This easy Homemade Catalina Dressing Recipe is a quick and delicious way to dress a salad, made in less than 5 minutes! We love using this healthier copycat version of Catalina dressing to make the 1980’s iconic Taco Salad with Catalina Dressing & Doritos! This recipe is naturally vegan and vegetarian friendly.
This Copycat Catalina Dressing Recipe is part of a series which includes my Taco Salad with Catalina Dressing and Doritos and Catalina Grilled Chicken Recipes. I also have created a Keto Catalina Dressing Recipe for those of you whom choose to eat low carb or sugar free diets.
What is Catalina Dressing?
Some sources state that original dressing was created by Kraft Foods which has sold Catalina dressing for many years where as others claim this dressing was inspired by Catalonia (a region of Spain) – where the Catalan people often prepared recipes with a mix of sweet and savory flavors.
According to the product packaging, Here are the ingredients in Kraft Catalina Dressing:
SUGAR, TOMATO PUREE (WATER, TOMATO PASTE), VINEGAR, SOYBEAN OIL, WATER, SALT, CONTAINS LESS THAN 2% OF MODIFIED FOOD STARCH, PHOSPHORIC ACID, DRIED ONIONS, XANTHAN GUM, GUAR GUM, DRIED GARLIC, RED 40, BLUE 1, POTASSIUM SORBATE AND CALCIUM DISODIUM EDTA (TO PROTECT FLAVOR).
Is Bottled Catalina Dressing Healthy?
A common question is catalina dressing healthy, which requires much more detail that just a yes or no. Often “healthy” is determined by a preferred dietary method or program to treat/prevent illness or manage a person’s weight goals.
Over the past few years, Kraft has made changes to many of their products to make them healthier overall. Their catalina dressing no longer contains High Fructose Corn Syrup and does not contain MSG which are definitely steps in the right direction.
However for many people they may need to avoid the use of artificial colors like red 40 and blue 1, while others may choose to avoid ingredients like soybean oil, modified corn starch, xanthan gum, guar gum or potassium sorbet.
I believe very strongly that we don’t need to shun any food (unless there is a true medical necessity) all foods can be a part of a human diet in moderation. However, we can most certainly make a healthier catalina dressing by making my Homemade Catalina Dressing Recipe instead of the store bought bottle!
How to make Catalina Dressing at home
I don’t proclaim to be an expert at all things but I do have TONS of experience making homemade salad dressings ( I have entire dressing section here on my blog and a dedicated FREE ebook coming soon)
I have been making this Homemade Catalina Dressing Recipe for well over 15 years and I’ve tried several different ingredient combinations. Less is more and you absolutely DO NOT need smoked Paprika, Worcestershire sauce or red wine vinegar for a homemade catalina salad dressing recipe – just look at the original ingredients for catalina dressing, those are NOT used!! And while olive oil may be the oil that you’re accustom to using in salad dressings, it’s flavor can be too overwhelming.
Making this copycat Catalina dressing recipe at home is as easy as blending all the ingredients together until smooth. I suggest a high powered blender, like a vitamix for the best results but any blender or handheld blender will work in a pinch.
What ingredients are in Homemade Catalina Dressing?
I prefer to use fresh onion and garlic when I make dressings but you can absolutely use onion powder and garlic powder instead. If you don’t have a blender they make this salad dressing emulsion easier to make by hand, just whisk ingredients together.
How to make Catalina Dressing Healthier
To make a Healthy Catalina Dressing, a great first step is making it homemade using this recipe. You can pretty much always make some improvement with homemade foods since it’s not going to contain any preservatives or artificial colors, compared to it’s bottled counterpart. To take healthifying a step further here are a few suggestions to make homemade catalina dressing healthy:
- Use Organic Ingredients, to eliminate pesticide and GMOs in your food
- Honey instead of sugar, for a healthier sweetener option
- Ferment your ketchup, for added probiotics – see my How to make Fermented Ketchup Recipe post
- Sea Salt instead of iodized table salt for extra minerals
- Apple Cider with the Mother included for health benefits
- Using Avocado Oil (as recommended in the recipe) is the healthiest neutral flavored oil, avoid canola oil , corn or vegetable oil blends.
If you are specifically looking for a homemade catalina dressing sugar free or low carb version of this catalina dressing recipe, check out my Keto Catalina Dressing Recipe which is created specifically tailored to those dietary needs and macro ratios.
How to use Catalina Dressing
Most of us are familiar with Catalina dressing from the iconic Taco Salad made with Doritos Chips from the 1980’s and this is the homemade catalina dressing for taco salad but it is simply a delicious way to dress up a tossed fresh salad on it’s own. It’s also delicious as a kid-friendly taco sauce for tacos or even can be used as a marinade for chicken in Grilled Catalina Chicken Breasts Recipe (coming soon)!
Try a drizzle of homemade catalina dressing on burgers next time they are on your menu rotation and I’ve even found a few cold pasta salad recipes that have used catalina dressing!
Using homemade Catalina dressing as a dip for nacho cheese flavored chips is one of my guilty pleasures, trust me it’s delicious!
kraft catalina dressing recipes –> Anywhere you’d use the store bought version, you can use my Homemade Catalina Dressing Recipe!
The Best Catalina dressing substitute
Catalina dressing is a uniquely flavored dressing. If you don’t have Catalina dressing on hand and/or don’t like the ingredients used in the bottled version, I’ve created this recipe for you!
This Homemade Catalina Dressing Recipe is the perfect bottled catalina salad dressing substitute. However, if you don’t want to make your own, the closest bottled dressing alternative to Catalina is French Dressing. It’s slightly less tangy with a milder flavor but close enough to use in a pinch!
Homemade Catalina Dressing Recipe dressing FAQ
Catalina dressing Substitute
This Homemade Catalina Dressing Recipe is the perfect bottled Catalina Dressing Substitute. However, if you don’t want to make your own, the closest bottled dressing alternative to Catalina is French – they are similar but differed (read more below)
What is the difference between Catalina and French Dressing
Catalina dressing is considered a type of French salad dressing, The main difference between the two is that Catalina dressing tends to be thinner and a brighter shade of red than French dressing.
What is the difference between Catalina and Russian Dressing
Sweet Catalina dressing is sweeter than Russian dressing but it is both sweet and tangy at the same time, which is why it makes a decent substitute option. Sweet Catalina uses oil instead of mayonnaise in it so it may be slightly thinner.
What is the difference between Catalina and Western Dressing
Western has a sweeter, bolder, and much fuller taste than Catalina. Western is also a thicker dressing and Catalina is thinner.
How long does homemade Catalina dressing last?
This Homemade Catalina Dressing Recipe will last 1-2 weeks in the fridge, when stored in an sealed bottle.
Is Catalina dressing Keto Friendly?
The bottled version of Catalina dressing as well as this Homemade Catalina Dressing Recipe are NOT KETO FRIENDLY, since it is high in carbohydrates. However, I have created a KETO Catalina Dressing Recipe for you to try, it tastes the same with only XXg net carbs per serving!
For more Homemade Salad Dressing Recipes, try these:
- Homemade Creamy Italian Dressing
- Jalapeño Avocado Ranch Dressing and Dip
- Honey Poppyseed Dressing
- Easy Healthy Broccoli Slaw Dressing Recipe
- Homemade Ranch Dressing Mix
Homemade Catalina Dressing Recipe
- Combine all ingredients using a blender, process until completely smooth.