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Big Mac-Inspired Salad Recipe

salad with beef and pickles
salad with beef and pickles - Erin Johnson/Mashed

The Big Mac, a McDonald's classic that has been around for decades, may be one of America's most famous fast foods. So well known is it that many of us can recite the recipe from the heart: "Two all beef patties, special sauce, lettuce, cheese, pickles, onions on a sesame seed bun." Still, there's no food so sacrosanct that you can't do a little playing around with it, which is why recipe developer Erin Johnson decided to transform it from a sandwich into something else entirely. "This salad," she tells us, "hits all the flavors of a traditional Big Mac but in salad form."

While Johnson says "I like to make one big salad," she notes that "you can also make them individually to accommodate for different topping preferences." This means that if you want to cut down on carbs, you can omit the hamburger bun croutons. You can also go light or heavy on the Big Mac "special sauce" dressing, onions, and pickles as you please or even change up the cheese.

Read more: The Healthiest Fast Food Chains In The U.S.

Gather The Ingredients For This Big Mac-Inspired Salad

ingredients for salad with hamburger
ingredients for salad with hamburger - Erin Johnson/Mashed

To make this salad, you're going to need ground beef, plus oil, salt, pepper, and onion powder to cook it with. You'll also need hamburger buns, butter, seasoned salt, and sesame seeds to make croutons; lettuce for the salad; and cheddar, pickles, and onions to top it with. As for the "special sauce," Johnson's take on it includes mayonnaise, relish, mustard, paprika, garlic powder, vinegar, and milk.

Step 1: Preheat The Oven

oven temperature gage
oven temperature gage - Erin Johnson/Mashed

Preheat the oven to 350 F.

Step 2: Butter And Season The Croutons

hamburger bun chunks and seasonings
hamburger bun chunks and seasonings - Erin Johnson/Mashed

In a bowl, toss together the cubed buns, butter, seasoned salt, and sesame seeds.

Step 3: Bake The Croutons

croutons in pan
croutons in pan - Erin Johnson/Mashed

Pour the bread onto a parchment lined baking sheet, then bake for 7 minutes or until golden brown. Set aside.

Step 4: Mix The Salad Dressing

salad dressing ingredients.
salad dressing ingredients. - Erin Johnson/Mashed

Mix together the mayonnaise, sweet relish, mustard, paprika, garlic powder, ¼ teaspoon onion powder, vinegar, and milk. Set aside.

Step 5: Oil The Pan And Season The Beef

raw ground beef in pan
raw ground beef in pan - Erin Johnson/Mashed

Add a bit of vegetable oil and the beef to a large skillet over medium heat. Season to taste with salt, pepper, and ½ teaspoon onion powder.

Step 6: Brown The Ground Beef

cooked ground beef in pan
cooked ground beef in pan - Erin Johnson/Mashed

Cook the beef until browned, about 8 minutes.

Step 7: Top The Lettuce With The Browned Ground Beef

lettuce with cooked ground beef
lettuce with cooked ground beef - Erin Johnson/Mashed

Spread the lettuce on a large platter and cover with the beef.

Step 8: Add The Salad Toppings

lettuce beef cheese pickles onions
lettuce beef cheese pickles onions - Erin Johnson/Mashed

Add the cheese, pickles, and onions.

Step 9: Dress The Salad

hand putting dressing on salad
hand putting dressing on salad - Erin Johnson/Mashed

Spoon over the mayonnaise "special sauce" dressing.

Step 10: Finish Off With The Croutons

salad with hamburger bun croutons
salad with hamburger bun croutons - Erin Johnson/Mashed

Top with the sesame seed bun croutons and serve immediately.

Can You Make This Big Mac-Inspired Salad In Advance?

salad with beef and pickles
salad with beef and pickles - Erin Johnson/Mashed

If you like to get a lot of the prep work out of the way before you make dinner, Johnson does say that certain components of the salad can be prepared in advance. "You can make the croutons, dressing, and cook the beef and store them in the fridge," she advises. When you're ready to eat, simply "Reheat the beef in the microwave and then assemble the salads." She feels that the premade croutons, dressing, and beef should be okay in the refrigerator for up to 3 days before you use them.

If you don't think you'll be able to eat the entire salad in a single sitting, though, you might want to cut down on the amount of ingredients used in order to make a smaller salad. As Johnson informs us, "Once assembled, the salads are best eaten immediately," so the dish really doesn't make good leftovers.

How Can I Switch Up This Big Mac-Inspired Salad?

salad with beef and pickles
salad with beef and pickles - Erin Johnson/Mashed

"I use all of the traditional Big Mac toppings," Johnson explains, though she allows, "You can add or omit items based on your personal preference." In fact, she herself makes one significant tweak to the standard recipe by opting for cheddar cheese in place of the American cheese used by McDonald's on its signature sandwich. You can use American cheese, too, if you're a traditionalist, or go with something like pepper jack or Swiss if you'd rather "have it your way" (as per the slogan of a certain other burger chain). Johnson also suggests that a plant-based meat substitute could be used in place of beef, while ground turkey could be another meat alternative.

Johnson notes, as well, that you might need to change up the sauce a bit. "The exact amount of milk you need to add to the dressing," she says, "may depend on how much liquid your relish has." The 2 tablespoons she's listed here are a starting point, but she notes that more may be needed depending on how thin you want your dressing to be. If you prefer your dressing to be a bit tangier, though, you could always increase the amount of vinegar instead.

Big Mac-Inspired Salad Recipe

salad with beef and pickles
salad with beef and pickles - Erin Johnson/Mashed

Prep Time: 10mCook Time: 15mYield: 4 ServingsIngredients

  • 3 hamburger buns, cubed

  • 2 tablespoons butter, melted

  • ½ teaspoon Lawry's seasoned salt

  • 1 teaspoon sesame seeds

  • ½ cup mayonnaise

  • ¼ cup sweet relish

  • 1 teaspoon yellow mustard

  • ¼ teaspoon paprika

  • ¼ teaspoon garlic powder

  • ¾ teaspoon onion powder, divided

  • ½ teaspoon white vinegar

  • 2 tablespoons milk

  • 1 pound lean ground beef

  • ½ teaspoon kosher salt

  • ½ teaspoon black pepper

  • 8 ounces green leaf lettuce

  • 4 ounces shredded cheddar

  • ¼ cup sliced hamburger pickles

  • ⅓ cup chopped onion

Directions

  1. Preheat the oven to 350 F.

  2. In a bowl, toss together the cubed buns, butter, seasoned salt, and sesame seeds.

  3. Pour the bread onto a parchment lined baking sheet, then bake for 7 minutes or until golden brown. Set aside.

  4. Mix together the mayonnaise, sweet relish, mustard, paprika, garlic powder, ¼ teaspoon onion powder, vinegar, and milk. Set aside.

  5. Add a bit of vegetable oil and the beef to a large skillet over medium heat. Season to taste with salt, pepper, and ½ teaspoon onion powder.

  6. Cook the beef until browned, about 8 minutes.

  7. Spread the lettuce on a large platter and cover with the beef.

  8. Add the cheese, pickles, and onions.

  9. Spoon over the mayonnaise "special sauce" dressing.

  10. Top with the sesame seed bun croutons and serve immediately.

Read the original article on Mashed.