I remember when I was about 10, our town got an Olive Garden. My family would go for the Italian faire but all I wanted to eat was the salad and breadsticks. I absolutely fell in love with their house salad and constantly requested it. They thought I was the strangest kid to actually want to eat salad as a meal. They still think I’m strange because it’s still my favorite thing on the menu. I’ve been craving it lately and pregnancy cravings come at weird hours. Since Olive Garden isn’t open at 8am, I needed to figure out a way to make it at home.
I figured out the salad part relatively easy. The salad dressing was another story. I’ve asked the wait staff questions over the years and managed to figure out that there is no mustard or dairy in the dressing. After some experimenting, I figured it out and it’s spot on!
I like using the immersion blender for this dressing as it combines all the ingredients thoroughly. The olive oil and vinegar won’t easily separate this way and makes it look and taste like a creamy Italian dressing without any dairy.
I just need to figure out how to make breadsticks and I’ll be all set!
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- 1 head Iceberg Lettuce, washed and chopped
- ¼ small Red Onion, sliced
- 1 cup Carrots (about 2), shredded
- 1 cup Black Olives, sliced
- 3-4 Pepperoncini (mild)
- 1 medium Tomato, sliced
- 1 cup Croutons (Homemade is best)
- ½ cup Extra Virgin Olive Oil
- ¼ cup White Vinegar
- 1 teaspoon Sugar
- 1 teaspoon Garlic Powder
- 1½ teaspoon Italian Seasoning
- ½ teaspoon Salt
- ¼ teaspoon Ground Pepper
- To make the salad, add the lettuce, onion, carrots, and black olives in a large bowl and then toss to combine.
- Layer the pepperoncini, tomato and croutons on top of the salad.
- To make the dressing, combine all of the ingredients in a mason jar and shake well or use an immersion blender to combine the dressing.
- Pour over the salad right before serving.
If you make this recipe, be sure to snap a photo and hashtag it #FOODFASHIONANDFUN. I’d love to see what you make!