What Is Catalina Dressing and Is It Different from French Dressing?

When it comes to variety, salad dressings are up there with cereal and candy bars in terms of sheer amount of options. Would these mixed greens go best with Italian dressing? Or maybe some classic ranch dressing for the kids? Well, today we’re spreading the gospel of a lesser known salad lubricant, the luxuriously named Catalina dressing. 

What is Catalina dressing? Well, let us tell you the ins and outs of why you should consider it the next time you’ve gotta jazz up your kale or iceberg! 

What is in Catalina dressing?

Most store-bought Catalina dressing is made with a simple blend of ketchup, vinegar, sugar and oil. If you choose to make it at home, however, some recipes will call for you to amp things up with the addition of ingredients like worcestershire sauce, ground mustard, and cayenne pepper. 

Is Catalina dressing the same as French dressing?

Though they are very similar at face value, Catalina dressing and French dressing are distinct culinary entities, we assure you! French dressing is generally pale orange and creamy, while Catalina French dressing is bright red and less creamy. French dressing, unlike Catalina, often contains garlic and paprika as ingredients, both of which would rarely be found in a bottle of Catalina. 

What does Catalina dressing taste like?

Okay, well we know we just tried to tell you the difference between Catalina dressing and French dressing, but there’s really no way around it: the flavor of Catalina dressing is very similar to French dressing. It’s a little like comparing the taste of Coke to the taste of Pepsi! You have to! Catalina dressing is tangy and sweet…just like French dressing. But it’s not as creamy or spiced.

How to make Catalina dressing?

You can make Catalina dressing with a few ingredients that are most likely already sitting in your cupboard and fridge. Simply blend together ½ cup of sugar, ¼ cup of ketchup, ½ cup of red wine vinegar, and a ½ cup of olive or canola oil until it’s smooth. There you have it! As stated before, you can always add some spices or sauces to taste—or you can add some unpreferred spices or sauces to make a bad taste if you’re serving a salad to an enemy!

Is Catalina dressing gluten free?

Store-bought Catalina dressing, such as Kraft Classic Catalina, is typically gluten-free through-and-through. Kraft specifically makes a gluten-free claim on the packaging, so you can feel safe that you won’t be ingesting any gluten at all. 

The next time you’re in the mood to venture outside the conventions of everyday dressings, consider giving Catalina dressing your business. Oh, and if you’re wondering why it’s called Catalina dressing? No one knows for sure. Perhaps, as some believe, it originated in the Catalonia region of Spain. But, more likely, it was just a cool name created by Kraft.

About the Author

Joe Rumrill

Joe Rumrill is a fictional one-eyed spinach-loving sailor created in 1929 by E.C Se- Wait, no, that's not right... Joe Rumrill is a stand up comedian and writer currently based in Los Angeles. His favorite thing about food is a close tie between the taste and the nutrients one gets from it. His least favorite thing about it is the "gritty, dirt-like quality some food has", but he's most likely referring to the time in third grade he was dared to eat playground sand.

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