This Taco Salad with Catalina Dressing will become your new family favorite! All the delicious taco flavors come together in this simple salad and topped with the most amazing, tangy Catalina dressing! If you’ve never had a taco salad with Catalina dressing, you have been missing out! The best part is you can make this taco salad and the homemade dressing in less than 30 minutes!
The first time I made this salad, I could not believe how good it was! I’ve made a classic taco salad recipe numerous times – it’s actually on regular rotation at our house. But adding the homemade Catalina dressing takes this easy taco salad to a whole new level.
Catalina dressing is such a throwback product, isn’t it? My grandma always had this dressing in her fridge, and I’m bringing it back to pair it with this delicious Doritos taco salad. And the best part, you can whip up a batch of homemade dressing in 5 minutes with this easy recipe. So ditch the bottled stuff, and let’s get to it!
Make this easy Dorito taco salad recipe as a complete meal – no need to add anything else. It has the perfect combination of hearty protein and fresh veggies and is finished off with a mouthwatering tangy dressing and crunchy Doritos. It’s an easy meal that the whole family will love!
WHY YOU’LL LOVE THIS RECIPE
- Super easy meal, kid-friendly, great for picky eaters! (there’s Doritos in it, need I say more?!)
- Can be prepped ahead of time for a hassle-free dinner and then tossed together just before serving.
- It features the most delicious homemade Catalina dressing you’ll ever have!
- Great recipe for entertaining–it’s always a big hit, and the colorful veggies are eye-catching!!
You’ll need the following ingredients to make this delicious Catalina Taco Salad Recipe:
Ground Turkey: I like using lean ground turkey (93% lean or more) but any ground meat will work. Try lean ground beef or ground chicken to add variety.
Vegetables: A good taco salad always starts with fresh veggies. The great thing about salads is that it gives you the flexibility to use whatever you have on hand. But some classic taco salad veggies include fresh lettuce (romaine or iceberg lettuce both work), fresh tomatoes (grape or cherry tomatoes are best), corn, and red onion.
Doritos: For flavor and crunch! Classic nacho cheese Doritos (original flavor) work best! But if you want to change it up, try Cool Ranch Doritos for a different flavor profile.
Toppings: Cheddar cheese and black olives are a few great options.
Dressing: A tangy blend of ketchup, honey, red wine vinegar, Worcestershire sauce, olive oil, and seasonings is all you need to make homemade Catalina dressing that ties salad together.
HOW TO MAKE DORITO TACO SALAD WITH CATALINA DRESSING: STEP BY STEP
Here are some quick visual instructions. Remember that full instructions with exact ingredients will be in the recipe card below!
Step 1: In a large skillet over medium heat, brown ground turkey with a packet of taco seasoning.
Step 2: To a large bowl, add your lettuce.
Step 3: Whisk all salad dressing ingredients in a small bowl. Or add all dressing ingredients to a medium jar with a tight-fitting lid and shake until ingredients are combined.
Then, add the rest of the ingredients to the bowl of lettuce: meat mixture, tomatoes, corn, shredded cheese, olives, onion, and crushed Doritos. Drizzle with dressing, toss, and serve!
RECIPE TIPS & TRICKS
- Making the dressing in a jar with a tight-fitting lid is the easiest and makes storing any extra convenient.
- Use a potato masher to easily break up your meat as it cooks.
- If you don’t think you will finish the whole salad in one day, toss individual portions with the dressing vs. the entire bowl. This will allow you to store the leftovers without them getting too soggy.
- If you are running short on time, use your favorite brand of Catalina dressing from the grocery store.
🌟CONFIDENCE TIP 🌟
Layer the ingredients in a trifle bowl for layered taco salad for a nice visual presentation. The colorful ingredients are visible, creating an enticing display, perfect for entertaining!
- Store leftover salad (without dressing) in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 3 days. You can store Catalina dressing in a jar or small container up to two weeks in the refrigerator.
ADDITIONS AND SUBSTITUTIONS
Chips: Make this a Fritos taco salad and add crushed crunchy Frito chips instead of Doritos. Or use regular tortilla chips for a more classic twist. Spicy Doritos are yummy, too!
Onion: Swap the red onion with green onions or scallions.
Dressing: Bottled Catalina, French, or ranch dressing works well in a pinch. Or mix Catalina with ranch for a creamy, mouthwatering dressing.
Beans: Give the salad a little protein boost by adding black beans, pinto beans, or kidney beans.
Sour cream: Top with a dollop of sour cream for a finishing touch and add a little creaminess.
Other toppings: Add diced avocado, pico de gallo, bell pepper, or other favorite taco toppings.
FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS
Yes! This delicious taco salad can be made ahead of time for family gatherings, BBQs, and parties!
To make this salad up to 24 hours in advance: Assemble the salad in a large bowl with all the “toppings” (taco meat, tomatoes, corn, cheese, olives, onions) on the bottom of the bowl and the lettuce on top. This will prevent the lettuce from getting soggy. Store the dressing separately.
When you’re ready to serve, toss salad with the dressing, add your crushed Doritos, and serve.
Fun fact: “Catalina” dressing was actually trademarked by Kraft Foods back in the ’60s! It’s a variation of French dressing. However, this quick and simple, homemade Catalina dressing blows the bottled dressing out of the water!
TOOLS FOR THIS RECIPE
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OTHER SALADS YOU’LL LOVE
Dorito Taco Salad with Catalina Dressing
Homemade Catalina Salad Dressing
- 1/2 cup ketchup
- 3 tbsp honey
- 1/3 cup red wine vinegar Sherry vinegar works, too
- 1 tsp smoked paprika sweet paprika is good, too!
- 1 tsp garlic powder
- 2 tsp Worcestershire
- 1/2 tsp black pepper
- 1/3 cup olive oil or vegetable oil
Dorito Taco Salad
- 1 lb. lean ground turkey or lean ground beef
- 2 tsp olive oil
- 1 packet taco seasoning, low sodium if possible or about 2 tablespoons
- 8 cups romaine lettuce, torn or chopped into small pieces or iceberg lettuce
- 1 cup fresh tomatoes
- 1 cup corn (frozen or canned)
- 1 cup sharp cheddar cheese
- 1 3.8 oz. can sliced black olives about one cup
- 1/4 cup red onion, diced
- crushed Doritos, to taste
- Combine all dressing ingredients in a small bowl and whisk together until combined. OR add all ingredients to a medium sized jar and shake until combined. Set aside.
- Heat 2 teaspoons of olive oil in a skillet over medium heat. Add ground turkey and cook 2-3 minutes, breaking up the meat as it cooks. Pro Tip: Using a potato masher when the meat is almost cooked through works really well to break up the meat!
- Drain off excess fat (in necessary) and add in taco seasoning. If your taco seasoning packet calls for water, add that in as well. Cook for 1-2 minutes longer.
- In a large serving bowl, add lettuce.
- To the bowl, add all of your other "toppings" (turkey, tomatoes, corn, olives. cheese and onion).
- Drizzle on Catalina dressing, toss and serve immediately.