This Loaded Ground Turkey Burger Salad is made with easy mustard flavored ground turkey and served with a 3-ingredient homemade special sauce! Pack on your favorite burger ingredients like bacon, cheese, tomatoes and pickles!
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It’s rare that a salad can remind me of a sandwich, but this one has done it. The ground turkey totally blends in and tries to pass off as normal burger material. And it works!
Every bite has all the cheeseburger flavors you know and love – pickles, ketchup, mustard, mayo, bacon! It’s loaded I tell you. Now let’s get in there!
What are the ingredients in this Loaded Ground Turkey Burger Salad?
This recipe contains lots of the burger ingredients you’re already familiar with, but I’m gonna go over it anyway, along with some possible subs:
- avocado oil – Avocado oil is my preferred cooking oil. I like it for the high smoke point and neutral flavor. You can use olive instead if it’s all you have.
- ground turkey meat – You definitely can use ground beef or even ground chicken here, but I think this recipe does especially well with ground turkey. When you add all these other flavorful and juicy ingredients, the ground turkey really feels like it belongs, without the greasiness of ground beef. Give it a try before you dismiss it!
- yellow onion – Flavor for the ground turkey mixture. You can also skip this and use marinated onions in the salad or skip the onions entirely if you want.
- yellow mustard – I think this is the magical ingredient for this recipe. Mustard, when combined with all these other ingredients, really gives you that burger mouthfeel. Don’t skip!!
- garlic powder, sea salt & fresh ground black pepper – All of these lovely things help bring in more flavor to the ground turkey mixture.
- mixed salad greens – Feel free to use your favorite salad base. I used a 50/50 mix of baby spinach and spring mix and it worked great.
- bacon – The bacon is another reason the ground turkey is totally acceptable here. The bacon brings in the ultimate burger indulgence feel. I wouldn’t make this burger bowl without bacon!
- dill pickles – Another necessary ingredient to create the burger feel. Dill pickles belong on burgers, which means they very much belong in this salad.
- cherry tomatoes – Here’s one I’m gonna say you can skip if you want. It won’t reduce the burger factor of the salad, but if you like tomatoes then definitely add tomatoes.
- cheddar cheese – Not a requirement to get the full burger effect going on, but definitely a qualifying factor for the term ‘loaded’. I like to add cheese!
- ketchup & mayonnaise – If you never had special sauce growing up, then you missed out. Just mix ketchup and mayo. Easy.
- pickle juice – To thin out our lovely special sauce from a dip to a dressing, I added a couple tablespoon of pickle juice, which you should already have on hand if you’re adding dill pickles to your salad.
How do you make homemade bacon bits?
Making bacon bits at home is pretty simple, and they taste dramatically better than those REAL (are they?) bacon bits you can find at the store. Here’s my method – it starts with placing the bacon in a cold oven!
Line a rimmed baking sheet with parchment paper and place strips of bacon flat on the pan, not touching if possible.
Place the baking sheet into a COLD oven, THEN turn the oven to 375F degrees. Bake for 22-25 minutes until dark and beginning to crisp.
Starting with a cold oven helps the bacon warm up and start cooking a lot more evenly then starting with a hot oven.
Use a fork to move the bacon to a plate lined with a paper towel to catch extra grease. Let the bacon cool for 5-10 minutes before cutting into small bits on a cutting board.
For more detailed info on this method and another method, check out my post on How to Make Homemade Bacon Bits.
How do you make the Loaded Ground Turkey Burger Salad?
After cooking the bacon and cutting into bits, it’s time to cook the ground turkey mixture. After that, it’s as simple as mixing the dressing together and chopping the rest of your salad ingredients.
To start the turkey, heat avocado oil in a non-stick skillet over medium high heat. When it’s hot, add ground turkey, onion, mustard, garlic powder, salt and pepper. Use a wooden spoon or spatula to break the meat into small pieces as it cooks.
Cook for about 6-7 minutes or until the meat has browned and the onions are translucent. Set aside in a bowl to cool for a few minutes before adding to the salads.
While the ground turkey is cooling, it’s a good time to mix up the dressing and chop the rest of the ingredients if not already done.
To make the dressing, start out with a medium mixing bowl. Add the mayonnaise and whip it with a spoon until it’s smooth to remove any lumps. Add ketchup and pickle juice, then stir until well mixed and a dressing consistency. Add another tablespoon of dressing if needed to make it thinner.
Finally, all that remains is to assemble the salads. For this recipe, I prefer to assemble each salad individually and let people add their own amounts of toppings. If you’d rather make a giant bowl of salad all mixed together, that works too.
For each salad, add about 2 cups greens, 1/2 cup turkey mixture, 2 tablespoons bacon bits, 1/4 cup pickles, 1/2 cup cherry tomatoes, and 1/4 cup cheddar cheese. Top with the homemade special sauce dressing and serve!
Of course, these are just suggested amounts of toppings and you should make your Ground Turkey Burger Salad however you want it to be!
Can I use ground beef instead of ground turkey?
Yes, it’s perfectly acceptable to use ground beef instead of ground turkey – you may want to drain some of the grease away if you do.
Definitely give it a try with ground turkey though. With the addition of cheese, bacon, pickles and other juicy toppings, you might find that the ground turkey works really well!
What should you serve with this Ground Turkey Burger Salad?
The first time I made this meal, I served it with my Air Fryer Jojo Potato Wedges in the bowl as well, and it was a HIT! I think any kind of potato would go as a wonderful side dish to this meal, however it can also be filling enough on it’s own.
Here are some ideas for side dishes to go with this Loaded Ground Turkey Burger Bowl:
Ways to customize the Ground Turkey Burger Salad:
This bowl can be customized just like you would with a normal cheeseburger! Add any toppings you want! Here are some ideas:
- marinated onions
- sliced jalapeno
- fried crunchy onions
- different cheese!
- change up the pickles
How do you meal prep this meal?
There are two ways to prepare this meal ahead of time so you can save time on cooking later. Both of these methods are totally acceptable!
- Ingredient prep: Prepare the bacon, ground turkey mixture, salad dressing, and chop up all of your ingredients. Store in airtight containers in the fridge. This way, when you’re ready to eat, all you have to do is assemble the salads.
- Meal prep: Assemble your salads in 3 or 4-cup glass containers with lids, except keep the dressing stored separately until you want to eat it. Enjoy the salads within 3-4 days (depending on how fresh all of your produce was).
Is this recipe freezer-friendly?
Generally, I would say that most green salads are not freezer friendly. However, I do think you could prep and freeze the ground turkey mixture if you wanted to! Store in an airtight container in the freezer for 3-4 months.
How to Store, Freeze & Reheat:
To store: Store ingredients separately or assemble salads (keep dressing separate until eating) in airtight containers in the fridge for up to 3-4 days.
To freeze: It is possible to prepare and freeze the ground turkey mixture or freeze leftovers if necessary. Store in an airtight container with as little air as possible for 3-4 months.
To reheat: Thaw frozen turkey mixture in the fridge overnight. I personally did not reheat this meal and enjoyed it with cold turkey from the fridge. You can reheat in the microwave if necessary on HIGH in 30 second intervals in hot.
For the meat mixture:
- 1 tablespoon avocado oil
- 1 pound ground turkey meat
- 1/2 medium yellow onion, diced
- 1 tablespoon yellow mustard
- 1 teaspoon garlic powder
- 1/2 teaspoon fine sea salt
- 1/4 teaspoon fresh ground black pepper
For the salads:
- 5 ounces mixed salad greens (about 2 cups per salad)
- 8 slices raw bacon
- 3 large dill pickles, diced
- 2 cups cherry tomatoes, halved
- 1 cup cheddar cheese, shredded
For the dressing:
- 1/2 cup mayonnaise
- 1/2 cup ketchup
- 2 tablespoons pickle juice
- Make bacon bits: Line a rimmed baking sheet with parchment paper and place strips of bacon flat, not touching. Place the baking sheet into a COLD oven, THEN turn the oven to 375F degrees. Bake for 22-25 minutes until dark and beginning to crisp. Use a fork to move the bacon to a plate lined with a paper towel to catch extra grease. Let the bacon cool for 5-10 minutes before cutting into small bits on a cutting board. For full recipe and photos, read my post on How to Make Homemade Bacon Bits!
- Cook turkey mixture: Heat oil in a non-stick skillet over medium high heat. When hot, add ground turkey, onion, mustard, garlic powder, salt and pepper. Use a wooden spoon or spatula to break the meat into small pieces as it cooks. Cook for about 6-7 minutes or until the meat has browned and the onions are translucent. Set aside in a bowl to cool for a few minutes before adding to the salads.
- Make dressing: In a medium mixing bowl, add the mayonnaise and whip briefly to remove any lumps. Add ketchup and pickle juice, then stir until well mixed. Add another tablespoon of dressing if needed to make thinner dressing.
- Assemble salads & serve: To each serving, add about 2 cups greens, 1/2 cup turkey mixture, 2 tablespoons bacon bits, 1/4 cup pickles, 1/2 cup cherry tomatoes, and 1/4 cup cheddar cheese (build up your salad as big or little as you want – add more or less toppings, and customize with marinated onions, sliced jalapenos, avocado, anything you’d put on a burger!). Top with the homemade special sauce dressing and serve immediately.
- Store & meal prep: Store all leftover ingredients separately or assemble salads in airtight meal prep containers. Do not add dressing until you are about to eat the salad! For freshest leftovers, enjoy within 3 days.
Nutrition information estimated with My Fitness Pal for 4 servings and will vary depending on your chosen ingredients and specific brands.
Keywords: turkey burger, salad bowl, burger salad, main dish, ground turkey, pickles, bacon
Did you make this Loaded Ground Turkey Burger Salad? I want to see how it turned out!! Tag me in your social media post and use #projectmealplan when you share!