“Cheeseburger” Salad with Special Sauce
Published Oct 29, 2018, Updated Aug 02, 2021
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OMG! This “Cheeseburger” Salad with Special Sauce is reminiscent of a Big Mac, but so much better. It’s totally plant-based and made with lentil walnut burger meat and a cashew cream sauce.
Few things are better than seeing your friends succeed. My friend Megan of Detoxinista recently released her THIRD cookbook to the world (The Fresh & Healthy Instant Pot Cookbook) and I’m so excited to share a recipe from it today!
I know a lot of people are making the recipes from my blog every day, but I still love cookbooks (and have a whole collection of them to prove it) so creating my own cookbook is still a goal – and I’m always so impressed by other bloggers who have made this happen.
You may remember when I shared this turkey cauliflower baked ziti from Megan’s second cookbook. It has been super popular so if you haven’t tried it yet, go check it out.
Megan and I have really similar food philosophies so I was extra excited to see another cookbook come out. Plus it’s all Instant Pot recipes, which has been so fun to experiment with!
Honestly, many of the Instant Pot recipes you find online aren’t super healthy, which is why Megan created this cookbook. Every recipe has nutrition info, a photo, a gluten-free/vegan option and all are made without refined sugar. The purpose of her cookbook is to help you eat better and spend less time in your kitchen. Love that!
Now about this cheeseburger salad . . .
I was instantly drawn to this “Cheeseburger” Salad with Special Sauce because it reminded me of a Big Mac, aka my go-to order at McDonald’s when I was younger. I know it’s crazy to imagine me ordering and eating a Big Mac with a supersized Dr. Pepper and fries that I dipped in honey, but it’s true. From Big Macs to Bird Food I guess. 🙂
Megan’s “cheeseburger” salad actually doesn’t have beef in it at all… she created burger “meat” made from lentils, which I’m willing to bet will be a crowd favorite. If Meatless Monday isn’t going over too well in your home, you might just need to introduce this cheeseburger salad into your meal rotation. 😉
Thankfully, Megan broke down each step into really digestible instructions. If you have never used an Instant Pot before, this cookbook will definitely help you feel comfortable with it, and this recipe is a great one to start out with. You’ll practice both sautéing and pressure cooking in the Instant Pot, which are the two key features. Just a few simple steps results in six servings – so a simple family meal or easy meal prep/leftovers for your week!
Do you own an Instant Pot? If so, please share your favorite healthy Instant Pot recipe below! If you own an Instant Pot and it’s been collecting dust, I highly recommend grabbing a copy of Megan’s cookbook. There are so many awesome recipes included — everything from easy breakfasts to sweet treats.
“Cheeseburger” Salad with Special Sauce
- 1 Tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
- 1 yellow onion, chopped
- 1 teaspoon garlic powder
- 1 teaspoon paprika
- 1/8 teaspoon cayenne pepper
- 1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
- 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
- 1 cup green lentils
- 1 1/4 cups water
- 1 teaspoon fine sea salt
- 1/2 cup finely chopped walnuts
- 1/2 cup cashews, soaked for 1 hour
- 1/2 cup water
- 1 Tablespoons raw apple cider vinegar
- 2 Tablespoons pure maple syrup
- 2 Tablespoons tomato paste
- 2 Tablespoons yellow mustard
- 1/2 teaspoon onion powder
- 3/4 teaspoon fine sea salt
- chopped lettuce, tomatoes and green onions; pickle slices; and shredded cheddar cheese, for serving
- To make the burger “meat,” press Sauté and add the olive oil to the Instant Pot. Once the oil is hot but not smoking, add the onion and sauté until softened, about 5 minutes. Press Cancel to stop the cooking cycle.
- Stir in the garlic powder, paprika, cayenne, cumin, and black pepper while the pot is still hot. Add the green lentils and water, and stir to make sure the lentils are covered in the liquid for even cooking. Secure the lid and move the steam release valve to Sealing. Select Manual/Pressure Cook to cook on high pressure for 5 minutes.
- While the lentils are cooking make the special sauce. Drain and rinse the cashews, then add them to a blender with the water, vinegar, maple syrup, tomato paste, mustard, onion, powder, and salt. Blend until very smooth and set aside.
- White the cooking cycle on the burger “meat” is complete, let the pressure naturally release for 10 minutes, them move the steam release valve to Venting to release any remaining pressure. When the floating device valve drops, remove the lid and stir in the salt and chopped walnuts.
- Fill a bowl with chopped lettuce, the burger “meat,” tomatoes, green onions, pickles, and cheese. Drizzle plenty of the special sauce over the top before serving. Store leftovers in three separate airtight containers- – for the dressing, the burger “meat,” and the vegetables — in the fridge for 1 week.
- Make it vegan: omit the cheddar cheese or use a dairy-free sub.
- Make the burger “meat” without an Instant Pot: Cook lentils by adding 1 cup green lentils into a large saucepan with 2 cups of water. Bring to a rapid simmer (almost boil), cover saucepan and reduce heat. Simmer until lentils are tender, about 20-30 minutes, adding more water as needed to make sure the lentils are just barely covered. Once lentils are tender you can drain any access liquid. Meanwhile, add olive oil to a sauce pan over medium-high heat. Add the onion and sauté until softened, about 5 minutes. Stir in the garlic powder, paprika, cayenne, cumin, salt, black pepper and chopped walnuts while the pot is still hot. Once lentils are cooked, stir them in as well. Use the burger “meat” as instructed in the recipe.
Nutrition information is automatically calculated, so should only be used as an approximation.