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Mom’s Frito Taco Salad with Catalina Dressing

This Frito Taco Salad with Catalina Dressing is hands down, the best Frito salad recipe out there! The salad is always the standout “salad dish” for potlucks!  

The Fritos and taco seasoned beef, combine perfectly with the sweet and tangy flavor of the Catalina Dressing for a flavorful taco salad everyone enjoys. 

Frito Salad

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Mom’s Frito Taco Salad with Catalina Dressing

We have a family get together planned on Sunday at my sister-in-law’s house and have been asked to bring a dish.  I decided my Mom’s Frito Taco Salad with Catalina Dressing recipe will be perfect.  It’s such a great salad recipe and always gets polished off whenever I take it to a potluck.

With the holiday weekend coming up, I figured I’m not the only one trying to think of a dish to bring to a potluck, so I thought the taco salad recipe would be a perfect recipe to share with you guys today.

Frito Salad

Why You Should Make this Frito Taco Salad

Can I just admit right now, that it’s been so long since I made this Frito Taco Salad – I forgot how delicious it really is!

And before you ask, yes, salads can be a main dish! The only issue you might face with a salad for dinner is that when you say the word “salad”, some kids will automatically complain! (I’ve got one that will try anything and another that complains about everything not made with chicken and can’t be cooked in the air fryer, lol.)

The greatest thing about a Frito Salad is the FRITOS!

It’s amazing what a few salty, crunchy corn chips sprinkled into a salad will do. Kids gobble it up!

There is just something about the Fritos, Catalina dressing and taco flavors that go together just perfectly.

Ingredients in a Frito Taco Salad

frito taco salad ingredients

Want to Give this recipe a try? Make sure to add these ingredients to your grocery list:

  • 1lb of lean ground beef (or turkey)
  • taco seasoning
  • 8 to 10 cups of romaine or iceberg lettuce, chopped.  
  • 1 can of black or pinto beans, drained
  • 1 cup of corn
  • 2 tomatoes, chopped
  • 1.5 cups of shredded cheese
  • 2 cups of Fritos
  • Catalina Dressing
  • optional toppings:  chopped green onions or black olives

 

How to Make this Taco Salad Recipe

(Scroll to the bottom for the Printable Recipe Card.)

  1. Brown the ground meat, adding the package of taco seasoning in towards the end (If your taco seasoning is in bulk, use 2.5 tablespoons.)
    Tip: Don’t break the ground beef up in too small of pieces – larger bites of taco seasoned ground beef are just tastier.
  2. Remove from heat and drain if needed.  
  3. In a large bowl, add all the ingredients to the salad and mix everything together.
  4. Combine well, making sure everything is coated with the dressing.
    How to make a Frito Taco salad
  5. Top with extra Fritos and desired extra toppings. Serve immediately!

 

Can I Use Turkey Instead of Beef

Of course! This Frito Taco Salad with Catalina Dressing is traditionally made with ground beef, but I’ll sometimes substitute turkey or even shredded chicken and it is just as good!

Can I Make the Salad Ahead of Time

Once prepared and dressing is added, you should serve the Taco Salad immediately. But, if you want to put the salad together ahead of time for a party or potluck, mix the cooked and seasoned beef with the beans and corn and place in one container and the lettuce, tomatoes, and cheese in their separate bags.

Once you are on location and ready to serve, combine everything, adding the Fritos and Catalina Dressing to the salad last.

Another fun idea would be to serve the salad and all the ingredients “buffet style”. That way your guests can pick and choose what to add and how much to their salads. (Kind of like a taco bar, but it’s a taco salad bar!)

Frito Salad with catalina dressing

Want More Potluck Dish Ideas? Check these out:

Printable Frito Taco Salad Recipe Card:

Print
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Frito Salad

Mom’s Frito Taco Salad with Catalina Dressing

  • Author: Jamie Sanders
  • Prep Time: 20
  • Cook Time: 1
  • Total Time: 25 minutes
  • Yield: serves 5 to 6 1x
  • Category: salad
  • Method: stovetop

Description

This Frito Taco Salad with Catalina Dressing is always the standout “salad dish” for potlucks!  The Fritos and taco seasoned beef, combine perfectly with the sweet and tangy flavor of the Catalina Dressing for a flavorful taco salad everyone enjoys.


Ingredients

Scale
  • 8 to 10 cups of romaine or iceberg lettuce, chopped.  (Or whatever looks like enough to feed your family.)
  • 1lb of lean ground beef (or turkey)
  • 1 package of taco seasoning (or 2.5 tablespoons bulk seasoning)
  • 1 can of black or pinto beans, drained (pintos are best)
  • 1 cup of corn
  • 2 tomatoes, chopped
  • 1.5 cups of shredded cheese
    2 cups of Fritos
  • Catalina Dressing  (use your judgment on the amount.)
  • (optional toppings:  chopped green onions or black olives)

Instructions

  1. Brown the ground meat, adding the package of taco seasoning in towards the end (If your taco seasoning is in bulk, use 2.5 tablespoons.)
    Tip: Don’t break the ground beef up in too small of pieces – larger bites of taco seasoned ground beef are just tastier.
  2. Remove from heat and drain if needed.
  3. In a large bowl, add all the ingredients to the salad and mix everything together. Combine well, making sure everything is coated with the dressing.
  4. Top with extra Fritos and desired extra toppings. Serve immediately!

Notes

If you want to put this together ahead of time for a party or potluck, mix the cooked and seasoned beef with the beans and corn and place in one container and the lettuce, tomatoes, and cheese in their separate bags. Once you are on location, combine everything, adding the Fritos and Catalina dressing to the salad last.


Nutrition

  • Calories: 504
  • Sugar: 14
  • Fat: 29
  • Carbohydrates: 38
  • Fiber: 5
  • Protein: 24

Keywords: frito taco salad, taco salad, frito taco salad with catalina dressing

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moms taco salad with fritos

 

35 Comments

  1. Turned out delicious. Used nacho cheese Doritos and pinto beans with french dressing.

  2. Everyone liked it! That’s great for picky eaters!

  3. Thanks, Jamie, for posting this recipe! I had forgotten all about it – loved it as kids 🙂 Have a great 4th of July!

    1. I’ts so goo right? I originally posted this in 2011 (I left one of the original images at the very bottom.) We made it for fathers day this year, so I planned a head and got new photos!

  4. I love this salad! The last time I made it I used taco flavored Doritos in place of the Fritos and I thought it was even better!

  5. I made this salad, but I make layers….same ingredients. Everyone enjoyed it!

  6. Thank you for being so generous to share this. I had it at a church potluck and have been trying to find the recipe. I love the combination of sweet, spicy, and crunchy.

  7. I am 75 years old, and I have had this recipe for at least 30 years. It is very good but sometimes can’t find Catalina dressing. I too live in Texas.

    1. Look up 60’s catalina dressing recipe
      online.dere6

  8. I am looking forward to trying this. My mother used to make this salad and I remember loving it. Sadly, she passed before I had the chance to get the recipe from her, as she was a recipe in my head kind of person. I like another posters idea of letting people build their own and I think I might do the same since I have picky eaters. Thanks for giving me the change to re-live my childhood!

  9. I usually make all the fixings and let my family (8 of us!) put their own salads together–their choice of dressing, ratio of toppings, etc. I made this last night and it got a 7/8. (My youngest thought the Catalina dressing was “too sweet”.) So, overall, we rated this one a “keeper”.

  10. Made this for my bunco group last week, it was amazing. Even had people asking for the recipe.

  11. I tried this salad last night. It was good however I did not think the salad dressing went well with a taco salad. Don’t get me wrong the dressing is delicious just not the best for a Mexican salad. I am in CA and we have fantastic Mexican food. So I will stick with my Spicy Avocado Dressing or Chipotle Honey Vinaigrette. I just wanted to try this and see if I would like it better than what I was using.

  12. This is a great dish, my whole Family and everybody at my work loves it and never seconds.

  13. My mom always made this salad, oh this brings back great memories!! Sharing on Pinterest and Twitter 🙂

    xo, Tanya
    twelveOeight

    1. I’ve made this for 40 years it’s always a hit I just love it

  14. No joke–I was just telling my husband about my Mom's Taco Salad recipe two days ago and then I saw this–the same recipe! The only difference is sometimes my Mom would use doritos instead of fritos–whatever she had handy. I'm making it this week! Thanks for the recipe! 🙂

  15. I thought I was the only one who put Catalina dressing on my taco salad! Ah, the validation I feel now is nearly overwhelming.
    When I make this, I also cook half an onion with the meat. Yum!

    1. This is a wonderful vintage recipe. In fact, without the Catalina—which is THE original dressing for taco salad, it can be disappointing. But this recipe is THE BOMB. I wouldn’t make it without the Fritos and the Catalina. Great find. Make it and you’ll agree.

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