Mark’s Big-Ass Keto Salad

Inline_Final Fat Bomb SaladFor years now, all those who know me (including readers of the blog) have heard me talk about my daily “big-ass salad.” It’s been my lunch of choice for a couple of decades at least, and I don’t see that ever changing. Over the years I’ve adapted it to my personal tastes, nutritional experiments, and—lately—my keto practice.

Some people minimize vegetable intake when they’re eating keto. I’ve never found that necessary or beneficial. In fact, I highly recommend plenty of above-ground vegetables and even berries for an optimally varied, nutrient-dense keto diet. That’s my Primal take because personally I practice keto with an eye toward strategy, not restriction.

So, what about the fat? With fat comprising up to 75% of keto energy sourcing, you can bet we’re talking about more than lettuce. This salad is no side dish for sure. I get a large portion of my fat intake from it every day—keto weeks included. With a whole avocado, a generous chunk of Emmental cheese (my favorite cheese when I’m in ketosis), and a hefty (i.e. jaw-dropping) dose of my own PRIMAL KITCHEN® Caesar Dressing with all the rich goodness of avocado oil, I literally call this my fat bomb salad. See if it won’t make you a keto salad believer.



  • Lettuce (I prefer a mix of romaine and dark leafy greens.) 
  • Cherry Tomatoes 
  • Chopped Avocado
  • Broccolini 
  • Shaved Emmental Cheese
  • PRIMAL KITCHEN® Caesar Dressing 



Toss together the cut vegetables with mixed greens. Shave my favorite cheese, Emmental, over the entire salad. Smother with PRIMAL KITCHEN® Caesar Dressing (no skimping allowed). Then enjoy. 

Final Fat Bomb Salad

About the Author

Mark Sisson is the founder of Mark’s Daily Apple, godfather to the Primal food and lifestyle movement, and the New York Times bestselling author of The Keto Reset Diet. His latest book is Keto for Life, where he discusses how he combines the keto diet with a Primal lifestyle for optimal health and longevity. Mark is the author of numerous other books as well, including The Primal Blueprint, which was credited with turbocharging the growth of the primal/paleo movement back in 2009. After spending three decades researching and educating folks on why food is the key component to achieving and maintaining optimal wellness, Mark launched Primal Kitchen, a real-food company that creates Primal/paleo, keto, and Whole30-friendly kitchen staples.

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24 thoughts on “Mark’s Big-Ass Keto Salad”

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    1. I would imagine that this is just the “base” of the salad. Mark has said in other posts that he typically takes whatever leftover protien he has on hand and uses that in his salad.

    2. Keto is a 75% fat (or more) 20% protein 5% carb diet. You don’t need protein in every meal.

      1. I’ve been doing a veggie smoothie for lunch this summer – some greens, cucumber, an avocado and tomato juice and sriracha. I have to say, when I eat protein for lunch, I am often not hungry for dinner. When i have my green smoothie, I get hungry a lot earlier.

        1. I think consuming foods in a smoothie form spikes insulin much more rapidly than eating them whole. I’d guess the effect that has on blood sugar could be impacting your hunger levels… Not 100% sure though. Worth looking into

    3. The cheese is protein. Plus there is probably a little protein in his salad dressing (not much).

  2. I make a similar salad daily but with the addition of a soft-hard boil egg/s. I eat Romaine lettuce like there’s no tomorrow, but when I don’t have any, I base the salad on a nice portion of micro or baby greens. FYI, Still hoping for reasonable shipping overseas.

    1. both lists avocado and shows a picture of a whole one in the picture.

  3. My Friday Night Keto Salad- romaine and arugula with cherry tomatoes, broccoli, sardines, hard boiled egg, avocado, onion and Primal avocado oil. Now this is a great start to the weekend.

  4. Question about using dairy – i know primal/paleo doesn’t include dairy but keto does. If paleo/primal is right, why add dairy to keto? Is there a primal-keto diet? I’m new to paleo/primal and now checking out the keto diet that seems to be the new rage. Can someone fill me in on why dairy is back on the table? Thanks!

    1. Jennifer,

      While Primal and paleo are related, they’re not the same. Mark has always sanctioned dairy as long as you can tolerate it, with emphasis on full fat varieties.

      Think about this way. Keto, like Atkins for example, are diets based around limiting or excluding a macro nutrient.

      Primal/ paleo limit or exclude certain foods we haven’t evolved to eat (though Mark’s emphasis is on optimal health, not reenactment).

      You can do Keto or Atkins according to primal/ paleo principles or not (think Atkins bars, low carb bread, artificial sweeteners).

      My wife always says she doesn’t understand the difference between paleo and Atkins. I tell her that Atkins (keto) is explicitly low carb while paleo is not (except in comparison to SAD), although many who switch to paleo are looking to lose weight, and thus tend to also be low carb.

      1. Atkins is not keto. (Keto is HIGH fat, very low carbs and “MODERATE” protein); while (Atkins is HIGH fat, low carbs and “HIGH” protein).

  5. Seriously not trying to be snarky, but this is a small ass salad that’s more fruit than vegetable. I have a lot to learn about keto.

    1. Yeah, it’s a little snarky. You’ll notice there aren’t any amounts listed. The salad can be as big as you want – eat to satiety. For me, if the lettuce covers my plate (I don’t use a bowl), then I put everything else on top, I’m going to be full.

  6. I see those micro greens being used!!! Micro basil is my favorite and super easy to grow your own. And I will use the goat cheese that I make from my goats instead of the Emmental (although I am curious). Also think about adding some pesto!

  7. Sounds a great salad for the starting the day in the morning. All of these vegetables together looks great. I’m probably going to try this recipe in the next few days. Thank you

  8. the salad is indeed Nutrition dense and most important!.I make my own fat bomb for this mixed salad,, tahini butter, avocados, avocado oil, nut butter, and olive oil.. it’s
    for 3 fat ass salads!!

  9. My AST is 88, my ALT is 143 and my Alkaline
    Phosphatase is 297. Probably have fatty liver disease. I’m 79 years old in cancer remission.
    I have Neuropathy and edema. I just started Keto
    10 days ago. I’m insulin resistant and have large
    amount of belly fat. What portions of carbs, protein, and fats do I need for meals that will help with my belly fat. The only exercise I can do is 2 hours on my Cubii. Thanks