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Catalina Frito Salad is a simple salad with plenty of crunch!
Chopped iceberg lettuce tossed with fresh tomatoes, onions, hot chili beans, and plenty of cheddar cheese is topped with crunchy FRITOS® corn chips and Kraft Catalina salad dressing.
The first time I had the pleasure of eating this tasty Catalina Frito Salad, I thought the combination of ingredients seemed a bit strange, but I found that they really worked well together.
This salad takes less than 15 minutes to put together and makes enough to serve a crowd. Make it a hearty meal that stands on its own by adding cooked taco ground beef or chicken.
Why you’re going to love it!
- Simple ingredients.
- Feeds a crowd.
- Easy to prepare.
Catalina Frito Salad: behind the recipe
When our girls were little, we were members of a vibrant young couples church group and at least once a month we were gathering together for a picnic, pool party, or game night.
Everyone would bring a pot-luck dish to share — there were a lot of good cooks in our group! As a result I acquired a lot of tried and true crowd-pleasing recipes, Frito Salad being one of the best!
Armed with a big salad bowl, a large bag of FRITOS®, and a bottle of Kraft Catalina salad dressing, she would laugh and entertain everyone around with her jokes and antics as she tossed the fiesta salad “table-side” just before the meal was served.
Key ingredients and substitutions
- Iceberg lettuce — rinsed and chopped; use a salad spinner to dry the lettuce as much as possible
- Ripe red tomato — use your favorite variety, just be sure it is really ripe for the best flavor!
- Sweet onion or scallions — chopped
- Hot chili beans (canned) — rinsed and drained
- Shredded sharp cheddar cheese
- Frito Corn Chips
- Kraft Catalina Salad Dressing
How to make Catalina Taco Salad ahead of time
Catalina Salad is best eaten immediately after it has been tossed together, so follow these tips if you plan to transport the salad to a picnic or potluck and assemble it on site.
STEP 1 | Prep and pack
- Prep the lettuce—rinse, chop, and dry in a salad spinner—and place in a large bowl with a tight-fitting lid.
- Dice onion and tomatoes and add to the bowl with the lettuce.
- Rinse and drain a can of hot chili beans and place in small bowl with tight fitting lid.
STEP 2 | Toss and serve
- When ready to serve, add the beans, corn chips, and cheese to the bowl of salad.
- Pour the entire bottle of Catalina dressing on top and toss until all ingredients are coated. If you do this step too early, the salad and chips will get soggy.
- If you like, finish the salad by adding some fresh ground pepper on top.
Do you prefer Catalina Salad or Taco Salad?
Cooking a pound of ground beef with taco seasoning and adding to this recipe makes a delicious Mexican Taco Catalina Salad for an easy dinner.
Also, remember this Catalina Salad recipe makes a big ‘ole bowl of salad which makes it perfect for large groups. I think Miss Donna would be proud that I’m sharing her recipe with all of you!
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Catalina Salad with FRITOS® corn chips and Kraft Catalina salad dressing is a big hit at every pot luck or picnic!
- 1 head lettuce cut in layers, then chopped
- 1 large tomato diced
- 1 large sweet onion diced
- 1 can hot chili beans drained and rinsed
- 12 oz. sharp cheddar cheese shredded
- 1 9-1/4-oz. bag Fritos corn chips
- 1 cup Kraft Catalina salad dressing
- Toss together all salad ingredients except for the Fritos and Catalina dressing. Chill until ready to serve.
- Just before serving add the Fritos, partly crushed, and toss with 1 cup Catalina dressing (add more dressing, if desired). Serve immediately.
About Sheila Thigpen
Recipe Developer, Food Photographer, Food Writer
Sheila Thigpen is the publisher of Life, Love, and Good Food — a Southern food blog — and the author of Easy Chicken Cookbook and The 5-Ingredient Fresh and Easy Cookbook. After 20+ years in the publishing industry, she retired in 2018 to focus on her own creative endeavors full time. She and her husband live near the beautiful Smoky Mountains and have a precious little granddaughter who has stolen their hearts. As an influencer, Sheila has collaborated with brands like Creamette, Kroger, HERSHEY’S, Hamilton Beach, Garafalo Pasta, OXO, Smithfield, Valley Fig Growers, and more.