|

Taco Salad with Catalina Dressing and Doritos

One of the most iconic salad recipes from my childhood is a 80’s Style Taco Salad with Catalina Dressing and Doritos. This Doritos Taco Salad recipe just screams 1980 but it’s still the perfect easy meal for a week-night yet it’s special enough to serve at a family gathering. A crowd favorite main dish, delicious salad, that always gets rave reviews! And I’ve included how to make this amazing Taco Salad HEALTHIER, too!

Taco Salad with doritos and catalina dressing

Before you ask why I’m sharing a Taco salad with catalina dressing and doritos recipe here on a “healthy” blog I’m going to tell you that I am never going to say that you diet needs to be 100% perfect everyday. It’s totally OK to enjoy a meal that takes you back to your childhood, we’re just not going to do it every day or every meal.

That being said I’m going to ALSO be sharing with you a few tips and tricks to make this taco salad with catalina dressing and doritos recipe healthier with better for you swaps make it fit better into your WOE without sacrificing hard rules for you.

But first let me tall you all about this iconic and completely delicious taco salad from my youth!

What is in a Taco Salad with Catalina Dressing and Doritos

The original salad, as my mom has made it for the past 40 years is made with foods that you can find at any grocery store. It’s budget friendly and not complicated at all to make.

White the combination of ingredients are definitely NOT what you would find in a traditional taco salad recipe, it’s still completely delicious. I call it the 80’s style Taco Salad because that’s when the recipe made it’s rounds and many of us fell in love with it.

Taco Salad with doritos and catalina dressing

Taco Salad with Catalina Dressing and Doritos Ingredients:

Optional additions:

  • Hot Sauce
  • Black Beans, Pinto Beans or Ranch Style Beans can used in addition to, or in place of kidney beans
  • Red Onion or White/Yellow Onions instead of green onions
  • Avocado
  • Sour cream
  • Green pepper
  • Jalapeño pepper
  • Ground Venison, Ground Chicken or Ground Turkey used in place of Beef

There are many variations of this recipe. Don’t be surprised if you find a version that calls for a packet of taco seasoning to be added to the meat mixture. I don’t add it to my taco salad recipe because I think there is more than enough flavor with just ground beef.

Additionally you may decide to try this Taco Salad with Catalina Dressing and Doritos with a wide variety of modifications. Many people use ranch dressing, French dressing or even cool ranch doritos!

Taco Salad with doritos and catalina dressing

How to make a Healthy Taco Salad with Catalina Dressing and Doritos

I’ve said this before and I’ll continue to remind you that I do not feel that we need to fully and permanently exclude any food from our rotation, unless you have a confirmed allergy or intolerance. However, making healthier swaps to everyday foods can be a great way to replace less nutritious foods with better ones, without sacrificing the taste you crave.

And when it comes to an adjective like “healthy” there are countless definitions. None of us may agree completely on what a healthy diet looks like; vegan, vegetarian, paleo, gluten-free, keto, carnivore, etc. are all have vastly different requirements.

So officially my opinion is ‘you do you’ I support whatever kind of healthy diet feels best for your body. There is no one size fits all perfect diet and let’s start supporting each other!

Healthier alternatives to Doritos for Taco Salad

Of course most of the time when we think about “healthy” eating a food like Nacho Cheese Doritos raises an immediate red flag. Luckily we have so many delicious alternatives to using Dorito corn chips with nacho cheese flavoring to fit all different types of healthy diets!

Here are my healthy swaps to use in Taco Salad with Catalina Dressing and Doritos:

Healthier alternatives for Doritos:

Keto alternatives for Doritos:

If you have any suggestions that are NOT included on these healthy alternatives for Doritos, please let me know so that I can add them to the list!!

Healthier alternatives to Catalina Dressing

Catalina dressing is similar in flavor to a French dressing but with little more tangy punch, it’s bright red while French is more of a creamy-orange color.

When purchasing bottled catalina salad dressing you are limited in options. Currently on the market I’ve found the original Catalina Dressing, Lite Catalina Dressing and Fat-Free Catalina Dressing. And depending on your unique health eating template those may not work for you.

Homemade Catalina Dressing Recipe

So I spent time in my kitchen coming up with a couple recipes to help you have a healthier option to Catalina dressing available!

  • If you are looking for an option with cleaner ingredients, try my Homemade Healthy Catalina Dressing Recipe. This recipe uses all real food ingredients and can be sweetened with honey or organic sugar.
  • If you are eating Keto, Low-Carb or Sugar-Free, try my Keto Catalina Dressing Recipe. This recipe is also made with real food ingredients and uses a keto friendly sweetener to keep the carbs as low as possible.

More Healthy Swaps for Taco Salad

  • Vegetarian: omit the ground beef and add more beans with my homemade catalina dressing
  • Vegan: in addition to omitting the ground beef and adding more beans, swap the cheddar cheese for a non-dairy option and Dairy Free Nacho Tortilla Chips. I also suggest adding some chopped avocado along with my homemade catalina dressing
  • Gluten Free: Doritos do not contain any gluten according to the list of ingredients on the bag however they are not certified gluten-free. Meaning that they could have been made in a factory that would cause cross contamination. Choosing to eat Doritos while on a gluten free diet is largely dependent on your unique situation and tolerance. To be completely gluten free the best option are Doritos and my homemade catalina dressing
  • Keto or Low Carb: To keep the carbs low in a taco salad you’re going to want to completely ditch the kidney beans and load up on extra ground beef & cheese. You’ll also want to use my keto catalina dressing and I highly recommend THESE keto Dorito alternatives. Feel free to add sour cream and avocado for some extra fat!
  • Low Fat: To make a low fat taco salad use low fat cheddar cheese, lean ground beef or ground turkey and fat free catalina dressing.
  • Organic: Unlike in the 1980’s, our grocery stores make it easier than ever to swap in organic products and don’t forget to make homemade catalina dressing using all organic ingredients!
  • Paleo: A paleo taco salad would mean that you’ll want to omit the beans, cheese, grains and store bought dressing. Try these Dairy Free Nacho Tortilla Chips or use my homemade nacho kale chips and my homemade catalina dressing.

How to make a Doritos Taco Salad with Catalina Dressing

I always feel kinda silly explaining “how to make” something so simple as a salad, but the ‘google gods’ feels that recipes need to have these sections… so I apologize in advance for this section!

In a large skillet, over medium heat cook your ground beef. Use a wooden spoon to break up any large clumps. Season to taste with salt and pepper.

Drain the cooked ground meat, to remove the excess fat and set aside. For this taco salad, the meat can be used still warm or chilled, depending on your preference.

Combine the salad vegetables in large bowl for family style or in individual serving dishes, if you’d prefer to customize each to suit taste preferences or if making ahead for lunch/meal prep.

Just before serving, dress it up with Catalina dressing and Doritos!

Taco Salad with doritos and catalina dressing

Give it a good toss, to make sure everything is well coated in your Taco Salad with Catalina Dressing and Doritos with that sweet and tangy dressing.

Taco Salad with doritos and catalina dressing

I like to add most of the chips into the salad crumbled into small pieces but reserving large full Dorito nacho chips to arrange around the edge of the bowl to make it look fancy.

Taco Salad with doritos and catalina dressing

Feel free to garnish your Taco Salad with Catalina Dressing and Doritos with a dollop of sour cream and a little cilantro, if you’re feeling fancy, too!

For more salads like this Taco Salad with Catalina Dressing and Doritos try these:

Taco Salad with doritos and catalina dressing

Taco Salad with Catalina Dressing and Doritos Recipe

One of the most iconic salad recipes from my childhood is a Taco salad made with Catalina dressing and Doritos. This Doritos Taco Salad recipe just screams 1980 but it's still the perfect easy meal for a week-night yet it's special enough to serve at a family gathering. A crowd favorite main dish, delicious salad, that always gets rave reviews!
Print Pin Facebook
Prep Time: 5 minutes
Cook Time: 5 minutes
Servings: 6 servings

Ingredients

  • 1 pound Ground Beef cooked, crumbled
  • 1 head Iceberg Lettuce cleaned and chopped
  • 3 medium Tomatoes chopped
  • 1/2 cup Black Olives sliced
  • 1/2 cup green onions sliced
  • 1 cup Cheddar Cheese shredded
  • 1 can Kidney Beans
  • 1 bag Dorito Chips classic nacho flavor
  • 1 bottle Catalina Dressing

Optional add-ons

  • sour cream
  • avocado

Instructions

  • Over medium heat in a large skillet, cook the ground beef until not longer pink. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Drain off excess grease (fat) and set aside to cool.
  • In one large bowl (or individual dishes, if desired) combine all salad ingredients; lettuce, olives, tomatoes, onions, cheese, beans, beef and crumbled chips. Mix well with dressing.
  • Enjoy immediately.

Notes

This recipe is extremely flexible. Omit/add ingredients to suit your taste. 
You can make this taco salad ahead of time, leaving the dressing and chips on the side. Store your pre-made salad in an airtight container in the fridge for an easy meal prep or lunch to go! 

Nutrition

Calories: 423kcal | Carbohydrates: 18g | Protein: 19g | Fat: 30g | Saturated Fat: 11g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 1g | Monounsaturated Fat: 9g | Trans Fat: 1g | Cholesterol: 73mg | Sodium: 829mg | Potassium: 520mg | Fiber: 2g | Sugar: 14g | Vitamin A: 1279IU | Vitamin C: 13mg | Calcium: 181mg | Iron: 2mg
Tried this recipe?Mention @hayley_inthekitchen or tag #hayley_inthekitchen!

Similar Posts