Burger Bowl with Special Sauce


You don’t have to wait for ‘burger night’ or even have a grill to enjoy everything you love about a good burger when you’ve got a Burger Bowl with Special Sauce to satisfy that craving.  The best part is that you can have them on the table in under 30 minutes and they’re infinitely customizable to take advantage of what you have on hand right now. You can even use ground turkey – this is your Burger Bowl with Special Sauce. You call the shots here, friend. 

Burger Bowl with Special Sauce complete with roasted sweet potato wedges just begging to be enjoyed.

Have It Your Way

Here’s where my fast food burger ignorance really comes out. I had to Google which fast-food chain used the slogan, ‘Have it your way.” to find out it was Burger King. Then I had to Google which fast-food chain had a burger with special sauce: McDonald’s.

While I may not be a fast-food connoisseur or apparently very good at pop culture trivia, I do know how to make a mean Burger Bowl with Special Sauce at home. So that’s really what this post is about. A bowl, some burger, and a ridiculously easy and tasty sauce. Let’s jump right in, shall we?

How Do You Make a Burger Bowl?

It’s really quite simple and this is more of a formula or template than a recipe (except for the Special Sauce – there is a recipe for that below). Start by filling a bowl with a generous portion of leafy greens (Romaine, green or red leaf, butter leaf, spring mix, spinach, etc.) then top it with browned ground beef (or a grilled burger, if you wish) and pile on your favorite burger toppings. A few suggestions for toppings include:

  • Tomato: Cherry or grape tomatoes are easy and just need to be halved if they’re large but sliced or seeded, and diced tomatoes will also work
  • Avocado: Sliced, mashed, or a scoop of your favorite guacamole adds healthy fats and a richness
  • Pickles: Dill, sweet, spicy…spears, slices, chopped – they’re all good so use the ones you like best
  • Onion: Diced or sliced – yellow or white. Fried, grilled or caramelized onions are also fantastic here but we’re really fond of these Quick-Pickled Onions for the tangy-zing they add to a Burger Bowl and everything else they touch
  • Cheese: We left off the cheese to keep this Burger Bowl with Special Sauce dairy-free and Whole30-friendly, but by all means, add that cheese if that’s your jam!
  • Bacon: Oh, yes. BACON. Go all out and crumble on some bacon, you deserve it.

The possibilities are endless when it comes to toppings for your Burger Bowl with Special Sauce. Here we have lettuce, avocado, pickled onions, dill pickle slices and bacon but anything goes.

What’s a Burger Without Fries?

It’s just a burger, sadly. So that’s why we added a side of oven-baked sweet potato wedges to this Burger Bowl. They’re the perfect vehicle for getting that Special Sauce to your mouth (which we’ll get to in a bit).

Looking for guidance with meal planning? Check out Real Plans, a highly customizable online meal planning service that includes over 300 of our very own recipes.

A Burger Bowl topped with fresh veggies and crisp-cooked bacon just waiting for a generous drizzle of Special Sauce.

This post contains affiliate links that will not change your price but will share some commission.

How Do You Make Special Sauce?

With just a few fridge and pantry staples you can whip up a creamy special sauce in minutes flat, that’s perfect for drizzling over your burger bowl. Here’s what you’ll need:

  • Mayo – We’re particularly fond of this avocado oil mayo (and this egg-free version) but use whichever brand you enjoy. If you do dairy and need to avoid eggs, plain Greek yogurt is a great stand-in for the mayo
  • Ketchup – Looking for an unsweetened, Whole30-friendly ketchup that actually tastes amazing? This is the one you need!
  • MustardDijon mustard is our go-to’s but good old yellow mustard is also a winner
  • Dill pickles or Pickle relish
  • Onion powder – You can certainly mince or grate some fresh onion but a little onion powder is a great shortcut
  • Vinegar – Either white vinegar or apple cider vinegar will work. If you don’t have any vinegar on hand, a squeeze of fresh lemon juice will work too. You just need something to add a little acidity to the sauce
  • Salt & Pepper

What’s So Special About Special Sauce?

Well, it’s delicious! And it’s super versatile. You can enjoy it on a burger bowl (or a burger with a bun), on a turkey sandwich, or even on grilled chicken. And you definitely can – and should – dip some oven-roasted sweet potato wedges in it, too. And you can make it ahead and keep it in a jar in the fridge for up to a week.

If dinner in 30 minutes sounds impossible, then you haven't tried this Burger Bowl with Special Sauce yet!

Want to know more about red meat and how to choose the best quality? Check out our Real Food 101 post on How to Choose Quality Red Meat

Hungry for More? Subscribe to get our newsletter delivered straight to your inbox! And be sure to stay in touch on Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest and Instagram for all of the latest updates.

Let’s Get Cookin’

Burger Bowl with Special Sauce

The recipe for the Special Sauce makes enough for 4 servings. Using 1 pound of ground beef is recommended to serve 4. The exact amount of lettuce and toppings will vary depending on your preferences (and appetite!)

  • Author: Jessica Beacom
  • Prep Time: 15 mins.
  • Cook Time: 15 mins.
  • Total Time: 30 mins.
  • Yield: Serves 4 1x
  • Category: Whole30, Paleo, Dairy-Free

Turn ordinary ground beef into a fun and budget-friendly meal in about 30 minutes with this Burger Bowl with Special Sauce


For the Burger Bowl:

  • 1 lb. ground beef (may substitute ground turkey or bison)
  • 8 ounces leafy greens of choice (about 8 cups)
  • Burger toppings of choice: Pickles, onions, tomatoes, cheese, crisp-cooked bacon, etc.
  • Optional: Oven-roasted sweet potato wedges or frozen French fries

For the Special Sauce:

  • ½ cup mayonnaise 
  • 2 Tbsp. ketchup
  • 2 Tbsp. diced pickles (may substitute pickle relish)
  • 1 tsp. white or apple cider vinegar
  • ½ tsp. onion powder
  • Salt and pepper, to taste


  1. Brown ground beef in a medium skillet over medium-high heat, until no longer pink. Drain, if desired.
  2. While the ground beef is cooking, divide the lettuce among 4 bowls.
  3. Make the Special Sauce by adding all of the sauce ingredients to a small bowl and stirring to combine. Taste and adjust seasonings as needed.
  4. Top each bowl of lettuce with desired toppings then drizzle with Special Sauce and serve.


  • Serving Size: 1/4th burger + sauce (other toppings not included)
  • Calories: 400
  • Sugar: 3g
  • Sodium: 350mg
  • Fat: 30g
  • Saturated Fat: 8g
  • Carbohydrates: 4g
  • Fiber: 0g
  • Protein: 25g

Pin it now & Make it later!

Pin image for Burger Bowl with Special Sauce

All photos and content are copyright protected. Please do not use our photos without prior written permission. If you wish to republish this recipe, please rewrite the recipe in your own unique words and link back to the source recipe here on The Real Food Dietitians. Thank you!

About Jessica Beacom

Jessica is a Registered Dietitian Nutritionist living in Boulder, CO with her hubby and two daughters. She’s been described as a ‘real food evangelist’ and loves sharing her knowledge with others to help them break free of the diet mentality and find their own food freedom. In her spare time she enjoys CrossFit, telemark skiing, mountain biking, teaching herself how to play the banjo and camping out under the stars.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *


Best lululemon Bras


The Perfect Summer Menu