These loaded burger bowls with pickles, bacon, a quick guacamole, and a “special sauce” are so good! Whole30, paleo, and low carb, they’re filling and healthy – a great alternative to the lettuce wrap burger!
I’m not dainty, but…
I’ve been known to eat my burgers with a knife and fork. Especially low carb lettuce burgers, because, I mean, have you ever had one? Drip city, sister. And then you end up with three pickles and no bacon in one bite, and a full slice of bacon and no pickles in the next. I’m just not about that life, when I can have even bites with beautifully distributed ingredients and I can save my sleeves.
Even better, though?
What are burger bowls?
I’m so glad you asked! Burger bowls are the burger equivalent of a burrito bowl or taco salad. We take all the really awesome parts of a burger and strip it down, layering heaping portions of typical burger toppings on a bed of lettuce.
Burger bowls marry all the beautiful things about burgers (The savory beef, rich avocado, salty and crispy bacon, briny pickles, and that lightly sweet, creamy sauce!) with a healthier and easier means. You get a bite of everything with every forkful, and there’s no need to hunt for the perfectly leafed lettuce to wrap your burgers in. Nope! Just pile it all into a bowl, and you’re set.
Bonus? Because they include only whole foods, these burger bowls are Whole30-compliant, paleo, and low carb, too!
Why These Whole30 Burger Bowls are So Good
- There are so many fantastic flavors in these burger bowls: salty pickles, smoky bacon, sweet and creamy “special sauce,” rich avocado, fresh tomatoes, and erm, oniony onions.
- These burger bowls are mostly prep, and most of the prep can be done while the ground beef browns, making them an easy weeknight dinner recipe.
- They’re Whole30, paleo, and low carb! Add these babies to your Whole30 meal plan, stat.
Patties vs. Crumbled
When I see burger bowls, they’re very often made with patties. I mean, burgers, right? But I thought long and hard about the delivery of the ground beef for these burger bowls, and I opted for crumbled for a few different reasons:
- Crumbled beef stays more tender than beef cooked as a patty and then cut into.
- You’re more likely to get beef in every bite when it’s crumbled.
- It’s easier to properly cook crumbled beef than to cook a patty just right.
I recommend browning and crumbling this garlicky ground beef mixture, but you’re absolutely free to form it into patties, too! Simply form 4 equally sized patties from the beef-garlic powder mixture and cook until medium (Thin pink line) in a little avocado oil in your cast-iron skillet.
- Swap the ground beef for any other type of ground meat: turkey, chicken, bison, or pork would all work!
- Cook the meat mixture as patties instead of crumbled. See the above section for details.
- Spike your guacamole with lime juice instead of lemon for a TexMex flair. You can include chopped cilantro and red onion, too. Garnish the burger bowls with cilantro if you go this route – mas flavor!
How to Make These Whole30 Burger Bowls
Prep is the biggest step in making these burger bowls. You can prep your toppings before you get started cooking or while the ground beef mixture cooks.
Mix together your beef, garlic powder, and salt. Crumble it in a little oil in a skillet over medium heat until browned and cooked through.
Mash together your avocado, lemon or lime juice, and salt, until the desired texture.
Stir together all your special sauce ingredients until smooth; set aside.
The last step is to assemble your burger bowls: start with a bed of romaine lettuce in your serving bowls and top with 1/4 of the ground beef mixture. Divide remaining toppings among bowls, drizzle with plenty of special sauce, and serve!
Other recipes you’ll love:
- Healthy In N Out Burgers: Double Double Animal Style
- Egg Roll in a Bowl with Creamy Red Chile Sauce
- Healthy Lettuce Wraps – PF Changs Style
- Whole30 Chipotle Beef and Avocado Bowls
Burger Bowls (Whole30, Paleo, Low Carb)
Loaded burger bowls with pickles, bacon, a quick guacamole, and a "special sauce"! These low carb burger bowls are Whole30 and paleo, too.
Burger Bowls Meat
- 1 pound ground beef any %
- 4 teaspoon garlic powder
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1 teaspoon avocado or refined coconut oil
- 2 small heads romaine sliced and root discarded
- 1 1/2 cups cherry or grape tomatoes halved
- 1/2 cup pickles plus more to taste
- 1 cup red onion thinly sliced
- 8-10 slices bacon cooked til crisp and roughly crumbled
- 2 avocados peeled and pitted
- 1/2 tablespoon lemon juice
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
In a medium bowl, mix together beef, garlic powder, and salt. Heat avocado or coconut oil in a large skillet, preferably cast iron, over medium heat, then add beef and brown, crumbling with a spatula or spoon.
Meanwhile, prepare remaining elements for the burger bowls.
Make quick guacamole: In a medium bowl, mash together avocado, lemon juice, and 1/2 teaspoon salt.
Make special sauce: whisk together all special sauce ingredients, using coconut aminos only if you're on a Whole30 and skipping the maple syrup. If you're NOT on a Whole30, skip the coconut aminos and use the maple syrup only. Set aside.
When beef is browned and crumbled, remove from skillet and return skillet to medium heat. Add red onions in a single layer and cook until lightly charred on the bottom, then flip. Cook until lightly charred on the second side then remove and repeat until all onions are lightly cooked.
Assemble: start with a layer of romaine in your serving bowls, then spoon 1/4 of the ground beef mixture into the center. Arrange remaining items around the beef: tomatoes, pickles, red onion, bacon, and quick guacamole. Drizzle with plenty of special sauce and serve.
You can swap lime juice for the lemon juice, if you prefer. I wanted to keep the taste more neutral, but a TexMex flair would be delicious!
Don't skimp on the bacon in this recipe! The nicest, thickest cut you can find, the better.
If you're on a Whole30, don't use the maple syrup in the special sauce, only the coconut aminos. If you're not on a Whole30, skip the coconut aminos and go for the maple syrup.