This retro Frito Taco Salad is packed with flavor and vibrant colors. Serve it as an appetizer, kicked-up side dish or as a delicious entrée any night of the week.
Easy Frito Taco Salad Recipe
Back in the day, this vintage salad was all the rave at potluck gatherings. The original frito salad was more simple and basically consisted of lettuce, tomatoes, taco meat, cheese and fritos dressed with Catalina. Even so, the unexpected combination of taco salad flavors with sweet and tangy Catalina dressing somehow worked. This recipe brings it forward just a bit, while keeping those original flavors intact.
How to Make the BEST Frito Taco Salad Recipe
This salad is super simple to make. I just wanted to give you a few hints for the best way to prepare it.
- Ingredients you’ll need to make homemade Frito Taco Salad: Fritos, ground beef, taco seasoning, onion, olive oil, minced garlic, iceberg lettuce, tomatoes, avocado, salt to taste, sliced black olives, corn, shredded cheddar or colby jack cheese, Catalina salad dressing, jalapeno, green onions, red onion and pinto beans.
- Kitchen tools you’ll need: Skillet, sharp knife and chopping board, measuring cups and spoons, cheese grater, large spoon and tongs for serving.
- I make this salad with iceberg lettuce, as it holds up to being dressed in advance better than other varieties. You can certainly use romaine or a mix of romaine and iceberg, if preferred.
- To save time, prep everything in advance. Package in separate storage bags and assemble shortly before serving.
- Along the same lines, you can also prepare the taco meat in advance. Simply reheat in the microwave before adding to the salad. It shouldn’t be piping hot, just warmed.
- If you prefer less heat, swap out the jalapeno pepper for bell pepper.
- I recommend dressing the salad with 1/2 cup salad dressing then serving the remaining on the side. This way people can adjust the amount to their own taste.
- Likewise, do the same with the fritos. They won’t become soggy immediately but, I wouldn’t recommend adding them to the salad hours in advance of serving. Serve the remaining fritos on the side and people can add more to their serving, if desired.
- The amount of total servings really depends on the appetites of those you’re serving. As a side dish you could easily get 8 servings. As a main dish, closer to 6.
- Store any leftover ingredients in separate plastic baggies chilled in the refrigerator. Reheat ground beef in a saucepan over medium heat or in the microwave.
Side Dishes to Serve with Frito Taco Salad
This salad is a meal all on it’s own, but if you’d like to add to the menu check out these recipe ideas:
- Jalapeno Pepper Jack Cornbread is packed with flavor.
- Skillet Honey Cornbread slathered with butter is a stellar option.
- Homemade Roasted Mexican Corn would be a tasty accompaniment.
- Condiments you may consider would be Fresh Guacamole and Pico de Gallo.
- You may also enjoy this recipe for a Walking Taco Bar from Princess Pinky Girl.
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Helpful Kitchen Items:
Frito Taco Salad
- 1 1/2 lb lean ground beef
- 1 medium onion diced
- 2 Tbsp olive oil
- 1 1 oz packet taco seasoning
- salt to taste
- 2 cloves garlic minced
- 1 large head iceberg lettuce shredded
- 1 15 oz can pinto beans drained
- 1 pint cherry tomatoes sliced
- 1 small red onion diced
- 1 medium jalapeno pepper or small green bell pepper sliced
- 1 4 oz can sliced black olives drained
- 1 1/2 cups shredded colby jack cheese
- 1 16 oz bottle Catalina dressing
- 1 9 oz bag chili cheese or plain fritos
- 1 large avocado diced
- chopped green onion for garnishing optional
- In a large skillet, over medium-high heat cook ground beef with onion in a few drizzles of olive oil. Cook for 10 minutes or until no pink remains. Drain fat from pan. Add taco seasoning and garlic, simmer for another 5-8 minutes. Taste and adjust salt, if needed. Set aside.
- In a large bowl. Toss together lettuce, beans, tomatoes, onion, pepper, olives and cheese. You may reserve some cheese for the top, if desired. Add beef and 1/2 cup dressing. Mix well.
- Toss 1/2 fritos and avocado into salad. Serve immediately with remaining dressing and fritos on the side garnished with green onion, if desired. (If making in advance, toss with dressing, fritos and diced avocado just before serving.)