Catalina Dressing

This Catalina dressing is a healthy salad dressing that is strong in flavor, but so incredibly delicious! A little goes a long way with this clean eating recipe, though. It’s also perfect to use as a marinade for vegetables, poultry, and fish.

Catalina dressing is one of those salad dressings that has just always escaped me. I never had it growing up, I’ve never purchased it for use at home or asked for it at a restaurant. I think most of us can honestly say that there are dressing flavors you have never tried simply because you already have your favorites. So why rock the boat?

homemade Catalina Dressing in a clear, glass bottle. The attached lid is hanging off to the side to better show the dressing.

I’m here to tell you it’s worth rocking! This was my first time trying it, and this healthy salad dressing really is delicious. So much so that not only will I use the dressing on salads, but I’ll also be using it as a marinade in a Catalina Cranberry Chicken recipe. I think the flavor makes this excellent to use with chicken or even a white, light-flavored fish.


Although both dressings are tomato-based, the United State’s version of French dressing is typically creamier than Catalina unless it’s made as a vinaigrette. I specify the U.S. version because the European recipe for French dressing has a base of oil and vinegar.

In comparison, Catalina has more similarities to Russian dressing.


The traditional American version is typically made of vinegar, oil, ketchup, sugar, paprika, onion powder, celery flakes, and seasonings. I avoided the use of processed ketchup here and used stevia to cut down on the sugar content. If you prefer to use a different sweetener, honey or Sucanat (unprocessed sugar) are also good choices here.


A vinaigrette dressing will stay good for at least 2 weeks. Some will last longer, others will not. Always check your bottle and dressing for mold before using. Always store your dressing in the fridge, and always smell your dressing before pouring it on. Any change in smell should be a red flag.

Also note that the fats in this can really thicken the dressing while in the refrigerator. Don’t let that worry you. Just set the dressing on the counter for about 20 minutes before using it. Then return it immediately to the fridge.

Note: If you’re interested in the history of food, this site has a page on dressings. It was an interesting read!

Again, this dressing makes a wonderful marinade or ingredient in other recipes. It does make a decent amount of dressing, so if you find yourself with too much, it can be frozen. That being said, the texture is not quite the same when thawed, so you’ll want to blend it again and make sure you use it as an ingredient in other recipes rather than a dressing. It will freeze ufor up to 3 months.


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Please note: This recipe was updated on 11/2/17. Many people were having problems with the recipe. I remade it and discovered a wrong measurement in the original recipe. It’s been updated and is now correct.

homemade Catalina Dressing in a clear glass bottle

Catalina Dressing - Healthy Salad Dressing

If you love Catalina Dressing, give this healthy salad dressing version a try! It's delicious on salads, and it makes a great marinade for vegetables, poultry, and fish too!
2.88 from 8 votes
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Course: Salad Dressing
Cuisine: American
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Total Time: 10 minutes
Servings: 24 tablespoons
Calories: 50kcal
Author: Tiffany McCauley


  • ¼ cup tomato paste
  • ½ cup oil
  • 1 cup apple cider vinegar
  • 2 tsp. onion powder
  • 2 tsp. garlic powder
  • 1 tsp. Italian Seasoning (see link above for recipe or purchase in the spice aisle)
  • 1 tsp. celery seed (crushed or ground)
  • 1 tsp. paprika
  • 6 drops pure liquid stevia (or small amount of whatever sweetener you are comfortable with)
  • ½ tsp. salt


  • You can blend this all in a blender for a creamier outcome, or you can simply whisk it all together in a bowl. Either way, it's delicious!


Please note that the nutrition data below is a ballpark figure. Exact data is not possible.


Serving: 1tbsp. | Calories: 50kcal | Carbohydrates: 1g | Fat: 4g | Sodium: 62mg | Potassium: 54mg | Vitamin A: 145IU | Vitamin C: 0.7mg | Calcium: 11mg | Iron: 0.4mg

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  1. Jennifer Barletta says:

    my dressing is really thick, like a seasoned tomato paste. what did I do wrong?

    1. The Gracious Pantry says:

      Jennifer – Is it cold? If you had it in the fridge, it will thicken. You can reblend it if it’s really thick. Otherwise, my guess would be that you mis-measured the oil. Try adding in a bit more and see what happens.

  2. Hello, mine came out very thick as well, even before I refrigerated it. Is there supposed to be water added as well? Is the oil measurement listed correct? The taste is good but it’s so thick!

    1. The Gracious Pantry says:

      Michelle – Thanks for drawing my attention to that. The measurement WAS wrong! I’m so sorry! It’s been corrected.

      1. Vicki Honeycutt says:

        I have the same problem, my dressing is too thick, too dark red, it’s separating and its lumpy. I used a mixer also made sure the measurements are correct. I’m using the recipe above…please help. It doesn’t look anywhere near your picture and doesn’t taste very good, also I’m only measuring less than a cup as a finished product. I thought the instructions have been adjusted, please help.

        1. The Gracious Pantry says:

          Vicki – Did you add enough oil? I’m planning to remake this recipe shortly, so I’ll double check everything.

    2. Is the recipe correct with 1 cup of acv? That’s a lot and very overpowering, like that’s all I taste and because of that I was not a fan… can you confirm that the recipe is correct? Feeling like it should be more like 1 Tbsp

      1. Leah – The recipe is correct. If it’s too strong or you, you can mix in more of the other ingredients until you get a balance you like. Hope that helps!

  3. Wow that was pungent with the Apple cider! 1 cup? Is this right?

    1. The Gracious Pantry says:

      Linda – Yep! And yes, it’s strong. A little dressing goes a long way. If you prefer, you can back off of the vinegar a bit and just add a little more oil.

  4. Lori Mills says:

    Hi! Do you think I could use honey or coconut sugar as the sweetener?

    1. The Gracious Pantry says:

      Lori – Sure! The flavor will change, but you can use them. You’ll need to give coconut sugar time to dissolve as well. I would do that first.

  5. What is the serving size on this?
    I don’t see it listed

    1. The Gracious Pantry says:

      David – 1 tbsp.

        1. The Gracious Pantry says:

          David – My pleasure! 🙂

  6. 4 stars
    I’ve tried this recipe several times and the ACV is too strong for my family- I’ve found if I cut the ACV in half and double the oil, everyone is happy. (Maybe because my ACV has the Mother and is already stronger than regular ACV?!) THANK YOU for the clean recipe!!! We love this on our Taco Salad. 🙂

    1. Lorrie – Thanks for the feedback! I’m glad you shared your adjustments as I’m sure others will run into the same dilemma. And I’m so happy you enjoy it! 🙂