Cold Taco Salad with Doritos – Cooking with Kids

This cold taco salad makes for our third post for Kids’ Kitchen Monthly Blog Hop with some other bloggers from the Kid Bloggers Network. Our first two Kids’ Kitchen posts included butter cookies and Tex-Mex migas. This month’s theme is picnic foods. 

Cold Taco Salad - Cooking with Kids - The Gifted Gabber

We had family over a few weeks ago, and I knew we needed something quick and easy to serve for lunch right after church on Sunday. We were not planning on taking a picnic on this particular day, but this cold taco salad would be great to throw into an ice cooler and take along on a picnic. Since it contains ground beef and cheese, it does need to stay chilled. This recipe was given to me by one of my teacher friends. Sadly, she moved away several years ago and no longer teaches at my school, but this cold taco salad recipe is her go-to potluck dish!

Scooter Britches was able to help with a great deal of the prep. Of course, I prepared the taco meat ahead of time so she wouldn’t have to wait around on that step. My dad chopped the tomatoes. At three-years-old, SB’s patience is often lacking when it comes to certain recipe steps. I just prep the things I know are dangerous or out of her ability in advance when I can.

Before church on Sunday, we added the cooked and chilled taco meat to a large bowl. Then, we added the cheese, olives, tomatoes, and beans.

Cold Taco Salad - Cooking with Kids

She enjoyed pouring the Catalina into the taco meat. I had to monitor this step more closely to ensure she didn’t pour more than the 1/2 bottle I wanted.

Cold Taco Salad - Cooking with Kids

Cold Taco Salad - Cooking with Kids

Cold Taco Salad - Cooking with Kids

I put the bowl back in the refrigerator until after church.

After church, we pulled out the bowl and added the rest of the ingredients: the Doritos and the lettuce.

Cold Taco Salad - Cooking with Kids

Cold Taco Salad - Cooking with Kids

SB really enjoyed helping to crush the Doritos and pouring them into the bowl. And, yes, we did have a hair bow switch since the white one was lost at church that morning. Observant one, aren’t you?

She added a bit more cheese.

Our cold taco salad lunch was ready to be served!

Cold Taco Salad - Cooking with Kids

Cold Taco Salad - Cooking with Kids

Cold Taco Salad - Cooking with Kids

Please swing by and visit the other Kids’ Kitchen features for the month of May:

Kids’ Kitchen: Teddy Bear Picnic Recipes | Sugar, Spice & Glitter

Tea Sandwiches | Royal Little Lambs

Cold Taco Salad | The Gifted Gabber

How to Have a Healthy and Courteous Tea Party Picnic | Living Montessori Now

Greek Pasta Salad | Kitchen Counter Chronicles

Easy Chocolate Chip Cookies | Mess for Less


Cold Taco Salad with Doritos – Cooking with Kids


  • 1/2 large bag Doritos, crushed into smaller pieces
  • 3/4 bottle Catalina salad dressing
  • 2 cups grated Cheddar or Cheddar Jack cheese
  • 1.5 lbs ground beef
  • 2 packs of taco seasoning
  • 1.5 cups of water
  • 2 cups of salad mix of your choice (Romaine, Iceberg, Mixed Greens, etc.)
  • 3 Roma tomatoes, chopped and drained
  • 1 can sliced black olives
  • 1 can kidney beans or black beans, drained


  1. Brown the ground beef and drain.
  2. Return beef to pan.
  3. Add taco seasoning and 1.5 cups of water and bring to a simmer for about five more minutes.
  4. Allow meat to cool.
  5. In a large bowl, add the cooked and drained meat and most of the grated cheese, reserving just a little.
  6. Mix in 1/2 bottle of Catalina dressing.
  7. Add tomatoes, olives, and beans.
  8. Stir well.
  9. If you are serving immediately, add in the crushed Doritos and two cups of lettuce and mix well before serving.Sprinkle additional cheese and more Catalina, if desired.
  10. If you are serving later, refrigerate the bowl of taco meat and toppings. Just before serving, add the crushed Doritos and two cups of lettuce to the chilled meat mixture. Mix well and serve. Sprinkle additional cheese and more Catalina, if desired.
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Linking up my cold taco salad at these link ups:

All About You (Tuesdays)
Too Cute Tuesday (Tuesdays)
Inspire Me Wednesdays (Wednesdays)


  1. Stacey says:

    We make this too and just love it. I don’t usually put it together ahead of time but that’s such a good idea. Your daughter is so precious and I know she loved cooking. 🙂

    Happy Thoughts of Home ♥

    • The Gifted Gabber says:

      Stacey, I don’t always put it together ahead of time either especially if it is just the four of us eating for dinner, but it works out perfectly for potlucks and after-church gatherings. Thank you!

  2. Laura says:

    Catalina dressing is magic, isn’t it?
    This is not just a kid friendly recipe- but an adult one as well.
    Thank you for sharing this at Thoughts of Home.


  3. Erica D says:

    This salad looks yummy! I recently tried a hot taco casserole type dish that used Doritos chips and it worked out so well. A cold salad with Doritos?? My daughter will be on love!

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