Mom’s Frito Taco Salad with Catalina Dressing

by Erin

This retro frito taco salad recipe came out of my mom’s recipe box. Made with spinach, taco seasoned ground meat, onion, tomato, pinto beans, radish, cheese, Catalina dressing, and of course Fritos corn chips.

Frito Taco Salad with Catalina Dressing.

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This Frito Taco Salad is the next recipe card that I pulled from those that my mom gave me over the years. But she often didn’t supply a source so I initially wasn’t entirely sure where this one originated.

While searching the internet to determine if this was one of her own creations, I discovered that there are many interpretations of the same dish. Some use Romaine lettuce, beans, corn, or taco seasoning, bur the most consistent thing was ground meat, Catalina dressing, and Fritos corn chips.

Making Mom’s Frito Taco Salad with Catalina Dressing.

Her recipe originally did not call for taco seasoning (just salt and pepper) or pinto beans but I decided to add them because I felt like to be a taco salad it needed taco seasoning, right? After all, where would the taco flavor come from if I didn’t use the taco seasoning? But she did use spinach (albeit half as much) instead of Romaine and radishes so I kept those.

Have you ever had a Frito taco salad before? What’s in your version? This salad actually reminds me a lot of a Doritos salad or as I made it, Cheetos salad. Also similar to a walking taco, or again in my case a Cheetos walking taco (do you see the trend here?).

Mom’s Frito Taco Salad with Catalina Dressing.

Frito Taco Salad with Catalina Dressing.


Yield: 4 servings Prep Time: Cooking Time:
Nutrition facts: 200 calories 20 grams fat


  • 1 Tbsp olive oil 1 lb. ground beef or turkey
  • 1 package of taco seasoning (or 2.5 Tbsp homemade)
  • 1/3 + 1/2 cup Catalina dressing
  • 1/4 cup chopped onion
  • 5 oz. fresh baby spinach
  • 1 large tomato, diced
  • 1/2 cup sliced radishes
  • 1 (14 oz.) can pinto beans, rinsed and drained
  • 1 cup shredded cheddar cheese (or a blend)
  • 16 oz. bag Fritos corn chips


  1. Add oil to a large skillet over medium heat. Once hot, add meat and brown, breaking into smaller pieces, until no longer pink on the outside, about 5 minutes. Add taco seasoning, 1/3 cup dressing, onion, and simmer for 5 more minutes. Remove from heat and set aside to cool slightly.
  2. In a large bowl, combine spinach, tomato, radish, beans, cheese, and remaining 1/2 cup dressing*. Add meat mixture and and Fritos, then toss to combine. Serve immediately.


*Stop here if you are preparing ahead of time. Otherwise the Fritos will get soggy.

Did You Make This Recipe?
I want to see! Tag me on Instagram at @TheSpiffyCookie and hashtag it #TheSpiffyCookie.

Source: My mom gave me this recipe in May of 2007, but while digging through old recipe boxes of hers I found a similar recipe from a Charlene Reid of West Junior High School that originally used 1/2 head of lettuce.

Did you make this recipe? I want to see! Tag @THESPIFFYCOOKIE on Instagram and hashtag it #THESPIFFYCOOKIE

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1 comment

Cheetos Walking Tacos January 18, 2023 - 1:14 pm

[…] discussion started when I mentioned I was going to make walking tacos with Cheetos instead of Fritos (much like my Cheetos salad instead of Doritos) and my friend had not heard of such a thing. To be […]


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