzle of olive oil to a skillet over medium-high heat. Add the ground beef to the skillet and break it up with a wooden spoon or spatula. Season with ½ teaspoon of salt, and continue breaking up the meat until it's no longer pink, about 8 minutes.
- To the cooked ground beef, add in the drained lentils, onion powder, and remaining ½ teaspoon salt. Stir well, until the lentils are heated through and look like they blend in with the beef crumbles. Remove from the heat and set aside.
- To assemble the salad, start with a bed of chopped romaine lettuce. (Or use iceberg lettuce if you prefer.) Spoon the warm burger crumble over the top, along with sliced tomatoes, diced pickles, and shredded cheddar cheese, if desired. Drizzle the sauce generously over the top, then the salad is ready to eat.
- The components of this salad can be stored separately in airtight containers in the fridge for up to 4 days. The dressing will thicken when chilled, but you can thin it out by adding a tablespoon of water and stirring well.
If you try this Big Mac Salad recipe, please leave a comment and star rating below letting me know how you like it.