big mac salad featured image
This low-carb, gluten-free Big Mac Salad is the best bite of a burger served without the bun! It is so quick and easy to make a McDonald's meal that tastes like the original, but is healthier.
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Table of Contents
  1. Best Big Mac Salad: Low-Carb Burger In A Bowl
  2. Why We Love This Big Mac Salad Recipe
  3. Ingredients / Shopping List
  4. Substitutions and Additions
  5. Recommended Tools
  6. How to Make Big Mac Salad (Cheeseburger Salad)
  7. Tips
  8. Storage Tips
  9. Frequently Asked Questions
  10. Other Easy Salad Recipes
  11. Big Mac Salad Recipe

This quick and easy-to-make Big Mac Salad contains all of your favorite flavors from McDonald’s Big Mac burger and serves it as a salad in a bowl.

Loaded with ground beef, lettuce, cheese, tomatoes, onions, pickles, and drizzled with dressing, this gluten-free, low-carb recipe is ready in 20 minutes and is a healthier way to enjoy the guilty pleasure of fast food at home without the guilt!

big mac salad hero image

Best Big Mac Salad: Low-Carb Burger In A Bowl

Skip the drive-thru because this homemade Big Mac Salad recipe is made with fresh ingredients, it’s always best to know what’s in your meal; it’s simply a classic combination of browned ground beef, crisp lettuce, juicy tomatoes, shredded cheese, subtly sweet red onion, and salty dill pickles, all finished with a creamy Thousand Island dressing.

This Cheeseburger Salad tastes just like a Big Mac without the bun and is even more satisfying as it’s fast-food counterpart–my favorite way to eat a bunless burger in a bowl!

This protein-packed low-carb meal will keep you feeling full for hours and can fit perfectly into a keto diet plan. But making a low-carb version of this McDonald’s burger involves more than just removing the bread and side of fries.

Sauces and dressings are sneaky sources of carbs and contain high amounts of sugar. While I love the creamy, tangy taste of Thousand Island dressing as a salad topper in this recipe, you can easily make your own copycat Big Mac sauce with a simple mixture of mustard, garlic, paprika, and sweet pickle relish.

Looking for more easy-to-make low-carb recipes? My Cauliflower Mac and Cheese, Cauliflower Fried Rice, Easy Mozzarella Chicken, Egg Bites, and Zucchini Noodles are delicious dishes!

More Low Carb Dinner Recipes

Why We Love This Big Mac Salad Recipe

  • Quick and easy to make without the worry about forming burger patties.
  • Only uses 6 real ingredients plus dressing.
  • Packed with protein to fill you up.
  • All of your favorite Big Mac flavors with fewer carbs and calories (and it’s gluten-free).
  • Easy to customize with your preferred toppings and add-ins.
  • Homemade, healthier version of a fast food meal.
  • Perfect for lunch or dinner when you crave the drive thru counterpart.
eating big mac salad with a fork

Ingredients / Shopping List

  • 1½ pounds very lean ground beef
  • 6 cups chopped iceberg lettuce
  • 1½ cups shredded Colby jack cheese (you can also use shredded cheddar cheese)
  • 1 cup diced Roma tomatoes
  • 1 cup sliced red onion
  • ½ cup diced dill pickles
  • Thousand Island dressing
healthy big mac salad

Substitutions and Additions

  • More Meat Options: Ground turkey breast, ground chicken, or another beef alternative would be a great swap for the ground beef. Or, if you have leftover grilled burgers from another meal, you can chop them up and use them in your salad.
  • Types of Tomato: While I love Roma tomatoes, any type of tomato you have will work perfectly in this salad. Feel free to try sliced grape tomatoes, cherry tomatoes, or vine-ripened tomatoes.
  • Leafy Lettuce: You can change out the iceberg lettuce for a darker leafy green, which has more vitamins and minerals than standard iceberg. Some darker leafy greens include romaine, red leaf or green leaf, butter lettuce, or even spinach. A combination of lettuce types works too.
  • Tasty Toppings: Customize your salad with your favorite toppings like jalapenos, avocados, sour cream, or roasted veggies. You can even add toasted sesame seeds for the same flavor of the sesame seed buns.
big mac ingredients
  • Extra-large serving bowl
  • Measuring tools
  • Serving spoons

SEE FULL PRINTABLE RECIPE CARD BELOW

How to Make Big Mac Salad (Cheeseburger Salad)

It is so easy to replicate the taste of a Big Mac, but serving it as a burger without-the-bun salad. This quick and simple recipe is packed with protein and fresh ingredients.

  1. Add your chopped lettuce to the bottom of your serving bowl.
  2. Sprinkle cooked ground beef over the lettuce.
    Pro Tip: To brown the ground beef, cook it over medium-high heat and then drain it before adding it to the salad.
  3. Top the meat with shredded cheese, diced tomatoes, sliced onion, and diced pickles.
    layering step by step
  4. Toss to combine.
    toss all ingredients to combine
  5. Drizzle your dressing over the top of the salad.
    Pro Tip: You can add as much or as little salad dressing as you like.
    salad with dressing
  6. Serve and enjoy!

Tips

  • You can batch cook the ground beef ahead of time and store it in the fridge or freezer to make this recipe even quicker to assemble. Brown the ground beef over medium-high heat, drain, and let it cool before storing it in a Ziploc bag.
  • Feel free to serve the basic salad as a “build your own bowl.” Place the toppings in separate bowls so that everyone can adjust the amount of each topping they’d like to add to their salad.
  • For a portable meal, make your salad in a mason jar and take it on the go!

Storage Tips

  • To Store: Store any leftovers in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 2 days.
big mac salad in a bowl

Frequently Asked Questions

Can I freeze my Big Mac Salad?

No, you can’t freeze this salad! You CAN, however, prepare the meat, vegetables, and the dressing ahead of time.

Can I make this salad in advance?

You can absolutely make this salad ahead of time, but don’t assemble it until you are ready to eat it. Simply cook the ground beef, dice the lettuce, tomatoes, and other toppings, and leave off the dressing. Then when you are ready to serve the salad, warm up the meat and put the salad together–perfect for meal prepping.

Can I make my own Big Mac sauce instead of using Thousand Island dressing?

Yes, you can make your own creamy sauce with a simple combination of mayonnaise, ketchup, pickle juice, mustard, vinegar, paprika, and onion powder. Or for a lower-carb sauce, try a mixture of mustard, garlic, paprika, and sweet pickle relish.

big mac salad in a bowl with wooden stick

Other Easy Salad Recipes

5 from 18 votes
big mac salad featured image

Big Mac Salad

Serves — 8
This low-carb, gluten-free Big Mac Salad is the best bite of a burger served without the bun! It is so quick and easy to make a McDonald's meal that tastes like the original, but is healthier.
Prep Time 10 mins
Cook Time 10 mins
Total Time 20 mins

Ingredients
  

  • pounds very lean ground beef browned and drained
  • 6 cups chopped iceberg lettuce
  • cups shredded Colby jack cheese
  • 1 cup diced Roma tomatoes
  • 1 cup sliced red onion
  • ½ cup diced dill pickles
  • Thousand Island dressing

Instructions
 

  • Add the chopped lettuce to an extra-large serving bowl.
  • Sprinkle the cooked ground beef over the lettuce.
  • Sprinkle the shredded cheese, diced tomatoes, sliced onion, and diced dill pickles over the ground beef. Toss to combine.
  • Drizzle as much or as little dressing as you like over the top of the salad. Serve immediately.

Jenn’s Notes

Storage:
Store any leftovers in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 2 days.
Tips:
  • You can batch cook the ground beef ahead of time and store it in the fridge or freezer to make this recipe even quicker to assemble. Brown the ground beef over medium-high heat, drain, and let it cool before storing it in a Ziploc bag.
  • Feel free to serve the basic salad as a “build your own bowl.” Place the toppings in separate bowls so that everyone can adjust the amount of each topping they’d like to add to their salad.
  • For a portable meal, make your salad in a mason jar and take it on the go!

Nutrition Info

Calories: 323kcal | Carbohydrates: 5g | Protein: 21g | Fat: 24g | Saturated Fat: 11g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 1g | Monounsaturated Fat: 9g | Trans Fat: 1g | Cholesterol: 83mg | Sodium: 274mg | Potassium: 434mg | Fiber: 1g | Sugar: 3g | Vitamin A: 746IU | Vitamin C: 7mg | Calcium: 189mg | Iron: 2mg
Jennifer Fishkind

About Jenn

Jenn is a mom to three beautiful boys, wife to an amazing husband, social influencer and blogger. I love all things easy recipes, easy crafts, all things hacks, traveling EVERYWHERE and feeding my Pinterest addiction!

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