The ultimate Burger Salad with Special Sauce Dressing! Made with mustard flavored ground beef, all your favorite burger toppings, and then topped with a delicious homemade special sauce!

Burger salad filled with lettuce, ground beef, tomatoes, pickles, onions, avocado, cheese, and topped with special sauce. Behind it is a jar of special sauce and a plate of more toppings.

Day 2 of burger week and I am so so excited for this recipe!!! If you follow me on Instagram, you know I love a good burger salad. Salads are my jam and what better way to enjoy them than using a burger for your inspiration for all the ingredients?!

If you are thinking, why would I ever want to eat a burger salad, I promise this one will change your mind.

This burger salad steals the show and is probably my favorite recipe I am sharing this whole week. I know that is a bold statement, but let me break it down as to why this recipe is so dang delicious.

Paleo burger bowl with lettuce, tomatoes, pickles, onions, jalapeños, avocado, and ground beef. Behind it is a pan of ground beef and a jar of special sauce.

Why this burger salad is so dang good!

First – we have ground beef cooked with onions and flavored with mustard (In-N-Out anyone?!). If you have had In-N-Out, there is a secret menu where you can get your burger mustard grilled. Basically they cook one side of the burger, squirt the top with mustard, and then cook the other side to infuse the flavors. So good!

Second – pickles, cheese, avocado, jalapeños, and all your other favorite burger toppings. I don’t do boring salads over here and the key is adding all your favorite toppings. Whatever you love on your burgers, add into these burger bowls!

Third (and most importantly) – the special sauce dressing. I go into more detail on it below, but it is freaking amazing. Maybe one of my favorite sauces to date and that is saying a lot! You’ll want to dip everything in it!

Cheeseburger salad with lettuce, tomatoes, pickles, onions, jalapeños, avocado, and ground beef. Behind it is a pan of ground beef and a jar of special sauce.

So, as you can see, this cheeseburger salad topped with all the best burger toppings is my new jam. It’s also packed with veggies, protein, and healthy fats and makes a great balanced meal.

And if you don’t have a grill, you don’t need one! I found that ground beef works best as you can get some in every bite. Not to mention, you can make them all year long for a burger fix.

If you are paleo or doing a Whole30, just leave off the cheese to make them compliant. I love serving them with some air fryer French fries or grilled sweet potato fries for the ultimate burger experience. If you serve them as is, they are a great low carb recipe.

Burger salad with lettuce, tomato, onion. pickles, avocado, shredded cheese, jalapeños, and special sauce dressing. Behind it is a pan of ground beef and a plate of more toppings.

Burger Salad Recipe (Paleo/Whole30 friendly)

These burger bowls are packed with all your favorite toppings for the ultimate salad experience. No boring salads over here. What I love most about this recipe is it’s totally customizable for what you like on your burgers! The recipe list looks long, but this salad is super easy to make.

Here is what you need:

  • ground beef – I love Butcher Box grass fed beef
  • onion
  • dijon mustard
  • lettuce
  • tomato
  • avocado
  • red onions
  • pickles
  • jalapeños
  • cheese (optional – leave off for paleo or Whole30)
  • homemade special sauce
  • salt and pepper
  • avocado oil

White counter filled with a bowl of lettuce, bowl of shredded cheese, plate of pickles and onions, jar of special sauce, plate of jalapeños and avocado, and a bowl of chopped tomatoes.

First start off by prepping all your ingredients for your salad – cut up the lettuce, tomatoes, avocado, onion, jalapeños, and whatever other toppings you want to use.

Next, make the burger meat. Heat up a large pan and let it get hot. Add the oil and cook the onions until browned, about 4-5 minutes. Add the beef, sauté for a few minutes, and then stir in the dijon mustard and salt and pepper. Cook until cooked through and no more pink remains.

Pan of sautéed ground beef.

While your ground beef is cooking, make the homemade special sauce (more on that below). Finally, after the meat is done, all you have to do is assemble your salads! Divide the ingredients up and enjoy!!

These cheeseburger salads would also be great for meal prep! Prep all your ingredients in advance (cut up the veggies, make the burger meat, and make the special sauce), and then just store in separate containers in the fridge.

All you have to do is just assemble the night before (keep the dressing in a small container on the side) or day of when you are ready to eat!

Special Sauce Dressing

Okay, by now you guy should know I love a good sauce! And you can’t have a burger without some kind of sauce in my opinion.

If you have been to In-N-Out, P. Terry’s (our household favorite), or maybe even McDonald’s, you should have an idea what special sauce is.

If not, it’s that red-orange colored sauce that they put on burgers and is absolutely amazing!! It’s like a ketchup and mayo hybrid and it’s just magical. So of course I had to recreate a healthy version of it and, as it turns out, it is so easy to make!

Here is what you need:

  • mayo – homemade or store bought
  • tomato paste
  • pickles
  • pickle juice (from your pickles)
  • lemon juice
  • dijon mustard
  • paprika
  • garlic powder
  • salt and pepper

Glass jar filled with mayo, tomato paste, spices, mustard, and chopped pickles.

It’s as simple as mixing it all up and spreading it on everything!! Literally, you will want to dip everything into it.

The list looks long, but they are mostly pantry staples with the addition of pickles. It’s easy to make and made from good-for-you ingredients – paleo and Whole30 approved too!

I found that using homemade mayo makes it a little more runnier, and hence is better for a dressing. But you could totally use store bought and make it easier on yourself.

Highly encourage you to double or triple the batch and keep it on hand all week!

More Paleo/Whole30 Salads

Chicken Cabbage Salad

Paleo Buffalo Ranch Chicken Salad

Peach and Pistachio Salad with Grilled Chicken

Whole30 Breakfast Salad with Poached Eggs

More Burger Recipes

Jalapeño Ranch Turkey Burgers

Harissa Salmon Burgers

Classic Burger Sliders on Sweet Potato Buns

Sun Dried Tomato Chicken Burgers with Basil Avocado Aioli

Overhead view of a cheeseburger salad with lettuce, tomato, ground beef, onions, pickles, jalapeños, avocado, and cheese all topped with special sauce. It is surrounded by a jar of special sauce, a plate of more toppings, and few shreds of cheese next to the bowl.

Burger salad filled with lettuce, ground beef, tomatoes, pickles, onions, avocado, cheese, and topped with special sauce. Behind it is a jar of special sauce and a plate of more toppings.
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5 from 20 votes

Burger Salad with Special Sauce Dressing

The ultimate Burger Salad with Special Sauce Dressing! Made with mustard flavored ground beef, all your favorite burger toppings, and then topped with a delicious homemade special sauce!
Course Main Course
Cuisine American
Keyword Burger Bowl, Burger Salad, Cheeseburger Salad
Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 15 minutes
Servings 4
Calories 539kcal
Author Kelly

Ingredients

Burger Salad

  • 8 cups chopped romaine (2 heads/470 grams)
  • 2 cups cherry tomatoes, halved (300 grams)
  • 1/2 cup pickle chips
  • 1/2 cup sliced red onion (65 gram)
  • 1 jalapeno, sliced
  • 1 large avocado, sliced (150 grams)
  • 1/2 cup packed shredded cheese (2 ounces) (leave off if paleo/Whole30)
  • 1/2 tablespoon avocado oil
  • 1 pound ground beef (I used 85/15)
  • 1 cup diced yellow onoin (120 grams)
  • 1 tablespoon dijon mustard
  • salt and pepper, to taste
  • any other additional toppings you like

Special Sauce Dressing

  • 1/4 cup homemade mayo*
  • 1 tablespoon tomato paste
  • 1 teaspoon dijon mustard
  • 3 tablespoons chopped pickle chips
  • 1 teaspoon pickle juice (from the pickle jar)
  • 1/2 teaspoon lemon juice
  • 1/4 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon paprika
  • salt and pepper, to taste

Instructions

  • Prep all your salad ingriedients - chop the lettuce, tomatoes, onoins, avocado, jalapeño, and whatever other toppings you want to use and shred the cheese (if using)
  • Make the beef. Heat a large skillet over medium-low heat. Once hot, add oil and let it get hot, about 30 seconds. Add onions and salt and pepper and sauté for 4-5 minutes until soft and golden brown. Add ground beef and break it up with the back of a large spoon. Cook for about 7 minutes, adding mustard halfway through and stirring occasionally. Add salt and pepper to taste.
  • While the beef cooks, make the special sauce dressing. Add the mayo, tomato paste, mustard, pickles, pickle juice, garlic powder, and paprika to a glass jar and stir to combine. Season with salt and pepper.
  • Once beef is done, assemble the salads. Divide the lettuce, tomato, onions, pickles, avocado, jalapenos, cheese, and ground beef between 4 large bowls. Top with dressing and enjoy!

Notes

Leave off cheese for paleo and Whole30
*I find that homemade mayo tastes a lot better in this recipe and makes it more "dressing like". You can sure store bought, but I suggest homemade. I follow this recipe and just leave out the cayenne and chipotle paste

Nutrition

Nutrition Facts
Burger Salad with Special Sauce Dressing
Amount Per Serving (1 burger salad)
Calories 539 Calories from Fat 369
% Daily Value*
Fat 41g63%
Saturated Fat 13g81%
Polyunsaturated Fat 1g
Monounsaturated Fat 5g
Potassium 1050mg30%
Carbohydrates 17g6%
Fiber 7g29%
Sugar 6g7%
Protein 28g56%
Vitamin A 12150IU243%
Vitamin C 22.3mg27%
Calcium 390mg39%
Iron 4.1mg23%
* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2000 calorie diet.
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