Want all the flavor of a burger in a Whole30-compatible bowl? These Whole30 Burger Bowls with Special Sauce are right up your alley! A bowl with a lettuce base, hamburger, onion, tomatoes, optional pickles, and “cheese” sauce, topped with a special sauce. 

Who doesn’t need more 30-minute meals? This 30-minute meal is full of fresh vegetables and only takes 15 minutes of prep time. A great weeknight dinner option!

A flexible bowl

These Burger Bowls are quick and easy to make. Plus, they are flexible, just like a burger is. Want a creamy cheese sauce for a cheeseburger bowl? We’ve got you covered! 

Don’t like pickles? Leave them off! But if you love them, compatible Whole30 pickles can be hard to find. We love Whole30 Approved Olive My Pickle.

You can use iceberg or romaine lettuce or leafy greens. Use small cherry or grape tomatoes or sliced Roma or globe tomatoes. Add sliced sweet yellow onions or red onions. Also, whatever percentage of fat for the ground beef works for this recipe.

The flexibility makes this bowl accessible and budget-friendly. Use up what you have in your fridge. Or buy these easy-to-find ingredients at most grocery store produce sections.

You can also add anything else you enjoy on your burger. This includes things like avocado, guac, and chopped bacon. Make it your own!

Did you say cheese sauce?

If you love cheeseburger flavor, you’ll want to make the four-ingredient “cheese” sauce. It gets its dairy-free cheese flavor from nutritional yeast.

What’s nutritional yeast? Nutritional yeast is not the same as baker’s yeast, as this yeast is inactive and used as a flavoring agent. It usually comes as thin yellow flakes, enhances flavor, and is typically found in the condiment or spice section of the grocery store.

Though tapioca starch can usually be swapped in recipes with an equal amount of arrowroot or potato starch, we highly recommend tapioca starch for this cheese sauce. It gives the cheese sauce a tacky consistency that is perfect for a cheese sauce!


  • You can use another dairy-free milk of choice instead of coconut milk in the cheese sauce. Most are thinner in consistency, so increase the tapioca flour to 1 ½ tablespoons.
  • Love a good turkey or chicken burger? You can use ground chicken or turkey instead of beef.

Whole30 Burger Bowl with Special Sauce

Whole30 Burger Bowl and Special Sauce
Recipe author: Autumn Michaelis
Whole30 Burger Bowl and Special Sauce

Whole30 Burger Bowl with Special Sauce

These Whole30 Burger Bowls with Special Sauce are loaded with all the classic fixings + an optional "cheese" sauce for an easy, anytime meal.
3.70 from 13 votes
Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 15 minutes
Total Time 30 minutes
Course dinner, lunch, Salad
Servings 4 people


  • 1 lb ground beef
  • 1 tbsp coconut aminos optional
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/4 tsp pepper
  • 1 large head of lettuce chopped and rinsed
  • 1 large tomato thinly sliced
  • 1 onion thinly sliced
  • 2 large pickle spears thinly sliced (optional)

"Cheese" Sauce (optional)

  • 3/4 cup canned full-fat coconut milk
  • 1/4 cup nutritional yeast
  • 1 tbsp tapioca flour
  • 1/4 tsp salt

Special Sauce

  • 1/2 cup compatible mayo
  • 2 tbsp compatible ketchup
  • 1 tbsp coconut aminos
  • 1 tbsp finely chopped pickle
  • 1 tsp mustard
  • 1/2 tsp garlic powder
  • 1/2 tsp onion powder


  • COOK ground beef in a medium saucepan over medium heat, seasoned with coconut aminos (if desired, for more flavor), salt and pepper. Cook until browned, about 10 minutes.
  • MAKE cheese sauce by whisking together all ingredients in a small pot. Once combined, then put over medium heat (don’t add heat until combined!). Stir regularly until thickened, about 5 minutes. Note: This sauce is best served warm, as it thickens and changes consistency when cold.
  • MAKE Special sauce by whisking together all ingredients.
  • BUILD bowls by layering the lettuce, meat, tomato, onion, and pickles. Add optional cheese sauce and drizzle with special sauce for a dressing. Serve immediately and enjoy!
Keyword 30 minute meal, burger
Tried this recipe?Let us know how it was!

Autumn Michaelis

Recipe Creator | Whole Food for 7

Autumn Michaelis is an ACSM Certified Exercise Physiologist, with a B.S. in Exercise Science from BYU. Though exercise was her first love in the health world, nutrition has become her passion. She created the blog Wholefoodfor7, sharing easy and budget-friendly Whole30, Paleo, and gluten-free + dairy-free recipes for families. In August 2022, Autumn released the newest Whole30 Endorsed cookbook, Whole Food for Your Family. She is mom to 5 boys (yes 5!) and when not in the kitchen can be found adventuring, hiking, and tearing up the dance floor.