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A salad that tastes like a cheeseburger? Sign me up!

Is there anything more American than a big, hearty cheeseburger? Well, yes, the obesity that comes along with eating said cheeseburgers every single day as much as you want to. That’s why I’m skipping the traditional patty ‘n’ bun for something a little healthier, say, a salad?

Cheeseburger salad with homemade creamy dressing

If, like me, you’re constantly craving a hamburger but want to fit into your pants, opt for this healthier hamburger salad instead. It tastes like a burger but doesn’t come with a hefty side order of guilt or muffin top. And, hello, bikini season will be here before you know it.

Cheeseburger salad with homemade creamy dressing recipe

Serves about 6


For the salad

  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1/2 red onion, diced
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • 1 pound lean ground beef or turkey
  • 8 cups kale or chopped lettuce
  • 2 plum tomatoes, chopped
  • 4 slices American cheese, cut into pieces
  • 1 teaspoon paprika
  • 1/2 teaspoon brown sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon onion powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper

For the dressing

  • 1 green onion, diced
  • 1 small shallot, chopped
  • 1/2 tablespoon chopped parsley
  • 1 tablespoon fresh cilantro, chopped
  • 1/4 cup buttermilk
  • 1/2 cup mayonnaise
  • 1 teaspoon minced dill
  • 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder


  1. To make the salad, heat the olive oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Add the onion and cook until softened, about 2 minutes. Add the garlic and cook another minute or so.
  2. Add the ground beef or turkey and break up with a spatula. Cook until no longer pink in the middle, about 8 minutes. Drain the grease and place back on the heat.
  3. In a small bowl, mix the seasonings (the sugar, paprika, garlic powder, onion powder and cayenne pepper). Sprinkle the seasonings on top of the meat and stir to combine.
  4. Arrange the kale on a large platter. Top with ground beef, tomatoes and American cheese.
  5. To make the dressing, whisk the buttermilk, mayo, cilantro, dill, garlic powder, parsley, chopped shallot and green onion.
  6. Pour the dressing over the salad and enjoy.

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