If you’re new here, you might not know that I have a serious love for In-N-Out. It was always one of the first places we went to when we traveled to California, and one taste of their burgers brings back so many great memories! One of my favorite memories is a little funny, and, to be honest, a little embarrassing.
When I was just 8 weeks pregnant with my first son, we made plans to travel from Idaho to California for Thanksgiving. For weeks before hand, I was so excited to get my hands on an In-N-Out burger. For the first trimester with all of my kids, I had strong cravings for fattier, cheesier dishes, and an In-N-Out Cheeseburger seemed like just the thing to satisfy my increasing appetite.
So, we finally reached the coveted In-N- Out restaurant and, like most pregnant ladies, I had to go to the bathroom. I told my husband exactly what I wanted: a cheeseburger with grilled onions and well done fries. I came out of the bathroom when our number was called, and my husband set before me….a hamburger. No cheese. He may as well have stabbed me in the heart, because my pregnant self could not handle the thought of an In-N-Out burger without melty cheese.
So, what does any preggo do when she gets upset? She cries. And, yep, I started crying over my hamburger in the middle of In-N-Out. Not my finest moment, but definitely a hormonal one. My husband and I still laugh about it to this day. And, for the record, my husband graciously let me eat his Double-Double, Animal Style while he ate the hamburger. HA! If that’s not true love, then I don’t know what is.
All of these good memories got me to thinking about making In-N-Out inspired recipes at home. I first started with this skinny spread, which is perfect for adding to your burgers. Then I thought, why not take it a step further? My in laws have been eating a ketogenic diet, and they recently told me about a Big Mac inspired salad which they love. And if you can turn a Big Mac into a salad, then you can definitely turn an Animal Style burger into one, too!
If you aren’t familiar with the Animal Style burger from In-N-Out, it is one of the “secret” items that they don’t officially list on their menu. However, lots of people order their burger this way. When you order your burger animal style, you get your patty fried in mustard, grilled onions, and pickles on your burger.
To start off this salad, you begin by forming lean ground beef into 4 oz patties. I decided to go with a 91/9 ratio that I picked up in the frozen section of Costco, but you can choose whichever you’d prefer. Just remember, the macros may change depending on the fat content of your beef. Those burgers then get pan fried with some mustard to add the animal style flair. If you don’t like mustard, you can leave it out! No hard feelings.
While the burgers are cooking, it’s time to start working on caramelizing some onions. Perhaps this is my favorite part of the dish! I just love the flavor onions take on after some sauteing. To keep this more macro friendly, I just use cooking spray to cook my onions and then seasoned them with some salt.
For logging these caramelized onions, they will shrink in weight after they have been cooked. Instead of worrying about creating a recipe, I just weighed the cooked amount as double the raw amount. So if I had 30 g of cooked onions, I logged 60 g of raw. This helps save some time, and it has been pretty close to accurate every time I have checked. If you’re interested in reading more about cooked vs raw weight, check out this article here.
After the burgers and onions are cooked, then it’s time to begin assembling the salad. Start with freshly chopped romaine, then add in diced tomatoes, cheddar cheese, pickles, caramelized onions, and your ground beef patty. Finally, you’ll drizzle your salad with the skinny spread to create the dressing. So delicious and simple!
Also, for serving to a family, simply buy some burger buns for them. Then, they can eat cheeseburgers for dinner (who doesn’t want that?), and you can too, just in salad form. This meal is sure to satisfy everybody in the house. Now, if only we had some well done fries to go with it, we’d be set!
Animal Style Salad
For the Burgers
- 1 lb lean ground beef (macros are for 91/9)
- mustard, to taste
- salt, to taste
- pepper, to taste
For the Caramelized Onions
- 1 medium onion
- cooking spray
- salt, to taste
For the Salad
- 2 heads of romaine, chopped (or select a pre-bagged romaine for an even simpler prep!)
- 1 tomato, diced
- pickles, diced
- shredded cheddar cheese
- Skinny Spread (see recipe below)
For the Burgers
- Heat a pan over medium heat and spray with cooking spray. Form the ground beef into 4- 4 ounce patties. Season each side well with salt and pepper and mustard, as desired. I used about 1 1/2 tsp total on each patty, but adjust according to how much you like mustard flavor.
- Cook patties over medium heat, until cooked to desired temperature, flipping the patties once.
- Heat a medium sized pan over medium heat. Spray well with cooked spray. Add in the diced onion and cook over medium heat, stirring occasionally, until the onions have turned golden in color. Season with salt, to taste.
To Assemble the Salad
- Lay 150 g of romaine on a plate or inside a medium bowl. Top with 30 g of diced tomatoes, 30 g of caramelized onions, 14 g of shredded cheddar cheese, 30 g of chopped pickles, and one burger patty, chopped if desired. Drizzle with 30 g of skinny spread.
- 120 ml light sour cream
- 45 ml Ketchup
- 30 ml Sweet Relish
- 6 g sugar
- 7 g Distilled White Vinegar
- Combine all ingredients in an airtight container. Refrigerate until ready to use. Give a good stir before serving with burgers and fries!