Homemade Catalina Dressing

Catalina Dresing

I’m sorry Mom, but I was never crazy about the salad you served when I was growing up. Chopped iceberg lettuce, carrots, celery, radish and cucumber served with a selection of bottled Ranch, Thousand Island or Catalina Dressing. Every once in awhile she’d get exotic and we’d find a bottle of Creamy Cucumber or Green Goddess on the table.

I can’t remember exactly when I first discovered there were actually other types of lettuce than iceberg, but I do know that when I did I went salad crazy. And with the countless recipes of vinaigrette’s that I’ve collected over the years, you will hardly find me on the bottled dressing isle. I do have to admit however, that I still grab a packet of Hidden Valley. Love their Buttermilk Ranch.

When I saw this recipe for Homemade Catalina Dressing, I decided to take a walk down memory lane and give it a try. It’s somewhat similar to the bottled I remember from years ago, but with more flavor, more tang and more pizazz. We loved it and have been drizzling it all week for a quick salad side dish.  And if you’re looking for a sugar free version, I found this recipe.

Let’s take a look.

5.0 from 1 reviews
Homemade Catalina Dressing
Recipe type: Dressing
Cuisine: American
  • ½ C. Sugar
  • 2 teaspoons salt
  • ¼ t. paprika
  • ½ teaspoon chili powder
  • ½ teaspoon dry mustard
  • grated onion to taste
  • ½ cup cider vinegar
  • ⅔ cup ketchup
  • 1 cup olive oil
  1. Place all ingredients into blender and mix. Pour into a jar and store in the refrigerator.

Homemade Catalina Dressing…It’s What’s for Dressing a Salad.

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  1. says

    As much as I love salads, I don’t believe I’ve ever tasted Catalina dressing that I can remember. How fun that you made your own. I refuse to buy bottled dressings and think making your own is the only way to go.

    I will add that I was never a big salad lover until I discovered romaine lettuce (iceberg would never do again), then I moved on to the baby greens and I’ve never looked back.

    • says

      I think it was made by Wishbone. It’s a lot like the bottled French dressing, but I think a little tangier. And yes, all of those beautiful greens we can choose from now. I’m really liking Mache.

  2. says

    Like Sam, I can’t remember having Catalina and like you, I’m not a fan of bottled salad dressings. They all seem to have this same “wang” flavor that I don’t care for.

    • says

      I don’t even like the gourmet bottled dressings that Whole Foods have. Maybe it’s because I’ve been making my own so long. I’ve become very picky.

  3. says

    Homemade dressing is so good and so easy to make. I’ll be trying this on my next salad. Seeing yours here with artichokes and green bell peppers, I am inspired to get out the salad bowl.

    • says

      Speaking of salad bowls. I got the most beautiful wooden bowl for Christmas. It needs to appear in a blog very soon. Thanks for the reminder. :) I agree Karen. They are so easy to make.

    • says

      Mayo and iceberg… I’d have to admit that does make my mom’s salads exotic. Thanks for the visit and the comment Karen. Always good to hear from you.

  4. says

    I don’t even remember eating salads when I was a kid! Haha… that explains a lot. Really, with a recipe this simple, why don’t we all make our own dressings?! Beautiful plate of salad!

  5. says

    Oh my gosh, that is so my mom too! Catalina all the time! And iceberg — I never even knew there was other types of lettuce! You won’t catch me buying bottled salad dressing these days either, but your version does sound good!

  6. says

    Yep. I understand your childhood pain. All I ever wanted was the bottled Wishbone Italian dressing. It was beautiful. But, alas, my family was a Ranch family (except we had to make it from the powder, since the bottled stuff hadn’t made it to market.)

    These days, it’s Bleu Cheese, oil and red wine vinegar. And it looks like I’ll be adding homemade Catalina to the repertoire as well. Nice!

    • says

      That blue cheese vinaigrette sounds really good Adam. Don’t think I’ve had that exact combo. Actually, I think Wishbone made pretty decent bottled dressings.

  7. says

    how funny– Catalina dressing was considered “exotic” at my house growing up too!! It was a change from plain Italian dressing and it got me to try more vegetables in salads. your homemade version would be WAY better. Will have to try it, thanks!

    • says

      Holly, I haven’t had Catalina dressing in probably 20 years. This recipe is really flavorful. I’ll have to look on the isle next time I’m in the grocery and see if they still make it.

  8. says

    I love when you do a retro post like this – I remember those salads, too! We always had Green Goddess or Ranch. The first time I got to try Catalina was at my Aunt’s house in Denver. She was marinating skewers of steak, peppers, onions and mushrooms for grilling and I relished every bite. This post brought back that wonderful memory. And that salad photo rocks! :)

    • says

      Aren’t we glad California stepped in and put a stop to the iceberg lettuce thing??? Don’t know if it’s true or not, but it seems like they introduced us to real greens.

  9. says

    Catalina is my favorite dressing!! I have a bottle of it in the fridge right now…. that will change once it’s gone though.. can’t wait to make my own!!! Thanks for sharing!

  10. says

    Our parents generation was hooked on convenience foods. I’m glad we’re swinging the pendulum back :)

    Beautiful salad and delicious Catalina dressing!

  11. says

    My experience is similar to yours. I can remember when I discovered that salad dressing did not need to come in a bottle but, I am left scratching my head when I discovered there was more to salad than iceberg.

    A homemade Catalina dressing is a beautiful thing.


    P.S. I buy my rice from Costco. I checked the label it is called Super Elephant It is a basmati rice (love it). I will pay attention next time at Costco for the Royal rice. Thanks for sharing it with me.

  12. says

    I have been looking all over for this recipe, but I couldn’t remember what the name of the dressing was – I thought it was Western (not it) or Russian (good, but way not it). Thanks!

    BWT – this stuff rocks on roasted Brussels sprouts.

  13. says

    Did we have the same mom? It’s fun to go back and I’m sure homemade is waaaay better. Catalina makes a good marinade or a base for a quick BBQ sauce also!

  14. says

    I’m glad I found this recipe of yours !! I love almost all salad dressings but I definitely only ate French or Catalina or Western as a kid growing up. That’s it nothing else only French. So every now and then I just have to have it and I’ve never known a homemade way thanks so much


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