When I think of Catalina, images of old Hollywood glamor and beaches filled with the likes of John Wayne, Joan Crawford or Marilyn Monroe spring to mind.  That’s Santa Catalina Island off the coast of California, of course- Hollywood’s playground and location for more movies that I can count. Then there’s also Catalonia in Spain.  It has it own marvelous beaches, Barcelona as its capital and other considerable claims to fame.  There’s just no getting around it.  It seems everything that has anything to do with Catalina is pretty fancy.  And maybe that’s why this Catalina Taco Salad has been showing up at every picnic and backyard potluck since bouffants and pedal pushers hit the scene.

Taco salad with corn chips in a blue bowl.

Scripture: If there is any excellence, anything worthy of praise, think about these things. Philippians 4:8

This retro salad full of crunchy Fritos, Ranch Style beans, and tangy Catalina Dressing is a great side dish.  But throw in a little ground beef seasoned just right, and it makes an incredibly good complete meal too.  It’s a serious favorite here at my house.  Catalina Taco Salad shows up frequently on our summer menu because it’s quick and easy and doesn’t leave you feeling stuffed.  And believe it or not, it’s my guys who are this salad’s biggest fans!  One mention to my teenage son that we’re having “that salad with the Fritos” and he is off like a shot to procure the biggest bowl allowed so that he doesn’t miss out on one bite of this special meal.

What You’ll Need to Make Catalina Taco Salad:

  • Romaine lettuce
  • Iceberg lettuce
  • red cabbage
  • matchstick carrots
  • green onions
  • chopped tomatoes
  • ground meat
  • taco seasoning
  • Ranch Style Beans
  • Fritos corn chips
  • Catalina dressing

Let’s Get Started:

Bowls full of lettuce, cabbage, tomatoes, carrots, onions, and beans for Catalina Taco Salad.

Look at all those wonderful colors!  I love dishes with lots of color.  First, that usually means they contain a well-rounded dose of vitamins and nutrients.  Secondly, isn’t eating with your eyes almost as marvelous as tasting it?  Ok, not literally eating with your eyes, but you know what I mean.  A panoply of color promises loads of flavor and texture! 

Two blue bowls full of Catalina Taco Salad

Not to mention, this salad is a perfect way to use all those fresh veggies from your local farmer’s market.  And as summer heats up, the veggies will only get sweeter and more tasty!  

Catalina Frito Salad in a blue bowl with Catalina dressing in a jar to the side.

As I mentioned earlier, without the addition of taco seasoned beef, this salad is a great side dish.  It makes a great companion for burgers when you’re looking for something other than potato salad, chips or pasta salad to complete your next cookout.  But with the seasoned beef, this Catalina salad becomes one killer taco salad that will have everyone coming back for seconds.

Catalina dressing being poured over a taco salad.

Let’s not forget the Catalina dressing.  It is after all what sets this salad apart.  There is just something about this tangy tomato-based dressing that really makes this salad in a class all by itself.  A little sweet, a little savory, a lot of summer.  The dressing is what it’s all about.

(Check out this Easy Homemade Catalina Dressing Recipe!)

A forkful of Catalina Taco Salad.

***Pin This Salad Recipe Here!***

Catalina Taco Salad, sometimes also called Catalina Frito Salad is a perfect summer meal! #catalinadressing #salad #tacosalad #summermenu #cornchips #summerrecipe

Here are a few salad essentials you’ll need to prep and serve a fantastic salad!

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Love this salad recipe?  Then might love these salads with homemade dressings too!

Homemade Smoky Catalina Dressing

Hearty Green Salad with Pears, Figs, & Molasses Vinaigrette

Apple, Cheese & Celery Salad

Easy Melon Salad with Rotisserie Chicken & Garlic Vinaigrette


Catalina Taco Salad

If there is any excellence, anything worthy of praise, think on these things. Philippians 4:8
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Prep Time: 20 minutes
Cook Time: 10 minutes
Total Time: 30 minutes
Servings: 6


  • 4 C chopped Romaine lettuce
  • 2 C chopped Iceberg lettuce
  • 1/2- 1 C chopped red cabbage
  • 1/2 C matchstick carrots
  • 1/2 C chopped green onion
  • 2 C chopped tomatoes
  • 1 lb. ground beef
  • taco seasoning
  • 1 15 oz can Ranch Style beans
  • 1 9.25 oz bag Frito corn chips
  • Catalina salad dressing


  • Brown ground beef. Add taco seasoning. Set aside to cool to room temperature.
  • Rinse and drain beans well.
  • Mix together lettuces and cabbage.
  • Add carrots, green onions, tomatoes and beans. Toss lightly.
  • Add ground beef and Fritos. Toss lightly again, making sure the tomatoes, beans, chips, and beef are well distributed.
  • Add dressing. Toss lightly one final time.
  • Serve immediately.


If not serving immediately, do not add Fritos or dressing. Set aside and add just before serving so that the corn chips stay fresh and crunchy.

Check out this and other great recipes on Weekend Potluck!