Catalina Taco Salad

Catalina Taco Salad – A taco salad made with Catalina dressing & Fritos has been such a staple in my diet, especially for lunch, for so many decades, I can’t believe I haven’t shared it before now. The recipe is super easy and easily adjusted to suit your own individual taste!


For my family, it all started in the mid 70s when a neighbor gave the recipe to my mother. She began taking it to lady’s luncheons, as well as serving it at home, where it was always a hit. I’ve taken it to many lady’s meetings and church dinners myself and am always asked for the recipe.

History of Taco Salad

Catalina Taco Salad is just one of many variations of the Tex-Mex dish that took the American kitchen by storm more than 50 years ago. Click here to learn more about this much loved meal that is more American than Mexican.

Helpful Hints

Quantities will vary based on the amount you are making. When fixing it for myself for lunch, I make an individual bowl, not enough to serve a family. Soggy corn chips do not make good leftovers. Since beans do not come in individual serving size, rinse and drain the whole can, then store what you don’t use in Tupperware in the fridge. I usually get three salads from one can, but I┬áleave out the meat when I make it just for myself and use more beans. When I fix it for the family or take it to a dinner, I add the meat. I also never add onions. Never.

Leaving Fritos whole makes for a prettier salad, crumbling them makes it easier to eat.

If taking to a dinner or luncheon, take the cheese, corn chips, and dressing separately and add right before serving.

Catalina Taco Salad Recipe


  • lettuce
  • canned pinto beans, rinsed & drained – 1 can for average size family
  • ground beef – 1/2 lb for an average size family
  • diced tomatoes
  • diced onions
  • shredded cheese, cheddar or Colby jack
  • Fritos corn chips
  • Catalina dressing – Follow link to recipe to make your own Catalina dressing.


  1. Cook & drain beef. Season with salt to taste. Set aside.
  2. Wash & drain lettuce. Tear or chop the amount needed into bowl.
  3. Add desired ingredients in the amount needed.
  4. Toss with dressing.

*image from Taste of Home

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