This Big Mac Salad brings all the classic flavors you love but with a healthier twist. Made with nourishing ingredients and completely low-carb and gluten-free, it’s a guilt-free way to satisfy your cravings.
Big Mac Salad Recipe
Craving the classic flavors of a Big Mac from the golden arches but aiming for a healthier dining choice? Look no further than my sensational Big Mac Salad! While my fast-food preferences have evolved, my love for those signature flavors remains steadfast. Packed with wholesome ingredients, this salad satisfies your Mickey D’s cravings while promoting a healthier approach to eating.
Why You Should Make This Salad Recipe
- Nostalgic Flavor: You’ll get all the flavors of the iconic Big Mac sandwich, reimagined in a healthier, fresher form.
- Healthier Ingredients: Transforming the traditional Big Mac into a lighter option, with lean ground beef, fresh vegetables, and a balanced dressing, makes this a satisfying meal but without the guilt.
- Customizable: Whether you want extra pickles, more cheese, or a bolder dressing, you control the ingredients and flavors.
- Nutritious: Loaded with protein from the beef, vitamins, and minerals from the lettuce, and a touch of indulgence from the cheese and dressing, this salad balances taste and nutrition perfectly.
- Quick and Easy: This salad is a time-saving solution for busy days when you’re craving something hearty but don’t want to spend hours in the kitchen.
Ingredients For A Big Mac Salad
- Ground Beef: Any ground beef is fine. Ground turkey or bison would also be good.
- Salt and Pepper
- Garlic Powder: For a quick intensity of flavor, you can’t beat a shake of garlic powder.
- Worcestershire Sauce: Be careful when measuring this – a little goes a long way.
- Lettuce: Chopped lettuce. I use use a mix of iceberg and romaine.
- Cherry Tomatoes: Cut in half.
- Cheese: Shredded cheddar is my go-to.
- Pickles: Feel free to skip these if you don’t care for pickles, but they really add authentic flavor.
- Red Onion: Thinly sliced. You can also omit this if you don’t like onions, but again, it adds to the big mac flavor.
- Sesame Seeds: For garnish.
Ingredients For the Dressing
- Mayonnaise: Use your favorite mayo, but avoid sweet “Miracle Whip” style spreads.
- Ketchup: If you use unsweetened ketchup, you may want to add extra honey.
- Relish: Sweet pickle relish. You could also use finely diced sweet pickles, which are basically the same thing.
- Vinegar: Plain white vinegar is fine, or you could use apple cider vinegar, rice vinegar, etc.
- Honey: Or brown sugar or maple syrup.
- Seasonings: Onion powder, garlic powder, smoked paprika, salt, and pepper.
- Sesame Seeds: For garnish.
Is Thousand Island Dressing the Same as Big Mac Sauce?
While Thousand Island dressing might seem similar to Big Mac sauce, they are not quite the same thing. In this recipe, the dressing closely imitates real Big Mac sauce, giving you an authentic experience. But if you want to make things even faster and easier, feel free to substitute Thousand Island – it will still taste amazing.
What Kind of Lettuce Is Used on a Big Mac?
The lettuce used in a Big Mac is simply iceberg lettuce. However, for this Big Mac Salad, I recommend using iceberg mixed with a heartier, darker salad green like romaine for more color and texture. However, you can use any salad greens that you like.
How to Make a Big Mac Salad
Throwing this salad together couldn’t be any easier. You just cook the beef in a skillet, combine the salad veggies, and stir up the salad dressing. Here’s the scoop, but for the full recipe, scroll down the page to the recipe card.
- Cook the Beef. Brown the ground beef in a large skillet, breaking it up as you go and seasoning it with salt, pepper, garlic powder, and Worcestershire sauce. Take it off of the heat and let it cool down to room temperature.
- Combine the Salad Ingredients. Next, grab a big salad bowl and transfer the chopped lettuce to the bowl; top it with tomatoes, cheese, pickles, and red onions.
- Make the Dressing. In a small bowl, whisk together the dressing ingredients: mayonnaise, ketchup, relish, vinegar, honey, and seasonings.
- Finish the Dish. Add the cooked ground beef to the salad bowl, and drizzle the dressing over everything. Toss the ingredients together until well combined and evenly coated.
- Enjoy! Sprinkle sesame seeds over the salad for garnish, and add additional pickles just before serving, if desired. Then serve it and enjoy.
Tips for Making A Big Mac Salad
By following these tips, you’ll create a Big Mac Salad that not only channels the yumminess of the fast-food-favorite but without the guilt!
- Nail the Dressing: The dressing is the heart of this salad, so make sure to taste and adjust until you find the perfect balance of tangy, sweet, and savory flavors.
- Let the Beef Cool: After cooking the ground beef, you need to let it cool slightly before adding it to the salad. (Difficult, I know!) Adding the hot, cooked meat to the salad right away will wilt the salad greens.
- Sesame Seeds for Authenticity: Don’t forget the sesame seeds! They might not seem important, but they add a nutty, slightly sweet, authentic taste to the classic Big Mac.
- Consider Croutons: This salad is like a big, bunless cheeseburger, but if you want to add a bit of bread, croutons would be perfect! Use store-bought croutons, or toast a buttered sandwich bun for an even more appropriate flavor.
What to Serve with This Salad
The Big Mac Salad is a complete meal on its own, but if you want to complement it, consider adding a simple side dish.
- Fries: Everyone loves fries, and they would be amazing on the side of this big, hearty salad. Try Garlic Fries for even more flavor!
- Baked Potatoes: If you want a more hands-off side dish, a baked potato would work really well – these Instant Pot Baked Potatoes are a family favorite, and you can customize the toppings to be as simple as plain butter and salt, or as “loaded” as you like.
- Asparagus: For something a little less carb-y than potatoes, these Parmesan Panko Asparagus Fries are an ultra-tasty option that still feels crispy, savory, and indulgent.
- Refrigerate: Store any leftover salad in airtight containers in the refrigerator for up to two days. Big Mac salad will store best if you keep the dressing separate and add it just before serving.
- Do Not Freeze The Salad: Like most salads, this won’t freeze well – the lettuce is too delicate for freezing and thawing and will become mushy. However, you can freeze the cooked beef. Cool down the cooked ground beef, place it in a freezer bag, mark it with the date, and freeze for up to three months. Thaw in the fridge before reheating.
More Salad Recipes
More Ground Beef Recipes
Big Mac Salad
For the salad
- 1 pound ground beef
- salt and fresh ground black pepper, to taste
- 1 teaspoon garlic powder
- 1 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
- 8 cups chopped lettuce, use a mix of iceberg and romaine
- 1 cup cherry tomatoes, halved
- 1 cup shredded cheddar cheese
- ½ cup sliced dill pickles
- ½ small red onion, thinly sliced
- 1 tablespoon sesame seeds, for garnish, optional
- Heat a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add the ground beef and season with salt, pepper, garlic powder, and Worcestershire sauce. Cook, breaking it up with a spatula, until browned and cooked through. Remove from heat and set aside to cool to room temperature.
- In a large salad bowl, combine the chopped lettuce, cherry tomatoes, shredded cheddar cheese, pickles, and sliced red onions.
- In a small bowl, whisk together the mayonnaise, ketchup, sweet pickle relish, white vinegar, honey, onion powder, garlic powder, smoked paprika, salt and pepper to make the dressing.
- Add the cooled ground beef to the salad bowl and drizzle the dressing over the top. Gently toss everything together until well combined and evenly coated.
- Sprinkle sesame seeds over the salad for garnish and additional pickles just before serving, if desired.
- Serve immediately and enjoy!
- Making The Dressing: Taste and adjust the dressing until you find the perfect balance of tangy, sweet, and savory flavors for your taste.
- Cool The Beef: After cooking the ground beef, you need to let it cool before adding it to the salad because the hot meat will wilt the salad greens.
- Sesame Seeds: The sesame seeds will add a nutty, authentic taste reminiscent of the classic Big Mac.
- Croutons: This salad is like a bunless cheeseburger, but you can add a sprinkle of croutons if you miss the bread.
- To Store, keep the salad and dressing separate. Store any leftover salad in airtight containers in the refrigerator for up to two days.