This Big Mac bowl is a healthier, and just as delicious, version of the traditional Big Mac! It’s a gluten-free salad recipe that will kick your fast food cravings to the curb.
This big mac in a bowl takes less than 25 minutes to make, and is topped with dill pickles and cheddar cheese! It’s one of the best salad bowls!
Even though traditional Big Macs are tasty, I love this big mac bowl because it’s gluten-free! A sesame seed bun isn’t gluten-free which means I have to stay away from them but this recipe always cures my burger cravings.
Simple salad recipes like this one are perfect for on-the-go lunches. You can prep them ahead of time and store them in the fridge for up to 3 days. This Cucumber salad has been another one of my go-to quick salad recipes!
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Why you’ll love this big mac salad bowl
- It’s a healthier, and still delicious, version of a big mac
- Easily take on the go for a quick lunch
- This recipe calls for basic ingredients you probably have lying around the house
- You can make it your own with extra toppings
- Rice – Basmati rice works best for this salad bowl but you can also use jasmine rice or white rice.
- Burger – I like to use lean ground beef but you can easily swap for ground turkey or ground chicken. Whatever type of meat you use, make sure to drain excess grease.
- Lettuce – Crisp iceberg lettuce takes this recipe to the next level. See variations for more options.
- Pickles – Dill pickle spears give an authentic big mac flavor.
- Cheese – I like using a fiesta blend of cheese but cheddar cheese or American cheese will work as well.
- Sauce – You’ll need mayo, relish, mustard, vinegar, and household spices to make your own big mac dressing.
How to make a big mac bowl
Step 1: Make the rice
Step 2: Cook beef
In a large skillet, brown ground beef and drain the excess grease. Smaller pieces will work better in the salad.
Step 3: Prepare veggies
While your rice and beef are cooking, slice your iceberg lettuce and dice the dill pickles, then set aside.
Step 4: Make the sauce
Combine all of the sauce ingredients into a small bowl and mix until combined.
Step 5: Assemble
Start assembling your rice bowls. Start with rice, then lettuce, then ground beef, cheese, and pickles and top off with your salad dressing.
Pro tip: Feel free to add red onion or more dill pickles if you like tangy foods!
- Bacon – Adding crispy bacon bits is a great way to switch up this recipe. Use store-bought bacon bits or make your own bacon.
- Veggies – Diced carrots, cucumbers, tomatoes, white onion, and/or red onions are more yummy vegetables you can throw on top of the salad.
- Meat – Feel free to swap ground beef for grilled chicken, ground chicken, or ground turkey.
- Mix of greens – For a nutrient-dense salad, use a mix of spinach, iceberg lettuce, or other greens. Do note that iceberg lettuce does have a satisfying crunch.
- Other – Sesame seeds and croutons will add some extra texture and flavor.
Is Big Mac dressing Thousand Island?
Big Mac sauce and Thousand Island dressing are similar, but they’re not the same thing. The main difference is that Thousand Island dressing has tomatoes while Big Mac dressing doesn’t.
Big Mac sauce, sometimes called secret sauce or special sauce, has sweet pickle relish, mayonnaise, garlic powder, onion powder, and sometimes added sugar. Everyone makes secret sauce a little different so feel free to add more/less sweet relish, onion powder, etc.
Can you make it low carb or keto?
Yes you can add extra iceberg lettuce and omit the rice if you’re going for a keto or low-carb salad. If you choose not to add the rice, you’ll still have a delicious salad!
Storing – You can store leftover big mac salad in the fridge for up to 3 days. Use an airtight container to preserve freshness. I would recommend adding sauce before serving so your lettuce does not get soggy.
Freezing – You can prep ground beef and rice ahead of time and then freeze but I would not recommend freezing the salad itself.
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Big Mac Salad Bowl
Big Mac Salad
- 3 cups water
- 1 1/2 cups basamati rice uncooked
- 1 pound lean ground beef
- 1 cup shredded cheese I use fiesta blend
- 1/2 cup iceberg lettuce
- 4 dill pickle spears
- salt to taste
- black pepper to taste
Big Mac Sauce
- 1/2 cup mayonnaise
- 2 tablespoon dill relish
- 1 teaspoon dijon mustard
- 1 teaspoon white vinegar
- 1 teaspoon sugar
- 1/2 teaspoon paprika
- 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
- 1/2 teaspoon onion powder
- Start by soaking and washing your rice 5 times. Until the water is clear. Drain all access water.
- Add the rice and water to a medium sized pot and add bring to a boil on high heat. As soon as it starts boiling, bring the heat to low/simmer, cover with a lid, and let cook for 16-18 minutes, until cooked. Then remove from the stove.
- In a pan, brown your beef, until cooked and season with salt and pepper to taste. This might take about 8-10 minutes. Remove from stove once done.
- While your rice and beef are cooking, slice your iceberg lettuce and dice your pickles, then set aside.
- Then make your Big Mac Burger sauce by mixing all the ingredients in a small bowl.
- Start assembling your rice bowls. Start with rice, then lettuce, then ground beef, cheese and pickles and top off with your sauce.
This post was originally published in 2021 but has since been updated with more helpful information in April 2023.