Copycat Olive Garden Salad

Do you love Olive Garden’s famous house salad? Learn how simple it is to make at home with this Olive Garden salad recipe so you can enjoy your favorite flavors without the cost of eating out!

When my kids were younger, eating out on a budget wasn’t too terribly difficult, even for our family of seven. One of our favorite restaurants has always been the Olive Garden.

To the kids, it was affectionately known to our family as “The Grape Place.” That’s what the kids called it when they were very young based on their familiar logo. Big portions of pasta and endless bowls of salad and baskets of breadsticks make for a hearty meal and went a long way with our large family.

But as time marches on, one by one my kids are starting to graduate from the children’s menu to the regular menu, and we’re finding out that a meal out can put quite a dent in our finances.

And that’s why we’ve started trying to recreate some of our favorite dining out dishes, like this Copycat Olive Garden Salad, at home. A favorite restaurant copycat dish of ours is this recipe for Olive Garden’s salad dressing. Our recipe is creamy and tangy, just like the original!

It’s delicious poured over a big bowl of salad greens, topped with red onion, black olives, Roma tomato, pepperoncini, and your favorite croutons. For homemade croutons, try this recipe for buttery sourdough garlic croutons (croutons are really easy to make and it is a great way to use up leftover bread that has maybe gone slightly stale).

How to Make Olive Garden Salad at Home - Copycat Olive Garden Salad Recipe

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Olive Garden Salad Ingredients

For the salad itself, you’ll need:

  • Your salad blend of choice
  • Sliced red onion
  • Black olives
  • Pepperoncini
  • Sliced Roma tomato
  • Croutons
  • Grated Parmesan

And for the copycat Olive Garden salad dressing, you’ll need:

  • Mayonnaise
  • White vinegar
  • Granulated sugar
  • Lemon juice
  • Water
  • Parmesan Romano cheese blend
  • Olive oil
  • Seasoning (Italian seasoning, parsley, garlic flakes)

How to Make Olive Garden’s Salad

You’ll first need to make the Olive Garden dressing. Simply blend everything up in a blender or food processor and chill in a fridge for at least two hours before serving.

Then toss all the salad ingredients together in a large bowl and drizzle with your desired amount of dressing. Sprinkle grated Parmesan on top and enjoy!

How to Make Olive Garden Salad at Home

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Tips for Making This Olive Garden Salad Recipe

For a real Olive Garden restaurant-style experience, pick up one of these handheld rotary cheese graters and a big chunk of real, fresh Parmesan cheese.

Though fresh Parmesan is a little more pricey than its shelf-stable counterpart, a little of this cheese will go a long way. And fresh Parmesan lasts quite a while when wrapped well and stored in the refrigerator.

When making the dressing, you must let it chill in the fridge before serving it. This gives the flavors time to come together and actually makes a big difference in the flavor of the Olive Garden dressing!

Note that the dressing recipe listed makes enough for about four big bowls of salad. If you have leftovers, store it in an airtight container in the fridge (it’ll last for about a week). You can use it on other salads, or as a marinade for chicken.

More Italian Recipes:

Wondering what you should serve with your copycat Olive Garden salad?

If you’re a fan of Olive Garden’s Zuppa Toscana, you may want to try this creamy and rich Italian Sausage and Kale Soup (known as Zuppa Toscana) to serve alongside your Olive Garden Salad.  

This Italian Beef Ragu with Pappardelle would also pair nicely with Olive Garden’s famous house salad. The rich meat sauce complements the tangy dressing perfectly!

For an even easier main dish, make this One Skillet Baked Ziti. It comes together in 30 minutes and would go well with this Olive Garden salad.

Add a few slices of this savory rustic homemade bread for a delicious comforting Italian dinner at home for a fraction of the cost of eating out. This bread recipe also makes great garlic bread!

What is your favorite restaurant dish recipe to recreate at home?

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Copycat Olive Garden Salad

Copycat Olive Garden Salad

Yield: 6
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Total Time: 10 minutes

Do you love Olive Garden's Salad? Learn how simple it is to make it at home so you can enjoy your favorite flavors without the cost of eating out!

Ingredients

For the Olive Garden Dressing:

  • 1 cup mayonnaise
  • 2/3 cup white vinegar
  • 5 teaspoons granulated sugar
  • 2 tablespoons lemon juice
  • 1 tablespoon water
  • 2/3 cup parmesan romano cheese blend
  • 2 teaspoons olive oil
  • 1 teaspoon Italian seasoning
  • 1 teaspoon parsley flakes
  • 1/2 teaspoon garlic salt

For the Olive Garden Salad:

  • 1 bag salad blend of your choice
  • sliced red onion
  • black olives
  • pepperoncini
  • sliced Roma tomato
  • croutons
  • freshly grated parmesan cheese

Instructions

  1. Mix all of the salad dressing ingredients well in a blender or food processor.
  2. Chill for at least two hours before serving.
  3. Assemble salad and toppings in a large bowl.
  4. Pour on desired amount of dressing and toss right before serving.
  5. Top with freshly grated parmesan cheese.

Notes

Note that the dressing recipe listed makes enough for about four big bowls of salad. If you have leftovers, store it in an airtight container in the fridge (it'll last for about a week). You can use it on other salads, or as a marinade for chicken.

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Let me know if you try this recipe and what you think of it by leaving a comment below.

This post was written by Tara of Unsophisticook

Favorite Pasta Night Recipes

by Tara Kuczykowski

Tara Kuczykowski lives in Columbus, Ohio with her husband, Luke, and five active kids ages 5-10 years old. When she's not shuttling one or more kids to baseball, gymnastics, basketball, or some other sport of the season, you'll find her in the kitchen cooking and baking to feed her family wholesome meals, mostly from scratch. She shares her favorite tried and true recipes and tips on her blog, Unsophisticook.