Several years ago, a sweet lady from our church would show up at potluck dinners with her signature Catalina Salad. 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. The first time I had the pleasure of eating this tasty iceberg lettuce salad, I thought the combination of ingredients seemed a bit strange, but I found that they really worked well together. This simple recipe was always the big hit at the potluck! FRITOS® corn chips and Kraft Catalina salad dressing are the stars of this simple salad made with diced fresh tomatoes and onions and plenty of cheddar cheese!
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 and we would enjoy plenty of good food — there were a lot of good cooks in our group! — and plenty of laughter and fun for the adults and kids alike! During those years, certain recipes would be so popular that they would be requested at every event!
I’ve shared some of those tried and true recipes, like today’s Catalina Salad, here on my blog and each time I make them, I can’t help but remember the fun times we had with our young families. I love sharing them with you and don’t want you to miss out on a single one! If you don’t get our newsletter already, please sign up now 🙂
Tips for making Catalina Salad to serve later.
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.
- 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.
- 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.
For this recipe you may need:
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 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!
You may enjoy these other favorite pot-luck recipes that make enough for a crowd:
- Fresh Herb Potato Salad — You can’t have an honest-to-goodness, old-fashioned picnic unless there’s a heaping bowl of homemade potato salad on the table.
- Tangy Cole Slaw — Every good Southern cooks needs a solid cole slaw recipe to go along with pulled pork barbecue or fried catfish and hushpuppies.
- Cool Veggie Pizza Appetizer – An oldie, but goody, this Cool Veggie Pizza Appetizer recipe hits it out of the park when it comes to popularity.
- Poppy Seed Chicken Casserole — Chunks of chicken in a creamy sauce with a crunchy topping of Ritz crackers, poppy seeds, and almonds. Pure comfort food!
- Classic Coca-Cola Chocolate Cake — This no-fuss milk chocolate cake is a definite crowd pleaser—it’s ultra-rich, extremely moist, and a chocolate cake lover’s dream!
Did you make this Catalina Salad recipe?
If you like this recipe, please do me a favor and give it a 5-star rating!
- 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.