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Bacon Cheeseburger Kale Salad

This Bacon Cheeseburger Kale Salad is essentially a deconstructed bacon cheeseburger set over a bed of baby kale and topped with a “secret sauce” dressing. Totally customizable to your own preferences, this is way more fun than the average kale salad!

Overhead close-up view of bacon cheeseburger kale salad including baby kale, ground beef, shredded cheddar, dill pickle rounds, chopped tomatoes, red onion, crumbled bacon, and hamburger bun croutons in a white bowl with recipe title at top

If there’s one thing I can say about myself it’s that I’m really good at balance when it comes to eating. I absolutely love to indulge and will almost never turn down a cookie, piece of cake/pie, or a platter of nachos or mozzarella sticks. I fully believe in treating myself and oftentimes probably go a little bit overboard. BUT! I also genuinely love vegetables and grains and so many healthy foods. I don’t just put kale in my salads because I want to be healthy; I eat it because I think kale is so much more flavorful and delicious than boring old romaine lettuce. I choose kale/baby kale or spinach 100% of the time because I want the extra flavor and the extra nutrition. Win win!

I’m sure some of you will look at this bacon cheeseburger kale salad and think “no thank you!” I’m pretty sure Chris thought I was crazy when I told him what I was making for dinner. But it’s really just a deconstructed cheeseburger put over some healthy greens. And what’s not to love about that?? Add in some some veggies, hamburger bun croutons and “secret sauce” dressing and you have an incredibly satisfying meal. And one that I’m pretty sure I’ll be making over and over again. And yes, by the time we were done with dinner, Chris was wondering why cheeseburger salads aren’t on menus at restaurants everywhere.

BACON CHEESEBURGER KALE SALAD RECIPE

So, is this bacon cheeseburger kale salad healthy? I mean, that’s totally debatable. It depends on what you consider healthy and if you adhere to any specific diets. If you’re on a low-carb or keto diet, you can make this salad without the croutons and with alterations to the dressing. If you don’t eat beef, make the salad with ground turkey instead. If you want a little less fat and sodium, leave off the bacon and cheese and make this just a hamburger salad. If you think the pickles are weird (I mean, they kind of are… But they’re also delicious!), leave them off. If you don’t like kale, well, I guess you can make this with romaine or another green of your choice… But for me, kale adds just the healthy boost I crave!

I knew I wanted to make a cheeseburger into a salad, but I couldn’t bear the thought of totally getting rid of the bread. So, I toasted up some cubed hamburger buns for hamburger bun croutons. Like I said, if you’re trying to eat low-carb, you can leave these out, but I really liked the crunch they gave to the salad.

Overhead view of cubed hamburger buns on baking sheet ready to go in the oven to be toasted into croutons

Then I cooked my ground beef and add some seasoning to it (I stuck with salt, pepper, chili powder, and garlic powder, but feel free to use whatever you like). So simple and easy!

View of skillet with ground beef almost done cooking

And then I put my baby kale in a bowl, along with everything I would typically get on a bacon cheeseburger, including crumbled bacon, tomatoes, red onion, shredded cheddar cheese, and dill pickles. I added in the ground beef and hamburger bun croutons.

Overhead view of salad ingredients arranged in white serving bowl before tossing, including bed of baby kale with sliced red onion, chopped tomatoes, dill pickle rounds, crumbled bacon, shredded cheddar, hamburger bun croutons, and ground beef

And tossed with a dressing that’s basically like the “secret sauce” and/or the condiments that might come on a burger, simply mayonnaise, ketchup, mustard, and a little bit of pickle juice. Of course, if this isn’t up your alley, you can substitute with the dressing of your choice. Just think about what kind of sauce you’d want on a burger and go from there!

Head-on view of white serving bowl of bacon cheeseburger kale salad with gravy boat filled with "secret sauce" dressing being poured over the top

Toss it all together and dig in. And yes, this bacon cheeseburger kale salad is my new favorite salad in the world. And that’s saying a lot because I really, really love Caesar salads (specifically, kale Caesar salads with parmesan crisps). But how could you not love a salad with so much deliciousness involved?

Bird's eye view of two white bowls of bacon cheeseburger kale salad, including baby kale, chopped tomatoes, sliced red onion, dill pickle rounds, shredded cheddar, crumbled bacon, hamburger bun croutons, and ground beef with gravy boat of dressing and fork in the background

And honestly, I feel a little bit healthier after eating this than I do a giant burger. Must be all that kale! And the fact that it’s a lot easier/neater to eat (I’m pretty sure I’m the messiest eater in the world).

But seriously, I love kale to the point where maybe it’s a little weird? The other night, Chris and I were telling our friends all about the wonders of Wawa (in case you don’t know either, Wawa is the BEST gas station convenience store I think mainly along the East Coast, but not in New England) and I said, “you can even order kale on your salad!” And my friends just looked at me like like, “OK? Cool?” Yes, that was my biggest selling point. But Wawa also has milkshake machines and $1 coffee and pretty much anything your heart/stomach desires.

But they don’t have bacon cheeseburger kale salads. At least not yet.

Overhead close-up view of bacon cheeseburger kale salad including baby kale, ground beef, shredded cheddar, dill pickle rounds, chopped tomatoes, red onion, crumbled bacon, and hamburger bun croutons in a white bowl

Though I’m pretty sure that before long, you’re going to start seeing them everywhere. Okayyy, maybe not with kale… Unless I have anything to do with it muhahaha.

Do you balance healthy eating with major indulging?

If you’re looking for more unique salad ideas, check out my Brussels Sprouts Bacon Caesar Salad and my Asian Ginger Miso Salmon Salad. I also can’t wait to try this Thai Chicken Salad from Platings and Pairings.

5 from 5 votes
Overhead close-up view of bacon cheeseburger kale salad including baby kale, ground beef, shredded cheddar, dill pickle rounds, chopped tomatoes, red onion, crumbled bacon, and hamburger bun croutons in a white bowl with recipe title at top
Bacon Cheeseburger Kale Salad
Prep Time
10 mins
Cook Time
20 mins
Total Time
30 mins
 

This Bacon Cheeseburger Kale Salad is essentially a deconstructed bacon cheeseburger set over a bed of baby kale and topped with a "secret sauce" dressing. Totally customizable to your own preferences, this is way more fun than the average kale salad!

Course: Entree, lunch
Cuisine: American
Keyword: Cheeseburger, Kale, salad
Servings: 4 servings
Author: Sues
Ingredients
  • 3/4 lb. 85% lean ground beef
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1/4 tsp pepper
  • 1/4 tsp chili powder
  • 1/4 tsp garlic powder
  • 8 cups baby kale
  • 1 cup cherry tomatoes, halved
  • 1/4 red onion, thinly sliced
  • 4 slices crispy cooked bacon, crumbled
  • 3/4 cup shredded cheddar
  • 1/3 cup dill pickle slices
  • Hamburger Bun Croutons (recipe below)
  • Secret Sauce Salad Dressing (recipe below)
Hamburger Bun Croutons
  • 3 hamburger buns, cut into cubes
  • 2 Tbsp olive oil
  • 1/4 tsp salt
Secret Sauce Salad Dressing
  • 1/3 cup mayonnaise
  • 1/4 cup ketchup
  • 2 Tbsp yellow mustard
  • 2 Tbsp dill pickle juice
Instructions
  1. Add ground beef to a large skillet over medium heat and cook, breaking up with a wooden spoon or spatula, until no longer pink, 7-10 minutes.

  2. Stir salt, pepper, chili powder, and garlic powder into the ground beef. 

  3. Add kale to a large serving bowl. Top with tomatoes, sliced onion, crumbled bacon, shredded cheddar, and dill pickle slices. Using a slotted spoon, remove ground beef from skillet (leaving any extra oil behind) and add to salad. Top with hamburger bun croutons.

  4. Drizzle dressing over the salad, toss, and serve in individual bowls.

Hamburger Bun Croutons
  1. Pre-heat oven to 350 degrees.

  2. In a medium bowl, toss together cubed hamburger buns, olive oil, and salt. Place bread cubes on a baking sheet and bake for 9-11 minutes, until nice and crispy. 

Secret Sauce Salad Dressing
  1. In a medium bowl, whisk together mayonnaise, ketchup, yellow mustard, and dill pickle juice until smooth.

Bacon Cheeseburger Kale Salad -- This Bacon Cheeseburger Kale Salad is essentially a deconstructed bacon cheeseburger set over a bed of baby kale and topped with a

9 Responses to "Bacon Cheeseburger Kale Salad"

  1. Nice! I love the smart choice of greens with the indulgence of those aspects of a burger that make it delicious.

  2. Sharon says:

    What a GENIUS idea! This Salad looks amazing & I cannot wait to try it !! YUMmmm

  3. I LOVE making veggie burger salads, very similar to this! It’s one of my favorite weeknight meals.

  4. Dannii says:

    Cheese burger AND kale?! That is what I call a balanced meal.

  5. ali randall says:

    What a genius idea for a burger bowl. You get the healthy from the kale and the nutrition from the burger and everyone is happy. This is my kind of lunch!

  6. Sharon Chen says:

    Kale never looked this great– it’s in a burger! love this recipe 🙂 so yummy!

  7. Noelle says:

    Salad with a side of burger? Love this idea! eating dishes in a bowl is always better anyways!!

  8. Tawnie Kroll says:

    This is such a fun idea I cannot wait to make!

  9. Bernice Hill says:

    Love this! I like burger anything…burger poutine, burger pizza and now salad!

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