The Big Mac Salad is inspired by the popular fast-food hamburger. It’s a simple keto ground beef salad to enjoy when you’re in the mood for a cheeseburger.
I’ve seen a lot of recipes for keto Big Mac salad. It’s basically a garden salad topped with a Thousand Island style dressing. And it adds on some diced pickles and shredded cheese.
If you take away the sesame seed bun and dressing, the Big Mac is fairly low carb. I’m not sure how many carbs the dressing adds. But it is a bit sweet so I’m sure there’s sugar in it. Here’s how to recreate a Big Mac into a low-carb salad.
Kitchen Tools Used To Make Salad
Before starting the recipe, you may want to have the following items available:
Big Mac Salad Ingredients
All of the ingredient amounts are in the printable recipe card at the bottom of this post.
There are two parts to this recipe – the salad itself and the salad dressing. The surprising thing is that even with the huge list of ingredients in it, there are only 2 grams of net carbs in each serving of salad! This salad makes 8 servings, so it’s perfect for meal prep.
I used lots of the same ingredients that you might find on your favorite cheeseburger. There are pickles, onions, cheddar cheese, ground beef, and lots of spices.
Then, for the dressing, I made my own version of a low-carb McDonald’s Big Mac sauce. I used a combination of the following low-carb ingredients:
- Tomato Paste
- Sour Cream
- Spices – Sage, Oregano, Basil, Cayenne Pepper
- Sugar Substitute
- Salt and Pepper
Quick Tips For Low-Carb Ground Beef Salad
- Sweetener is optional – I don’t care for sweet dressings so I didn’t add any sweetener to the sauce drizzled on this salad. But, you can add a bit of stevia and or monk fruit extract if you’d like.
- Add cayenne pepper for kick – I added some optional cayenne pepper to the dressing to spice it up a notch. It gives this Big Mac salad a nice kick. I also added some tomatoes for color.
How to Make a Big Mac Salad
If you want, you can scroll through these tips and read the entire recipe in the printable recipe card at the bottom of this post. First, I want to share a few things I learned as I made this salad, and answer some frequently asked questions too.
Other than cooking the beef mixture, the salad comes together quickly. It should take no more than twenty minutes to make the dressing and assemble this low carb hamburger salad.
To start, ground beef is sautéed with onions and garlic in a skillet over medium heat. Then the meat is seasoned with herbs and spices.
While the meat is cooking, I’ll whisk up the dressing ingredients in a bowl. That way, the flavors have a chance to blend before drizzling over the salad.
I also get the salad mixture ready as the meat cooks. It’s just chopped greens and sliced tomato.
When the meat is cooked, it’s sprinkled over the salad. Then I add the toppings on top of the ground beef crumbles. These include pickles, freshly grated cheddar cheese, and red onions.
In the past, I would make my low carb hamburger salad by just placing a grilled burger on top. However, I like how the loose ground meat is spread throughout the dish.
The dressing that tops this Big Mac salad has great flavor. I prefer it over the special sauce that’s used for the original fast food hamburger. However, you can just use a regular Thousand Island dressing or a Russian Dressing if you prefer
I’m not an onion fan. Since the original recipe calls for onions, I decided to add it. I used red onion on top and regular white in the meat mixture. But feel free to leave the onions out as they do add in some carbs.
I top the low carb cheeseburger salad with freshly shredded cheddar cheese. Big Mac uses American cheese which is a processed cheese and I avoid using it. However, you can top the salad off with any cheese you like.
Frequently Asked Questions About Keto Big Mac Salad
Before you get to the recipe further below, read through these common questions and see if it’s one you might have had too.
What is the best kind of sweetener to use in salad dressing?
I prefer to use a liquid in salad dressings because it mixes in better. Liquid Stevia or Monk Fruit Sweetener are both my top choices.
How much salad dressing is in one serving?
My calculations of 2 grams net carbs per serving are based on ¾ cup of salad dressing on a salad that fits on a small salad plate.
How do I store this for meal prep?
Salads are an excellent choice for meal prepping and this recipe is no different. The best way to store it is in a sealed container and storing the dressing separately. The salad will last about 5 days in the refrigerator.
I hope you enjoy this Big Mac in a bowl! It’s a tasty dish to make year-round. But I especially like it for easy cooking over the warmer months.
Other Recipes To Try
Want a few more ideas for low-carb salads? They are so easy to prepare and will keep you feeling full. These are some of my favorites.
- Cobb Salad made with chicken, bacon, and avocado tastes just like the one from your favorite restaurant.
- Taco Salad is a classic and this low-carb version will fulfill those cravings for spicy and salty foods.
- Sunomono Japanese Cucumber salad is light and tangy and a refreshing way to eat fresh cucumbers.
- Mock Low-Carb Potato Salad tastes just like your classic potato salad, but with a lot fewer carbs.
- Keto Broccoli Salad has the added bonus of bacon! Enjoy the creamy dressing on other salad ideas too.
Big Mac Salad
Recipe Video (Click on Image to Play)
- 1 ⅓ pounds ground beef about 600 grams
- ½ small onion chopped (optional)
- 4 cloves garlic finely chopped
- ⅛ teaspoon thyme
- ¼ teaspoon ground oregano
- ¼ teaspoon marjoram
- ⅛ teaspoon chili pepper (optional)
- 12 ounces lettuce greens
- 2 spears dill pickles diced
- 3 small tomatoes sliced (optional)
- ¾ cup cheddar cheese freshly grated
- 1 small red onion sliced (optional)
- Salt & Ground Black Pepper to taste
- 1-2 tablespoons olive oil for sautéing
- Dilute tomato paste in water and add some sweetener (if desired). Add mayonnaise and sour cream. Season with sage, oregano, basil, salt and black pepper. Mix well and set aside.
- In a slightly greased skillet, sauté onions until translucent. Add garlic and sauté for a few minutes without burning. Add lean ground meat then season with thyme, oregano and marjoram. Sprinkle salt and pepper to taste. Add a little chili pepper for some heat. Thoroughly cook beef. Transfer to a platter lined with paper towel. Set aside.
- Cover platter with greens. Layer cooked beef, chopped greens – lettuce, tomatoes, red onion, dill pickles and top with cheddar cheese. Drizzle with dressing. Enjoy!
Array ( [calories] => 273 [carbohydrates] => 2 [protein] => 19 [fat] => 21 [saturated_fat] => 7 [polyunsaturated_fat] => 4 [monounsaturated_fat] => 3 [cholesterol] => 66 [sodium] => 380 [potassium] => 60 [sugar] => 1 [vitamin_a] => 300 [vitamin_c] => 3.3 [calcium] => 100 [iron] => 2 [serving_unit] => g )
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Note on Nutritional Information
Nutritional information for the recipe is provided as a courtesy and is approximate only. We cannot guarantee the accuracy of the nutritional information given for any recipe on this site. Erythritol carbs are not included in carb counts as it has been shown not to impact blood sugar. Net carbs are the total carbs minus fiber.
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Updated on December 9, 2020, with additional recipe tips and clearer images. Originally published on May 5, 2017.