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The iconic Big Mac burger at McDonald’s, at 55 years old, is an iconic American symbol. Despite the proliferation of more gourmet burger chains, some cultural critics still consider it the dominant fast-food burger. Did you know, there’s a museum dedicated to the sandwich in North Huntingdon, Pennsylvania? And The Economist even fashioned the Big Mac Index to gauge the correct level of world currencies.
The Big Mac — “two all-beef patties, special sauce, lettuce, cheese, pickles, onions on a sesame-seed bun” as the jingle stuck in everyone’s heads since the ’70s says — remains a staple on social media, too. Creators often try it for the first time on camera, and one man went viral for eating a Big Mac every day for the last 50 years.
But let’s face it: the Big Mac is not the healthiest of dishes with its high amounts of salt and saturated fats (although it could be worse). Of course, that Big Mac sauce (and maybe extra pickles) makes it pretty tasty. Fortunately, there are better, healthier ways to get those iconic flavors, and Thrifty Jinxy’s Big Mac Salad is one of them.
Now, there’s one caveat here. If there’s one thing social media has taught us about Big Macs, it’s that they definitely do not use Thousand Island dressing, which is called for in this recipe. Big Mac sauce has no tomato element (read: ketchup), while Thousand Island does.
A good copycat Big Mac sauce recipe includes mustard (Dusseldorf works best), paprika, relish, white wine vinegar, onion powder, granulated garlic and white pepper. If you don’t care about authenticity, though, Thousand Island will do in a pinch — and it certainly makes this dish easier and a bit more budget-friendly.
This salad is hearty enough to be a full meal, so you can skip the Hi-C Orange and fries and cut down on calories even more.
To create it, you’ll need lean ground beef, a head of iceberg lettuce, Roma tomatoes, pickles and onions. Sesame seeds and shredded cheese are optional. Simply chop up your veggies and toss them all together, sautee your beef, toss it in then top with whatever version of Big Mac sauce you prefer.
Thrifty Jinxy has the whole quick and easy recipe, including the method, precise amounts and tips.
And feel free to adjust ingredients to increase the dish’s health benefits. Substitute with low-cal dressing like the one from Walden Farms, add ground turkey instead of beef or make it completely vegan. Enjoy!