At my house, we have a few meals in rotation that we turn to when we want something satisfying and familiar. Burger salads are one of those no-fail favorites. We almost always have everything in the house to make them, it’s easy to do a kid-friendly version (a.k.a. a burger on a bun), and I can throw some store-bought potato or cauliflower tots in the air fryer for a zero effort side dish.
Customize Your Salad
Burger salads are adaptable — just like you can add lots of different toppings to a hamburger, you can use the same ingredients in your salad. Here are some ideas beyond the basic lettuce, tomatoes, pickles, and onions:
- Crumbled bacon or bacon bits
- Sautéed mushrooms
- Sautéed onions
- Fried eggs
- Sliced avocado
- Tater tots (yup, you can sprinkle them right in the salad!)
You can also switch up the iceberg lettuce base.Try spring mix, romaine, butter or green leaf lettuce, or baby spinach. You can toss in other typical salad veggies if you want to as well, but honestly, I like to keep things simple so that the flavor profile of the salad is most like eating an actual hamburger.
Dressing or Burger Sauce?
And as for the dressing, it’s a burger sauce, of course! It’s made with ketchup, mayo, mustard, and chopped dill pickles, super simple and good. To save some effort, you can sub in a store-bought Thousand Island, Russian dressing, burger sauce, or aïoli if you like. I also make sure to have ketchup and mustard at the table in case anyone wants to drizzle them on.
Of course, if a burger sauce isn’t your favorite dressing, you can go in an entirely different direction with barbecue sauce, or a honey mustard or ranch dressing.
An Easy Weeknight Favorite With Minimal Cooking Required
This is such an easy meal to put together. The only absolutely required cooking is to cook the actual hamburgers, and everything else is just assembly. You could even buy a bagged iceberg salad mix if you wanted to make this a zero chopping recipe.
My method for cooking hamburgers is the same as most people— I sear them in a skillet on the stove. Let them sear for about 3 minutes, flip and cook them for another 3 minutes, and they are done.
Alternatively, you can just cook the ground beef without shaping hamburgers, seasoning and breaking it up with a spatula in the skillet, and top your salads with cooked ground beef. The presentation isn’t as pretty, but it’s even easier than shaping patties! Think taco salad, but burger.
Make It Vegan
This is a very easy recipe to veganize with a few plant-based ingredient subs. To make the recipe vegan, shape the patties from Beyond Beef or Impossible Beef instead of ground beef, sprinkle on vegan cheese shreds instead of cheddar, and stir vegan mayo into the dressing instead of an egg-based mayo.
Season Your Burgers
My favorite burger seasoning is this one by Mike Lang, which has a little bit of kick from cayenne and ground mustard, and an extra savory note from ground cumin. I sprinkle about 1/2 teaspoon on each burger patty. You could use your favorite store-bought seasoning blend instead, or just salt and pepper.
Serving and Planning Ahead
Serve the burger salads with fries or tots, or have them on their own for a lighter meal.
These salads are best eaten right away. If you’d like to prep ahead, you can mix up the dressing up to 5 days ahead, and shape the patties and chop up the salad veggies up to 1 day ahead. Keep everything in the fridge until you’re ready to cook the burgers, then season the patties just before cooking.