Ditch the Bun with a Hamburger Salad

Photo: Thinkstock/Jessica Cording, MS, RD, CDN

With Labor Day coming up, it’s the perfect time to share one of my favorite healthy burger recipes. This classic food has a reputation for not being very nutritious, but there are lots of ways to adapt burgers to suit your needs without compromising flavor.

I often encourage my clients to think beyond the bun and try their burger over salad. It’s a great way to combine the tastes you love and get in your veggies.  An added bonus: Skipping the bread leaves more room to enjoy a favorite carb-rich side like sweet potato fries or corn on the cob. Feel free to customize and play around with different types of meat and toppings.

Hamburger Salad

Serves 1


  • 1 teaspoon whole-grain mustard
  • 2 teaspoons olive oil
  • 1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar
  • 2 cups mixed greens
  • 4 cherry tomatoes, halved
  • 1 small cucumber, sliced into half-moons
  • 1 hamburger
  • Optional add-ins: cheese, sauerkraut, avocado, caramelized onions, sauteed mushrooms, roasted vegetables, etc.


  1. To make dressing, whisk together mustard, oil and vinegar. Set aside.
  2. To assemble salad, combine greens, tomatoes and cucumber in a large bowl. Include any desired additions and toss salad with dressing to coat.
  3. Cook burger to liking with a minimum internal temperature of 160°F, and top salad with cooked burger.
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Jessica Cording

Jessica Cording, MS, RD, CDN, is a dietitian and writer based in New York City, where she works with a variety of private clients. She writes for a variety of media outlets and blogs at Jessica Cording Nutrition. You can follow her on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram.