It’s My Cheeseburger in Paradise
~ Our lightened-up Cheeseburger Salad recipe is an easy meal-in-one! A hearty main-dish salad with all the flavors of a big, juicy cheeseburger – and a side of fries! Healthy, fast, and oh-so-good! Plus, it can be mostly made ahead … perfect for busy evenings! ~
This Recipe Is: • Freezable (Ground Beef Mixture) • Includes Make-Ahead Steps •
… I like mine with lettuce and tomato … Heinz 57 and french fried potatoes …
Cheeseburger Salad is one of my family’s favorites (like, all-time, cheers from everyone, super-duper favorites).
I’m pretty sure even your pickiest eaters will love it. I know this because, yes, I have a couple of those at my house!
Maybe it’s the crunchy pickles, or the way the cheese gets all melty and mingles with the meat, or the way the flavors come together so perfectly … I’m not entirely sure. But what I do know is this – it is sooooo yummy!
Many moons ago, I was a Pampered Chef consultant – and the Pampered Chef Deluxe Cheeseburger Salad was one of the very first recipes I had my guinea pigs family taste-test. It was a hit from day one!
Over the years, I’ve tailored the recipe to suit my family’s tastes, and we love it even more now than we did on that very first taste-test!
Plus I added oven-roasted fries as a topping. Wait … what????
Putting French Fries on a Salad? Oh Yeah!
Now, maybe it’s because I’m originally from Pittsburgh, but I don’t think it’s weird to put french fries on a salad. Fries on salads are pretty common in the ‘burgh (which is serious, delicious genius). When I went away to college, though, I was surprised to find that not everyone, everywhere is clued in: “Fries on a Salad? Um, we don’t serve fries on a salad!” Well, huh!
You’ve never tried it? Hey, now’s your chance!
And, besides, since we’re talking “Cheeseburger in Paradise,” this Cheeseburger Salad really needs fries. That’s in the lyrics, and we follow rules. So jump on board – we’re puttin’ ’em on the salad!
Except, of course, we’re going to use oven-roasted potatoes – a deliciously healthy upgrade from fried french fries!
A Meal-In-One, That You Can Prep Ahead!
One of the things I adore most about this Cheeseburger Salad recipe is how quickly it comes together. It’s really simple to make – and I usually have the ingredients on hand.
I assemble most everything while the meat’s cooking, and it’s pretty much all ready to go as soon as the meat is done. Voilà! Dinner is served!
And, because this is an all-in-one dinner that includes everything from salad to meat to veggies, I don’t have to spend time making extra side dishes (trust me – this salad is so filling, you won’t even need them!).
Better yet, most of the components can be prepped ahead of time, which makes life so blissfully simple on busy weeknights!
Make-Ahead Steps: You can cook the hamburger mixture and also oven-roast the fries ahead of time, even a day or two earlier. With your fries and hamburger cooked ahead, all you have to do at the busy dinner hour is reheat them, toast up some buns, and assemble your salads. Amazing meal in no time flat!
Freezer Options (to Prep Way Ahead): The hamburger mixture freezes great, too – no kidding! So, while you’re at it, make a double batch and freeze half for the next time you’re making Cheeseburger Salad. Or, for a super-fast solution on a busy night, just pull your frozen cheeseburger yumminess out of the freezer, mix in the pickles, and serve it up like sloppy joes!
How to Make the Perfect, Easy Cheeseburger Salad
- First, get your potatoes started. Give them a good scrub and cut them into thick wedges. Then, toss them in a large zipper bag, add a couple minced cloves of garlic, a little canola oil, a pinch of your favorite spices (like garlic powder, onion powder … whatever you love …) and salt. Give it all a good shake, and the potatoes are ready to go! Spread them on a parchment-lined baking sheet and roast ’em up.
- Meanwhile, brown a pound of extra-lean ground beef, then add some ketchup and mustard (that’s the lick-your-plate-clean, cheeseburger-flavored sauce!).
- While your beef mixture is cooking, take a quick moment to chop your onions, tomatoes and sweet pickles. (I know, I know – you’re probably thinking “dill” when it comes to cheeseburgers, but trust me on this. After I’d tried swapping in sweet pickles instead, I never looked back. The sweet pickles are a fantastic flavor twist!)
- Once the meat and potatoes are done, everything just comes together!
- Stir the chopped pickles into the beef after it’s off the stove.
- Divide the lettuce among four plates, and then divide up the scrumptious cheeseburger meat, onions, tomatoes, fries and cheese.
- For the final flourish, cut a hamburger bun into wedges and put them under the broiler for just a minute or two. Watch them closely because they toast FAST! Toss a few of them onto each salad and enjoy!
It’s that easy!
Every time I make this salad, I’m taken back in time to my senior year of college, when my sorority participated in a charity fundraiser called Songfest. We were assigned Jimmy Buffett’s “Cheeseburger in Paradise.” So we learned all the words and made up a fun little dance routine. And along the way, we also raised thousands of dollars for The Angels on Track Foundation. (Oh – and by the way – there is no video evidence of this song and dance performance, so don’t bother looking for it!)
So come on … dig out your old Jimmy Buffett CD and dance around while you cook up a brand new cheeseburger experience! Everyone has a little bit of Parrot Head inside – let yours shine! (Bonus points if you actually own a fake parrot to perch on your shoulder while you cook!)
Now that’s my version of a Cheeseburger in Paradise!
Update: More Burger Recipes!
Since publishing this recipe (one of our first), we’ve published lots more burger-related recipes. Check out:
- Easy Grilled Fajita Burgers with Guacamole
- Cheesy Pepperoni Pizza Burgers
- Tex-Mex Taco Burgers with Creamy Salsa Dressing
- Asian Salmon Burgers with Avocado and Hoisin Sauce
- Taco Burger Sliders on Polenta
- 1 1/2 - 2 pounds Idaho russet potatoes (about 4 medium-sized potatoes)
- 2 cloves garlic, minced
- 2 teaspoons canola oil
- 1 teaspoon of your favorite spice blend (garlic powder, onion powder - whatever you like)
- 1 teaspoon salt, divided
- 1 pound extra lean ground beef
- 3/4 cup ketchup (we use natural or organic)
- 3 tablespoons yellow mustard
- 3/4 cup chopped sweet gherkin pickles (about 8-10)
- 1 hamburger bun
- 9 oz. bag of romaine salad blend
- 1/2 cup shredded, reduced-fat sharp cheddar cheese
- 1/2 cup chopped sweet onion
- 2 cups chopped grape or cherry tomatoes
- Preheat oven to 450° F.
- Scrub potatoes and cut them into long, thick wedges (like steak fries). Put them into a gallon zipper bag along with the minced garlic. Drizzle with canola oil and sprinkle with spices and ½ teaspoon salt. Then give a good shake until potatoes are evenly coated with oil and spices. Dump potato mixture onto a parchment-lined baking sheet and bake for about 45 minutes, stirring once or twice. Potatoes are done when they are golden and crispy outside, but soft and fluffy inside. Remove from oven and sprinkle with remaining ½ teaspoon salt.
- Reset oven to preheat your broiler.
- While potatoes are roasting, preheat a nonstick skillet over medium heat. Add ground beef and cook until browned, stirring to crumble. Add ketchup and mustard and continue cooking for about 5 minutes. Remove from heat and add sweet pickles.
- Cut hamburger bun into thick strips, similar to the potatoes, and place them on a parchment-lined baking sheet. Place under preheated broiler for about 2 minutes, or until the top side of the wedges begins to look toasted and brown.
- To serve: Divide romaine evenly among four large dinner plates. Top each with ¼ of the hamburger mixture, then sprinkle each with 2 tablespoons cheese and 2 tablespoons onions. Arrange ¼ of the roasted fries, ¼ of the toasted bun wedges, and ½ cup of the tomatoes around the edges of each plate.
Make-ahead steps: You can cook the ground beef and mix it with the ketchup and mustard ahead of time. It even freezes well, if you want to prep a double batch all at once. You can also roast the potatoes earlier in the day or the day before. Rewarm the potatoes and the beef mixture before finishing the recipe.
This easy, healthy Cheeseburger Salad recipe is adapted from the Pampered Chef recipe for Deluxe Cheeseburger Salad.