Growing up, taco Salad night in my house never included Doritos, but my husband and kids are huge fans of the cheesy nacho chip so we started adding them to our taco salads. If you’re not a fan or are looking to cut carbs then leave this ingredient out of your taco salad topping’s list or try another chip like tortilla chips or lime-flavored Fritos.
One thing that was always included in our taco salad night was Catalina salad dressing. If you’re in a hurry then stick to the classic Catalina dressing that you can buy from your local grocery store, but if you have the time and ingredients then try making your own Catalina salad dressing to top this classic salad. I’ve included the recipe below.
When we moved outside of the U.S., we couldn’t find Catalina dressing in any grocery store, but we could find all of the other ingredients to make a great taco salad. Rather than skip taco salad nights I found a couple of recipes online for Catalina dressing and adapted them to our liking.
If you’re not a fan of Catalina salad dressing then top this salad with sour cream and your favorite salsa, or a lime ranch dressing.
This is a great meal to teach your kids how to cook if they love helping out in the kitchen. Kids could easily help out by browning and seasoning the ground beef, chopping the vegetables for the salad, and measuring out the dressing ingredients, if you are making the homemade dressing.
To make this a vegetarian meal, replace the beef with your favorite meat alternative, or a protein like chopped up tofu, lentils, kidney, black beans, or pinto beans.
Whether you’re looking for the classic flavors of childhood, or want to try a new recipe, you’re sure to enjoy this quick weeknight meal. With minimal effort a tasty dinner is ready in no time!
For the Catalina salad dressing:
For the salad:
For the Dressing:
First make the dressing by mixing all of the salad dressing ingredients listed above together.
I mix all of my ingredients up in my small ninja blender container or in a mason jar and store the dressing in the fridge until the salads are ready.
For the Taco Salad:
Chop up the tomatoes, lettuce, and onions if using and shred the cheese. Base how much lettuce you will need based on your family’s size. A family of 4 probably needs an entire head of Iceberg lettuce or 2 heads of Romaine lettuce.
Brown one pound of ground beef in a nonstick skillet. Drain the grease and season the meat with taco seasoning (homemade or from a packet). Follow the directions for cooking. I sprinkle various spices over my lean ground beef as it cooks and then tip the pan and spoon off any excess grease. I use 1/2 tsp. of salt, 1/4 tsp. of pepper, 1/2 tsp. of cumin, 1/2 tsp. of chili powder, 1/2 tsp. of garlic powder, 1 tsp. of dried minced onions, 1/2 tsp. of oregano.
In a large salad bowl or on a large plate start building your salad by adding chopped lettuce, diced tomatoes, crushed Doritos, shredded cheddar cheese, ground beef, and sliced green onions (optional).
I don’t mix it all in a large bowl because my husband and I like different levels of salad dressing on our salad, so I leave it for each person to add as much Catalina dressing as he/she wants.
Other optional toppings include black beans, black olives and green or purple onions, and sour cream.