These Burger Bowls have all the yummy flavors of hamburgers, including lettuce, tomato, onion and pickles but without the bun. Instead they are layered into bowls on top of cauliflower rice for a lower carb meal option. The healthy Special Sauce makes them irresistible!

burger bowl in a white low pasta bowl with a fork

Why We Love Homemade Burger Bowls

Last year when I did the Whole30 I fell in love with Burger Bowls. I had come across the idea when I was searching for Whole30 recipes on Pinterest. If you are not familiar with burger bowls, they are basically a grain-free way of enjoying the delicious flavors of a hamburger but without the bun. The hamburger meat is crumbled and browned in a skillet and then the ingredients are arranged in a bowl and eaten with a fork.

This is a version I created for Healthy Seasonal Recipes because I know you would love them too! Once you try them, have fun mixing up the ingredients to customize them how you like them.

Ingredients For Bunless Burger Bowls

For The Hamburger Meat Mixture

ingredients for the beef mixture
  • Oil: Use your favorite cooking oil. I suggest avocado oil or organic canola oil because they’re neutral and withstand high-heat
  • Chopped Mushrooms: this helps to keep them lower in calories while still high in volume
  • Ground beef: Burger bowls can also be made with ground turkey if you do not eat beef. I like 85% lean best
  • Finely diced red onion: Some of the onion is cooked with the hamburger meat and some is used for topping
  • Seasonings: Worcestershire sauce, salt and black pepper

For The Special Sauce

ingredients for the dressing mixture
  • Whole milk Greek yogurt: You can sub mayo or Whole30 compliant mayo to make dairy free and/or Whole30 compliant.
  • Ketchup: You can us Whole30 compliant/sugar free if desired
  • White vinegar: This gives the special sauce that tangy flavor. Apple cider vinegar works great too!
  • Dill pickle relish
  • Yellow mustard
  • Celery salt

To Assemble The Bowls

ingredients to assemble the bowls
  • Shredded lettuce, optional
  • 1 large tomato, diced
  • Frozen cauliflower rice, heated
  • Sliced dill pickles
  • The diced onion (you’ll cook most of the onion with the beef mixture)
  • Plus the beef mixture and dressing

How To Make This Burger Bowl Recipe

the ground beef with mushrooms and onions cooking in a skillet
Cook the crumbled beef (or turkey) with the chopped mushrooms and onions

Step 1: Cook Beef (or Turkey) with Onions and Mushrooms

Combine the beef or turkey, all but 1/4 cup of the onion, the mushrooms and the salt and pepper in a hot skillet. Cook it and break it up so that it resembles meat for pasta sauce or tacos.

Note: The mushrooms will let off a lot of liquid as they cook. This is normal. Keep cooking until the liquid evaporates, the onions are soft and the meat is cooked through.

the ground beef in the skillet
Once the beef is browned and the mushroom liquid is cooked off, season the hamburger meat with Worcestershire sauce.

Step 2: Add Worcestershire sauce

Take the meat off the heat and add in the Worcestershire sauce.

the special sauce in a glass bowl with a whisk, two hands holding it
Whisk the special sauce in a medium bowl

Step 3: Make The Special Sauce

An essential component of the hamburger bowls is the special sauce which is sort of like Russian Salad Dressing or Thousand Island dressing. To make it, whisk the yogurt (or mayo if you prefer), ketchup, vinegar, mustard, relish and celery salt to combine it.

adding a pickle to the burger bowl
Assemble the burger bowls over the lettuce and cauliflower rice, arranging the hamburger toppings decoratively

Step 4: Assemble the Bowls

Heat the cauliflower rice according to the package instructions. (I just microwave it in a glass measuring cup until it is piping hot.)

I like to use a shallow pasta bowl (that’s an affiliate link) like these to serve portions of this recipe.

  1. Start with the cauliflower rice and lettuce.
  2. Then spoon on the beef or turkey mixture.
  3. Top with tomatoes, pickles and onion.
spooning the special sauce over the hamburger bowl
Before serving, spoon the special sauce over the assembled hamburger bowls. Serve immediately.

Step 5: Drizzle Special Sauce Over The Hamburger Bowls

Lastly, spoon a generous amount of the special sauce over the beef and veggies just before serving.

two burger bowls on a table side by side

FAQs for This Recipe

Is This Recipe Low Carb or Keto?

This recipe can be made low carb with 9 g net carbs if you use mayonnaise instead of yogurt and use sugar-free ketchup.

Is This Burger Bowl Whole30 Compliant?

To make this recipe Whole30 compliant, simply sub Whole30 compliant mayo for the yogurt. Make sure other ingredients are also compliant including the ketchup, relish, pickles and mustard.

If I use mayonnaise, how many calories are in each serving?

With mayonnaise, each serving will be 485 calories.

Can I add cheese to them?

Yes! Cheeseburger bowls are just as delicious if not more so! I recommend using shredded cheddar, Monterey Jack or Muenster cheese. If you love blue cheese, try a half ounce, crumbled over each bowl. Cheese will add about 110 calories per ounce.

What are some other ways to customize these bowls?

A good rule of thumb is that any topping that is good on burgers is also good on burger bowls. Try crumbled bacon, a fried Eggs, hot or sweet peppers or avocado. You can also substitute another “base” instead of cauliflower rice. I have also made these with zucchini noodles or zucchini cut into ribbons. You could also use cooked spaghetti squash.

Variations To Try

  • If you do not love Russian dressing, grab another dressing recipe from my archives. There are tons! The Blue Cheese Dressing would be awesome!
  • Don’t like mushrooms? Try finely diced zucchini (or shredded) or finely diced bell pepper to up the veggie servings.
  • Omit the cauliflower rice and use twice the lettuce if you want to make these more of a Burger Salad!

Make Ahead Tips

  • If you are a meal prep lover then you will love this recipe because the meat reheats beautifully. The hamburger meat can be made up to four days ahead.
  • The special sauce can also be made ahead as well. The veggies for the topping can also be prepared and stored separately if you like.
  • It is important to wait to assemble them after the meat is reheated because the meat and cauliflower rice is best served warm.
  • To reheat the meat and cauliflower rice, portion them into a bowl and microwave for two minutes or until steaming hot. Alternatively, you can heat the meat on the stovetop with a little broth or water. Heat until steaming hot.
  • The meat can be frozen up to two months. Thaw in the refrigerator.

More Recipes You May Like

More Bowls: If you are a bowl lover, there are several others here on Healthy Seasonal! Chicken and Quinoa Bowl with peanut dressing is a flavor explosion! These Quinoa and Lentil Bowls are a vegan option for meatless Mondays. These Vegetarian Burrito Bowls are made in an instant pot and are fun to customize.

Thanks so much for reading! If you are new here, you may want to sign up for my email newsletter to get a free weekly menu plan and the latest recipes right to your inbox. If you make this recipe, please come back and leave a star rating and review. I would love to hear what you thought!

Happy Cooking! ~Katie

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burger bowl in a white bowl with a fork

Healthy Burger Bowls with Special Sauce

5 Stars 4 Stars 3 Stars 2 Stars 1 Star

5 from 7 reviews

  • Author: Katie Webster
  • Total Time: 25 minutes
  • Yield: 4 servings 1x


These Hearty lower-carb Burger Bowls with Special Sauce are ready in less than 30 minutes. They have all the flavors of hamburgers but without the bun! There’s a Whole30 compliant option and one for making it even lower in carbs. 



For The Meat Mixture

1 tablespoon avocado oil or organic canola oil

1 large finely diced red onion, divided

8 ounces mushrooms, finely chopped

1 pound ground turkey or beef

3/4 teaspoon salt

1/2 teaspoon pepper

1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce

For The Special Sauce

1/2 cup plain whole milk Greek yogurt (sub mayo to make dairy-free or whole30 compliant)

2 tablespoons ketchup

1 tablespoon white vinegar

1 tablespoon dill pickle relish

1 teaspoon yellow mustard

1/2 teaspoon celery salt

For The Bowls

4 cups frozen cauliflower rice

1 1/2 cup shredded lettuce, optional

1 large tomato, diced

1/2 cup sliced dill pickles


  1. Make meat: Heat oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Reserve ¼ cup diced onion for garnish. Add the remaining red onion, mushrooms and turkey or beef to the skillet. Sprinkle with salt and pepper.
  2. Cook, stirring and breaking up the meat with a wooden spoon until the meat is cooked through and the liquid has evaporated, 8 to 10 minutes. Drizzle Worcestershire sauce over the meat and stir to incorporate. Remove from the heat.
  3. Make Special Sauce: Whisk yogurt, ketchup, vinegar, relish, mustard and celery salt in a small bowl.
  4. Assemble Bowls: Heat cauliflower rice according to package instructions. Divide cauliflower rice among four shallow bowls. Top with the meat, dividing evenly. Garnish with lettuce, tomato, pickles and the reserved red onion.
  5. Add Sauce and Serve: Drizzle sauce over the burger bowls and serve.


Make Ahead and Reheating Instructions:

The meat and dressing can be made up to four days in advance. Keep separate. To reheat the meat and cauliflower rice, portion them into a bowl and microwave for two minutes or until steaming hot. Alternatively, you can heat the meat on the stovetop with a little broth or water. Heat until steaming hot. Assemble as directed.

 For Low Carb Option:

Substitute mayonnaise for the yogurt, and use sugar free ketchup. With these alternatives, the calories will be 485 per bowl, 8 g net carbs (13 g total carbs and 5 g fiber.) 

  • Prep Time: 25 minutes
  • Cook Time: 10 minutes
  • Category: Main Course
  • Method: Stove Top
  • Cuisine: American


  • Serving Size: 1 bowl
  • Calories: 330
  • Fat: 19 g
  • Saturated Fat: 6 g
  • Carbohydrates: 16 g
  • Fiber: 5 g
  • Protein: 30 g