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Deluxe Burger Salad with Special Sauce

Deluxe Burger Salad with Special Sauce

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How do we feed both our families and ourselves when we have dietary restrictions, without making two meals? This is one of the questions I get asked most often, and it's the kind of everyday problem I want to help you fix. Today, I've got one very yummy solution for you. 

So much of making Thyroid-healthy cooking and eating actually doable is taking the things you already love to eat and making slight tweaks. Burger night is a favorite on our family menu. My kiddo loves burgers, my husband loves burgers, who doesn't love burgers?! While they can't imagine skipping their beloved brioche buns, for me, burger night has become Burger Salad night. 

The best part is that the prep is essentially the same, with a few tweaks. 

  • I set aside a few lettuce leaves for their burgers, and fill a dinner plate with lettuce for me. 
  • I slice half of the tomato for them and dice the rest for me, which works perfectly because I can use the ends and they can have the nice big slices from the middle. 
  • I slice avocado for them and dice a bit for me. 
  • I grab a strip of bacon from their burger fixin's, tear it into bits, and sprinkle on my salad. 
  • Obviously, I skip the bun (and don't miss it, or the bloat, or the skin issues, one lick). 
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 This recipe makes enough for about 8 burgers. Even though there are only 3 of us we always make this big batch because the leftovers never go to waste. 

When it comes to burger toppings, we all like to "have it our way." This deluxe version includes all the bells and whistles: bacon, caramelized onion, avocado, tomato, fermented pickles, and of course, the Special Sauce!

If you want to streamline or change it, feel free! Replace the caramelized onions with sauteed mushrooms. Go super-high protein and put a fried egg on top. Skip the pickles and replace them with pickled beets. Go super basic and just do lettuce, tomato, burger, and sauce. Or leave out the nightshades if you need to and skip the tomato (and optional ketchup or bbq sauce in the recipe).

The sky's the limit, and this is especially true with burger salad because there's no risk of overflowing the bun with too many toppings to fit your mouth around! Load it up however you like!

Serve with Crispy Sweet Potato Rounds


Thyroid-healthy Highlights:


Show Notes:


Deluxe Burger Salad with Bacon and Caramelized Onions

Deluxe Burger Salad with Bacon and Caramelized Onions

Yield: 8
Prep time: 30 MinCook time: 30 MinTotal time: 1 Hour
Gluten-free, Dairy-free, Paleo, Low-carb


For the Burgers:
  • 2 pounds grass-fed ground beef
  • 2 tablespoons minced shallot (or sub. 1/4 tsp. onion powder)
  • 1 large clove garlic, minced (or sub. 1/4 tsp. garlic powder)
  • 2 tablespoons paleo ketchup (optional)
  • 2 tablespoons paleo-friendly dijon mustard
  • 2 teaspoons Worcestershire sauce (read the label to make sure it's a gluten-free brand like Lea & Perrins)
  • 1 teaspoon fine sea salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground pepper
For the Salad:
  • 8 ounces bacon
  • 1 large sweet onion, sliced into crescent moons
  • 1/2 teaspoon fine sea salt (or sub. truffle salt)
  • 1 teaspoon balsamic vinegar
  • 2 heads leaf lettuce, washed and torn into bite-sized pieces
  • 1 pint cherry tomatoes, halved
  • 1 ripe avocado, diced
  • 1 cup sliced dill pickles, preferably a fermented brand
For the Special Sauce/Dressing:
  • 1/2 cup paleo-friendly mayo (such as Primal Kitchen)
  • 2 tablespoons paleo-friendly dijon mustard
  • 1 teaspoon additive-free hot sauce, like Frank's
  • 2 tablespoons finely chopped, fermented dill pickles or pickle relish, like Bubbie's
  • 2 tablespoons paleo-friendly barbecue sauce (or sub. paleo ketchup)


  1. Combine all burger ingredients and form them into patties. Set aside.
  2. Wash and chop lettuce, tomato, avocado and pickles and set aside.
  3. Prepare special sauce and set aside.   
  4. Fry bacon in a large skillet until chewy crisp. Chop into bite-sized bits and set aside.
  5. To caramelize the onions: Discard all but 2 tablespoons of the bacon drippings from the bacon skillet. Place over medium-high heat and add sweet onions and balsamic vinegar. Season with sea salt (or truffle salt if you're into that sort of thing) and cook, stirring occasionally, until onions are well-browned, about 8 to 10 minutes. If the bottom of the pan starts getting too dark, you can deglaze the pan by adding a small splash of water to the onions, using your spatula to loosen any brown bits from the skillet. 
  6. Taste caramelized onions and adjust seasoning as desired. Remove from skillet and set aside. 
  7. Return skillet to medium-high heat and add burgers. Cook about 5 minutes on each side or until browned, and somewhat firm to the touch. You'll probably need to do 2 batches. Alternately, you can grill the burger patties if you prefer. 
  8. Plate burger salads starting with a bed of lettuce, then tomato, avocado, pickles, and bacon bits. Top with a burger patty, caramelized onions, and some of the Special Sauce. Enjoy!


Nutrition Facts



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