Most Authentic Olive Garden Salad CopyCat Recipe
OK, so..almost everybody loves Olive Garden. Sure, we all know that it is a chain restaurant, and it will never be as good as an intimate little Italian bistro, complete with red checkered tablecloths, expensive red wine, and a chef imported directly from Italy.
Still, the Olive Garden serves decent food at affordable prices...what more can you ask for out of an inexpensive meal at a nicely appointed restaurant?
One way to make the food even more affordable is to prepare it at home yourself.
You can duplicate some of their most well-loved menu items from the comfort of your own home, and nothing is easier than making a homemade version of the awesome Olive Garden Salad.
Olive Garden Salad Recipe
The very first thing that comes to my mind when I think about the food at the popular restaurant chain is their awesome salad.
People who have never had it before, must think that we are crazy when we rave about the Olive Garden Salad, but it is so delicious until many of us never even make it to the rest of the menu.
It is so filling and hearty until you can have it as a full meal all on its own or you can pair it with breadsticks and one of their amazing copycat soups.
In order to duplicate their salad recipe, you will need to start with the following ingredients:
- 1 10-ounce bag American salad blend (Dole Brand is the best)
- 1/4 red onion, heartily sliced
- 6 pepperoncini
- 2 small Roma tomatoes, quartered
- 8 large Kalamata olives (pitted)
- 1/2 cup large croutons
- 1 tablespoon grated Parmesan cheese (freshly is best)
- 1 tablespoon grated Romano cheese (fresh is best)
- A Mill of fresh Peppercorn
Grab a large bowl and toss all of the ingredients together, but reserve the Parmesan and Romano cheeses and Peppercorn for later.
You're going to prepare the salad dressing next - no store-bought dressing will be good enough to grace the delicious meal you are preparing - follow the directions below to whip up the homemade dressing:
- 1/2 cup of Mayo
- 1/3 cup of White Vinegar
- 1/2 teaspoon of Extra Virgin Olive Oil
- 1/2 teaspoon of Vegetable Oil
- 2 tablespoons of Corn Syrup
- 1 Clove of Garlic
- 1 tablespoon of Lemon Juice
- 1/2 teaspoon of dried Italian Seasoning (Any brand will do)
- 1/2 teaspoon of Parsley Flakes
- A pinch of sugar (to cut the acidity)
Grab a small bowl and whip up the salad dressing. Pour the dressing atop the salad just before the meal is served and toss. Grate the Parmesan and Romano cheeses on top of the salad, hit it with a grind of fresh peppercorn, and let the feast begin!
Have a Salad Centered Meal
Instead of having the salad as an appetizer for a heavy meal, why not give your body a rest from having to digest meat and try having the salad as the main course?
Here are a couple of ideas to make your homemade Olive Garden salad the center of your meal:
- warm up a spinach or tomato and herb flour tortilla and fill it with the salad; enjoy your freshly made, warm salad wrap next to a couple of sticks of carrots, and celery dipped in ranch dressing.
- stuff the salad inside of a warm pita pocket, and enjoy it with a side of your favorite veggie - I love to pair my salad pitas with a side of wilted spinach.
- go the traditional route and pair the salad with breadsticks and a vegetable soup.