Monday, July 13, 2009

Olive Garden Salad

The Olive Garden brings back happy memories for me. I have had many meals there with my friend Maria. I have gone there on a couple dates with John when we were first dating. I went to lunch with just my dad there (something that was rare growing up.) And I can remember the first time I went there- on vacation in Florida when I was under 10. I begged my mom to go since they always played the commercials in New Jersey but there weren't any locally. She finally gave in and we went. My dad got meat loaf which I still remember because I thought that was such a weird choice. The food is decent, the bread sticks are amazing, and the salad is really good. But the happy memories really make me love Olive Garden.

Therefore when I saw this recipe for their salad I knew I needed to make it. Our friend James came over for lunch yesterday and this was one of the things I served. Now I didn't think it tasted exactly like Olive Garden's salad but it was close and VERY good. Don't skip out on the croutons, they were awesome. John and James kept dipping the extra croutons in the left over dressing- they were that good.

Source: The Sisters' Cafe

Olive Garden Salad Dressing:
½ c. mayonnaise
1/3 c. white vinegar
1 tsp vegetable oil
2 Tb. corn syrup
2 Tb. Parmesan cheese
2 Tb. Romano cheese
¼ tsp garlic salt – or one clove garlic, minced
½ tsp Italian seasoning
½ tsp parsley flakes
1 Tb. lemon juice

1 large head romaine lettuce
slices red onion
black olives
2-4 banana peppers
2 small tomatoes, quartered
½ c. croutons
freshly grated Parmesan cheese

For homemade croutons:
4 slices sandwich bread
1 clove garlic, minced
3 Tb. butter
salt and pepper
dried parsley flakes

Mix all dressing ingredients in a blender until well mixed. If this is a little too tart for your own personal tastes, add a little extra sugar.
Chill one salad bowl in freezer for at least 30 minutes. Put lettuce in bowl. Place on top of lettuce red onions, black olives, banana peppers, tomatoes, and croutons. Add some freshly grated Parmesan cheese if you like, and add plenty of Olive Garden Salad Dressing on top.

For the homemade croutons:
Cut off crusts of sandwich bread, and cut bread into cubes. Melt butter in small saucepan and add minced garlic. Toss sandwich cubes in the butter and spread out in a pan. Sprinkle salt and pepper and parsley flakes to taste. Bake for 15 minutes at 350°, turning half way through baking.


  1. This is making my mouth water, of course! Maybe we can go there Wednesday!

  2. I never would have guessed mayonnaise! I have to agree, OG does bring back happy memories. It's not the greatest foodie experience in the world but I really can't say no when it is suggested :)

  3. Yum, this is the whole reason I go to Olive Garden!