Get a free REAL FOOD INGREDIENT GUIDE with clear 'buy this, NOT that' advice in every food category:

Bunless Burger Bonanza… with a Secret Ingredient (Bunless Burger Ideas for Add-ons)

bunless burger ideas

It wasn’t that long ago that the thought of a burger without a bun sounded as strange as not eating bread on a daily basis. But now I’d rather eat my burger grain-free (you’ll see why when you read this recipe!), and bread is only a once-in-a-while thing. (It’s really got to be worth it now.) I’m not always great overall at eating low-carb or paleo or grain-free or whatever you want to call it, but I get a little better here and there all the time. Figuring out recipes like this make it easy!

By the way, my kids are brutally honest with me and let me know that my picture above was not a good one. But if you could’ve seen the first picture I took of this, you’d think this one was a gem…

I didn’t know if I should call this post “Grain-free Hamburger” or “Hamburger Salad” or “Bunless Burger Bonanza”, which do you like best? Either way, you’ll love these bunless burger ideas for what to put on yours…

The following is for one big serving. (I happily pig out on this whole thing myself.)

  • Grill or fry hamburgers, we like them both ways. (Sources for healthy grass-fed meat.) You might like to chop up an onion to mix into your meat before cooking like we do. We also buy pastured ground beef that has heart ground up with it for more nutrients. There’s no taste difference, not even a little. Don’t forget to sprinkle with sea salt and pepper for best flavor. Either melt a piece of cheese on top of your burger, or just add some shredded cheese as you’re putting the rest of the ingredients together below.
  • Secret Ingredient: This truly makes the burger DREAMY… In the meantime, in a small frying pan sauté a whole chopped onion with 4 T. butter, moving the pieces around often, until onions are nice and golden brown. (I like them really golden brown.) This takes less time if your heat is on the medium-high side, but don’t leave them or it burns quickly. (You never want to eat burnt food due to the formation of free-radicals which can cause cancer.) You could also add a splash of balsamic vinegar to caramelize the onions even more, yum! ***Even better, try this onion jam recipe!!

Add the following to a nice-sized salad bowl and toss together:

  • A few handfuls of romaine lettuce, torn.
  • Your cooked hamburger, cut into bite-sized pieces.
  • About half of a tomato, cut into bite-sized pieces.
  • One ripe avocado, chopped.
  • One dill pickle, chopped.
  • The browned onions. This gives it such a yummy crunch!
  • Shredded cheddar cheese.
  • Anything else good that I forgot?

Add a squirt or two of organic ketchup, a dollop of homemade mayo, and however much mustard you like, then toss together. (Pretty easy salad dressing, eh?) My friend, Megan, came over and had this with me and she wanted Ancho chili mayo on hers. :)

I can’t wait to hear if you love this as much as I do!

Healthy meal plans any dietMeal Planning Help!

Sick of planning meals and answering the question, “What am I going to feed these people?” No matter what kind of eater you are… Check out these affordable interactive easy-to-use meal plans where the work is done for you! Also read over my review to see what I thought of it.


  1. This looks and sounds amazing, Kelly! So simple, so genius! I’m like you, everyone loves burgers, but it almost seems wrong to eat one without a bun, but this recipe would certainly quickly cure anyone of thinking that! I’m sure my boyfriend would even be happy to chow this down! I can’t wait to give it a try.

  2. This looks and sounds amazing! However, I am a bit confused as to why EVERYONE seems to be going low carb. I myself do generally because of GAPS/bloodsugar issues. However, Dr. Price studied several very healthy cultures who ate a HIGH CARB diet…the Swiss are the first that come to mind. Why are healthy soaked grains and carbs being villanized lately (or is it my imagination?)

    • Good question, & I’ll probably go into it more soon in a grains post that I’m working on, but here’s why I personally try to eat less grains:

      -The recent confusion over how best to soak grains has me irritated, so it seems easier to avoid them.

      -To keep my mid-section under control (stupid belly fat), lowering carbs works best for me. (Not zero carbs by any means.)


    • I can’t speak for “everyone”, but since giving up grains I feel much better and have lost quite a bit of weight. I know properly preparing grains can mitigate some of the toxins, but the fact remains there is absolutely nothing in grains that can not be gotten just as easily from much more nutrient dense foods. And, I guess I’m just too lazy to soak, dry, and then grind grains just to have a piece of bread. I’d rather just skip the bread altogether.

      Also, my diet isn’t low-carb: I eat lots of fruits and veggies, as well as occasional legumes. I don’t count carbs; I just skip the grains and sugars. It’s a moderate-carb diet.

      • I can understand grain free, but it seems like people who do paleo, or something close to it are forming an elite “we’re doing the traditional diet best” club. I read a lot of real foody blogs and this is just an impression I am getting.

  3. I had my first bun free hamburger recently. I cut it into bite sized pieces and mixed it with fermented veggies. Loved it. I’ll have to try your better bonanza soon.

  4. This is a must try. Throwing it, into the salad, also cuts down on how many hamburgers, one would eat, normally. I only eat one but hubby can handle a few. With alll those good ingredients, I think , one would be enough for him, too.

  5. I’d call it hamburg salad myself.. regardless of what you call it it looks delicious.

    Just a little aside, grain free doesn’t necessarily mean low carb. I mean all those veggies are high in carbs (compared to protein and fat)

  6. This sounds great! We also don’t use buns anymore. Sometimes we use lettuce leaves, but usually just eat with a fork and knife. I’ve never thought though to make the burger into a salad with ketchup and mustard. We’ll have to try this. I make taco salads similar to this with salsa, avocado, sour cream, etc. Our favorite topping for our bunless burgers are Gruyere cheese, blue cheese, sauted mushrooms and garlic, or thai peanut sauce (not all mixed together). We have burgers at least once a week. Unfortunately, the kids don’t like burgers. We get them to eat at least half a burger, but they don’t enjoy it. Any suggestions for them? Our favorite toppings are not kid friendly enough either…

      • We do serve them with ketchup and pickles, but they still struggle to swallow their bites. You know how kids will take bites and then use milk to wash it all down. They don’t like meat loaf either, which is so amazingly good out of the Nourishing Traditions cookbook. My daughter will eat sauted ground beef with sea salt added or even onions added. I don’t understand why she won’t eat it in a burger form, and my son will eat tacos. He loves the taco meat, which is the same grass fed ground beef with seasoning. Oh, well, at least they eat the meat in other forms. Since they don’t like the burger form, they might like your salad. We’ll give it a try. Thanks for the recipe!

  7. I’ll have to try this – looks like it might be well recieved around here 😉

    Would love to hear some thoughts on getting “good carbs” without so much grain? I find I really need carbs, especially in the morning, and end up defaulting to breads usually but would love some other simple ideas to get carbs without the grains. I am with you on the soaking vs not issues…… it’s rather confusing to me as well!

  8. This looks amazing, and I can’t wait to try it! We usually eat cheeseburger patties cut up and dipped in ketchup and/or mustard. It’s a favorite of my 3 1/2 year old son. This would definitely jazz things up for hubby and I though. Thanks!!

    • Hi Peggy,

      I’d guess a couple weeks or so, but ours doesn’t usually last that long around here to know for sure. :)


Leave a Reply