With summer’s arrival, backyards across the country are mowed and waiting for the party to begin! The propane tanks are full, the pools are ready for splashing and the patio table is being set. With all of the cookouts we have to look forward to over the next few months, you need a dish you can whip up in no time, travels well and will be the star of any backyard barbecue.
Dorito Taco Salad might be a little retro, but it’s so simple and tasty its popularity has never diminished! Plus, this time of year it can go from summer time party side dish to a light supper for a hot night.
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When the temperatures start to soar I am always looking for big hearty salad meals that will fill us up, but still keep us cool. We eat outside on our deck a lot in the summer and none of us want a big, heavy meal when the sun is blazing down on us. A big taco salad is perfect because of all the fresh veggies, flavorful meat and crunch chips. This one is even more special because it swaps the traditional tortilla chips for zesty Doritos.
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What Is Dorito Taco Salad?
I’m betting if you ever went to a church potluck as a kid, you have eaten, or at least seen, Dorito Taco Salad. It was the go-to recipe for so many gatherings back in the day. Lettuce, tomatoes, beans, cheese, taco meat, cheese and of course Doritos chips come together in one of the most delicious salads ever. The most unique part of this retro classic was/is the dressing. Most recipes call for it to be topped with Catalina dressing, and actually mixed well before serving. That is the way I always had it as a kid, but I know other families enjoy it topped with ranch as well. For my boys, I left the dressing on the side and they topped theirs with salsa and sour cream instead.
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What Is Catalina Dressing?
Catalina dressing is a tomato-based salad dressing that usually contains olive oil, herbs and spices and a dash of hot sauce. While it can look similar to French, it tends to be darker in color, a tad sweeter and has a little extra tangy flavor. It is often used in marinades for beef, pork and chicken as well. Many times it is used in sauces for Chinese food as well, so you might have had it in that box of take out without even knowing it.
How To Make Dorito Taco Salad
This is a quick dish to assemble, so be sure you have all the ingredients gathered beforehand. The ground beef should be browned with the taco seasoning and water according to package directions. Then it’s going to need time to cool down before mixing the salad. I like to make mine in the morning and then have it in the fridge waiting on me at supper or party time.
Chop your lettuce, peppers and tomatoes. When using tomatoes in salads, I prefer to seed them to avoid too much moisture in the dish. Simply cut the tomato in half and use a spoon to scoop out the seeds inside before chopping.
In a large bowl combine the lettuce, peppers, tomatoes, black beans and ground beef. Pinto beans would also work well if you enjoy those. And to add a little zip, a can of Rotel or diced green chilies would be perfect.
The final step is to gently fold in chips, cheese and dressing. However, if I am taking this to a cookout or potluck, I stop right here. Leaving the chips and cheese on top, with no dressing, prevents the salad from getting too soggy and the chips losing their crispness. My boys don’t enjoy the Catalina dressing, so I serve it on the side, and I do the same if offering to a group so those who remember the classic flavor can pour it on!
Dorito Taco Salad is one of those recipes from our childhood that even if we haven’t thought about it in years, the minute we take that first bite we are reminded how much we loved it. I know it will be on my summer supper menu a lot this year, and would be the star of your next cookout too!
Dorito Taco Salad
- 1-lb ground beef
- 1 large head iceberg lettuce, chopped
- 1 red bell pepper, diced
- 1 yellow bell pepper, diced
- 1 (15-oz) can black beans, rinsed and drained
- 1 packet taco seasoning
- ⅔ cup water
- 5 Roma tomatoes, seeded and chopped
- 1 (9-oz) bag Doritos nacho flavored chips, crushed
- 1 cup shredded sharp cheddar cheese
- 1 (16-oz) bottle Catalina dressing
- sour cream
- pickled jalapenos
In a large skillet brown beef until no longer pink.
Drain if necessary.
Add taco seasoning and water.
Bring to a boil.
Reduce heat and summer for 5 minutes until thickened.
Remove from skillet to bowl and allow to cool.
While meat cools, chop lettuce, peppers and tomatoes.
In a large bowl combine lettuce, peppers, tomatoes, beans and ground beef mixture.
Gently fold in cheese and crushed chips.
Serve immediately with dressing on side.
Serve with sour cream and pickled jalapenos if desired.
Krista Marshall is the creator of Everyday Mom’s Meals and a full time stay at home mom. She lives in northern Indiana with her husband of 17 years and their two amazing and busy sons, age 16 and 4. Everyday Mom’s Meals is for everyone from the novice cook to the experienced home chef. Krista wants to get families around the table with simply made, delicious food. You can follow her on Facebook, Pinterest, Instagram and Twitter too!