Cheeseburger Salad with Special Sauce Dressing

Everything you love about cheeseburgers thrown into a bowl! This cheeseburger salad is loaded with favorites like cheddar cheese, dill pickles & juicy tomatoes all tossed in a healthier special sauce dressing!

A close up photo of a cheeseburger salad drizzled with special sauce dressing

I never know what to call this dish. Cheeseburger salad, hamburger bowl, cheeseburger bowl, big mac salad…deliciousness in a bowl…😉 Whatever you feel like calling it – it’s so good and so simple!

It’s loaded with all your essential cheeseburger ingredients like cheddar cheese, dill pickles, juicy tomatoes and onion all topped over crisp fresh lettuce and drizzled with the best homemade special sauce dressing!

Ingredients used to make a cheese burger salad with special sauce dressing

Ingredients You’ll Need For The Salad

Ground beef: We prefer using 90/10 ground beef for ours. (It’s leaner but still has great flavor!)

Lettuce: Use a sturdy lettuce like romaine or green leaf for the best results.

Tomatoes: Any type of tomato work for this recipe! (I personally love using cherry tomatoes or tomatoes on-the-vine. They have such good flavor!)

Cheese: Cheddar cheese is a must! (We like using extra sharp cheddar but mild or medium cheddar cheese works too!) You can dice it or use shredded cheese if you prefer.

Dill pickles: An essential ingredient to make this taste like a cheeseburger! Top your salad with whole pickle chips or chop them up!

Onion: We prefer red onion because it doesn’t have a harsh onion flavor like white or yellow onions. You can leave the slices whole or cut them smaller to give it more of a “chopped salad” feel.

Healthier homemade thousand island dressing in a white bowl with cracked pepper on top surrounded by cherry tomatoes and a bowl od sweet pickle relish

Healthier Special Sauce Dressing

Any In-N-Out lovers out there?! I think we can all agree the reason In-N-Out burgers taste so good is because of their special sauce. Which (spoiler alert) is pretty similar to thousand island dressing.😉 So of course we had to incorporate it into our salad too! This dressing uses a combo of Greek yogurt and mayo for the base so it’s lightened up yet still tastes like In-N-Out’s special burger sauce. Here’s what you’ll need:

  • Plain greek yogurt
  • Mayonnaise
  • Ketchup
  • Sweet pickle relish
  • Yellow mustard
  • Milk (any type)
  • Apple cider vinegar
  • Salt
A white cutting board with chopped green leaf lettuce, sliced tomatoes, chopped pickles, red onion and cheddar on it sitting next to a large kitchen knife a and a bowl full of chopped lettuce
A large skillet filled with seasoned ground beef

How To Make A Cheeseburger Salad

1. Make the special sauce dressing. Mix your dressing ingredients together then keep it stored in the refrigerator until you’re ready to serve.

2. Cook the ground beef. Season your beef with salt and black pepper and sauté it over medium-high heat until it’s cooked through (about 4-5 minutes). (Sometimes we’ll add a splash of Worcestershire sauce at the end to give it extra flavor.) Transfer the beef to a bowl lined with a paper towel once done and let it cool completely.

3. Prepare the rest of your ingredients. While the beef cools, cut your lettuce, tomatoes, red onion, and pickles. Then dice or grate your cheese.

4. Toss & serve! Add the lettuce to a bowl and top it with your ground beef, tomatoes, onion, pickles and cheese then drizzle your desired amount of dressing over the top. Toss until the salad is fully coated and serve!

Want the ultimate burger experience? Serve this salad with a side of your favorite fries or sweet potato wedges!

A bowl filled with a cheeseburger salad surrounded by sweet potato fries, special sauce dressing and a small bowl of ketchup

Variations

Switch up the cheese! Almost any type of cheese works here – white cheddar, colby jack, pepperjack, etc.

Add bacon! Everything’s better with bacon, right?!😉

Add diced avocado! Perfect for extra creaminess!

Make hamburger patties instead! Turn this into a “fork and knife salad” and make small patties with your ground beef. (Or use leftover hamburger patties if you grilled this weekend!)

A large serving bowl filled with cheeseburger salad ingredients tossed in a healthier special sauce dressing sitting next to a plate of sweet potato fries

Why you’ll love this cheeseburger salad recipe!

  • A flavorful yet balanced meal! This salad is loaded with veggies, protein & healthy fats!
  • A great way to use up leftovers! Don’t throw away your leftovers from burger night – turn them into a tasty salad the next day instead!
  • An easy lunch for work! These burger bowls are easy to assemble & leave you feeling nourished & satisfied! They’re perfect for a healthy desk lunch!

[Made one of my recipes? Make sure to tag my Instagram @kalefornia_kravings & leave a review in the comments. I love seeing what you create!]

A close up photo of a cheeseburger salad drizzled with special sauce dressing
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5 from 1 vote

Cheeseburger Salad with Special Sauce Dressing

Everything you love about cheeseburgers thrown into a bowl! This cheeseburger salad is loaded with favorites like cheddar cheese, dill pickles & juicy tomatoes all tossed in a healthier special sauce dressing! It's an easy dinner you're going to love!
Prep Time20 minutes
Total Time20 minutes
Course: Salad
Cuisine: American
Keyword: big mac salad, burger bowl, burger salad, cheeseburger bowl, cheeseburger salad, salad recipes, special sauce dressing
Servings: 2 servings
Author: Caitlin

Ingredients

For the salad:

  • 1 lb. ground beef
  • Salt, to taste
  • Black pepper, to taste
  • 4 cups lettuce, chopped (romaine or green leaf)
  • 1 cup grape tomatoes, sliced
  • ½ of a red onion, sliced
  • ½ cup dill pickle chips, chopped or left whole
  • cup cheddar cheese, diced or grated

For the special sauce dressing:

  • ¼ cup plain greek yogurt
  • ¼ cup mayonnaise
  • 3 Tbsp sweet pickle relish
  • 2 Tbsp ketchup
  • 1 tsp yellow mustard
  • 2 tsp apple cider vinegar
  • 1-2 Tbsp milk (optional – used to thin out the dressing)
  • Salt, to taste

Instructions

  • Make the dressing. Mix the greek yogurt, mayonnaise, ketchup, pickle relish, mustard and apple cider vinegar together in a bowl. Then season it with salt to taste. (Add 1-2 tablespoons of milk if you want a thinner consistency.)
    Place your dressing in the refrigerator while you prepare the rest of your ingredients.
  • Cook the beef. Heat a splash of oil in a skillet over medium-high heat.
    Once hot, add your ground beef to the pan and season with garlic salt and black pepper. Cook for 4-5 minutes or until the beef is cooked through. (Sometimes we'll add a splash of Worcestershire sauce right before it's done.)
    Transfer the beef to a bowl lined with a paper towel and let it cool.
  • Assemble the the salad. Add your lettuce to a bowl then layer your ground beef, tomatoes, onion, pickles and cheese on top. Drizzle with your desired amount of dressing and toss until the salad is fully coated.
  • Serve and enjoy!

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2 Comments

  1. Jackie Nordeman

    So good! Fresh and tasty! All the burger goodness and didn’t miss the bun!

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