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Cheeseburger Salad

Cook Time:
10 mins
Prep Time:
15 mins

Chef notes

Whether you’re looking for a unique filling lunch or an all-in-one dinner, this recipe is truly the best of both worlds. It showcases classic cheeseburger flavors and ingredients in the form of a giant, surprisingly light salad.

Typical burger fixings form the salad base. Heaping cups of romaine lettuce give this meal plenty of crunch, while thinly sliced onions and cherry tomatoes add zip and a burst of sweetness. Shredded cheddar is necessary for a cheeseburger salad, though you can certainly leave it out. Ground beef sautéed with onion and garlic powders completes the dish.

It’s all tied together by a dressing that’s inspired by the special sauce found at most fast-casual burger joints. To keep things on the lighter side, the recipe calls for an olive oil-based mayo and Greek yogurt along with usual special sauce ingredients like diced white onions, pickles, smoked paprika and white vinegar. 

Enjoy as is or pack the salad into a wrap as a portable, mess-free meal. You won’t miss the bun at all.

Technique Tip: While making the special sauce-inspired dressing, blend the ingredients for a smoother consistency and transfer to a squeeze bottle for easy drizzling. Use as much or as little as you’d like and save any leftovers to drizzle on top of grain bowls or spread onto sandwiches.

Swap Option: For a lightened-up version, substitute ground chicken or turkey in place of the beef. You can also use a plant-based protein or skip the meat entirely and add beans or tofu nuggets instead.


Special Sauce Dressing
  • 1/2 cup olive oil-based mayonnaise
  • 1/4 cup 2% Greek yogurt
  • 2 tablespoons finely diced white onion
  • 1 tablespoon smoked paprika
  • 2 tablespoons finely diced pickles
  • 1 tablespoon white vinegar
  • 1 tablespoon raw cane or coconut sugar
  • 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • 2 tablespoons water, plus more as needed
  • sea salt, to taste
Ground Beef Mixture
  • avocado oil
  • pounds 90% lean ground beef
  • 2 teaspoons garlic powder
  • 2 teaspoons onion powder
  • 1/8 teaspoon sea salt
  • freshly ground black pepper, to taste
  • 5 cups romaine lettuce, chopped
  • 2 cups cherry tomatoes, quartered
  • 1 medium onion, thinly sliced
  • 1 cup reduced fat shredded cheddar cheese (optional)
  • diced dill pickles, for garnish
  • toasted sesame seeds, for garnish (optional)
Fulfilled by



In a large bowl, whisk together all of the ingredients for the special sauce dressing. Set aside in the refrigerator to chill.


In a large skillet set over on medium-high heat, add avocado oil and ground beef. Use a wooden spoon to break up the beef as it cooks and, if necessary, drain excess liquid from the pan so the meat sears. Add the garlic powder, onion powder, sea salt and freshly ground black pepper and stir to combine. Cook until no visible pink pieces of beef remain, 6 to 8 minutes. Set aside to cool slightly.


In a large bowl, add the salad ingredients and top with the ground beef. Drizzle sauce on top and sprinkle in the cheese (if using) and chopped pickles. Toss to combine. Garnish with toasted sesame seeds. To make a wrap, spread some of the special sauce dressing on a large flour tortilla. Add about 1 cup of salad on the lower third of the wrap, then fold like a burrito, slice in half and serve.