Copycat Olive Garden Salad (and Dressing)

This Copycat Olive Garden Salad and Dressing Recipe taste just like the one that you would get in your local Olive Garden.

Olive Garden fans know that this salad is absolutely delicious. It is the prefect blend of salad, tomatoes, olives, cheese, Italian seasoning, and crouton goodness. This recipe of salad paired with sweet and zesty Italian dressing make the most amazing salad ever.

Plus, it is super easy to make! All of the ingredients can be easily found at any grocery store.

My boys typically avoid salad like it is the plague. However, Olive Garden Salad is one that they flock to. My youngest has even stated a few times that this salad tastes like pizza. While I disagree with this statement (sorry to burst your bubble), this salad is still super tasty, sweet, salty, umami mix of deliciousness that you can’t help going back for seconds.

How Healthy is Olive Garden Salad?

According to Olive Garden’s online menu, a serving of the Olive Garden’s Famous House Salad is 370 calories. 290 calories for the actual salad, while the Italian dressing is listed at 80 calories.

Calories aside this salad and dressing combo is high in sodium. This appetizer has about 1900 mg of sodium (1380mg from the salad and 520mg from the dressing).

According to their 2020-2025 Dietary Guidelines for Americans, the CDC (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention) recommends that Americans consume less than 2,300 milligrams (mg) of sodium per day. This means that one serving of this salad alone is 82.6% of the CDC’s suggested daily consumption amount for sodium.

This salad has a ton of sodium so it shouldn’t be consumed every day. However, it is a delightful treat in moderation.

Ingredients For Olive Garden Salad

For Dressing

  • 1/2 cup  Olive oil
  • 1 tsp Sugar
  • 1 tsp Salt
  • 2 tbsp White wine vinegar
  • 3 tbsp Mayo
  • 1 tsp Italian seasoning
  • 3 shakes Garlic powder
  • 2 cloves Garlic (Optional)

For Salad

  • 1 Can of Olives
  • 1/2 Red onion
  • 1 cup Croutons (Seasoned) (Any brand will do)
  • 1/2 cup Shaved parmesan cheese
  • 2 Roma tomatoes (sliced)
  • 2 heads Romaine lettuce (or 2 9-ounce bags of Romaine lettuce)
  • 3/4 cup Pepperoncini
  • 1/2 tsp Black Pepper (freshly ground from a pepper mill)
ingredients for olive garden salad
Photo by DailyDIYLife: Olive Garden House Salad

Instructions for Making Olive Garden Salad

For Dressing

  1. In a small bowl, add dressing ingredients and whisk until well combined.
olive garden dressing in mason jar

For Salad

  1. In a large bowl, toss the salad ingredients (romaine salad mix, tomatoes, pepperoncinis, black olives, red onion, black pepper, and Parmesan) until they are well mixed
Bowl of olive garden salad ingredients not mixed together
  1. Add croutons
  2. Pour dressing over salad. If desired, lightly toss salad to further mix the ingredients. Then serve it chilled! No one likes warm and soggy salads.
copycat olive garden salad in clear bowl
Olive Garden House Salad Zoomed in
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Copycat Olive Garden Famous House Salad (and Dressing)

This Copycat Olive Garden Salad and Dressing recipe tastes just like the one that you would get in your local Olive Garden.
Prep Time10 mins
Total Time10 mins
Course: Appetizer, Salad
Cuisine: American, Italian
Keyword: copycat recipe, Olive Garden, Olive Garden Salad
Servings: 6 servings
Calories: 385kcal

Ingredients

Dressing

  • 1/2 cup  Olive oil
  • 1 tsp Sugar
  • 1 tsp Salt
  • 2 tbsp White wine vinegar
  • 3 tbsp Mayo
  • 1 tsp Italian seasoning
  • 3 shakes Garlic powder
  • 2 cloves Garlic (Optional)

Salad

  • 1 Can of Olives
  • 1/2 Red onion
  • 1 cup Croutons (Seasoned) (Any brand will do)
  • 1/2 cup Shaved parmesan cheese
  • 2 Roma tomatoes (sliced)
  • 2 heads Romaine lettuce (or 2 9-ounce bags of Romaine lettuce)
  • 3/4 cup Pepperoncini
  • 1/2 tsp Black Pepper (freshly ground from a pepper mill)

Instructions

Dressing

  • In a small bowl, add dressing ingredients and whisk until well combined

Salad

  • In a large bowl, toss the salad ingredients (romaine salad mix, tomatoes, pepperoncinis, black olives, red onion, black pepper, and Parmesan) until they are well mixed
  • Add croutons
  • Pour dressing over salad. If desired, lightly toss salad to further mix the ingredients. Then serve.

Nutrition

Calories: 385kcal | Carbohydrates: 15g | Protein: 9g | Fat: 33g | Saturated Fat: 7g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 6g | Monounsaturated Fat: 18g | Trans Fat: 0.2g | Cholesterol: 24mg | Sodium: 866mg | Potassium: 656mg | Fiber: 5g | Sugar: 4g | Vitamin A: 18432IU | Vitamin C: 12mg | Calcium: 162mg | Iron: 3mg

Adapting this Salad to Your Dietary Needs

Gluten Free

To make this recipe gluten free, either don’t add the croutons in or substitute the glutinous croutons for gluten-free ones.

Vegan

To make this recipe vegan, alternative ingredients to the Parmesan cheese and the mayonnaise are needed.

If you want to make Vegan Shaved Parmesan cheese from scratch, Washington Post has a delicious recipe that you should check out. The ingredients include:

  • Brazil nuts
  • Pine nuts
  • Sauerkraut liquid or Rejuvelac (a vegan cheese starter)
  • White, yellow or chickpea miso
  • Nutritional yeast
  • Sea salt

How to Store Salad Leftovers

This Copycat Olive Garden Salad doesn’t last long (about one day) in the fridge if the dressing and the crouton have been added. To help the salad last longer, don’t add the salad dressing until just before serving. Same goes for the croutons. As mentioned before, make sure to add the croutons just before serving so they do not get soggy.

Separately, the salad (undressed) should last about three days. The Olive Garden salad dressing should last about 7-10 days (if stored in an air-tight container in your fridge). As for the croutons (if you are using store-bought croutons) should last for as long as the packaging recommends (typically about a month).

Tips for This Recipe

This Olive Garden Salad Recipe is a go-to favorite for a reason. Olive Garden has perfected this salad so below are some highly recommended tips as you are making this recipe:

  • Try not to modify the ingredients too much. Yes, if you have dietary restraints, you will obviously have to modify the recipe (some suggestions are here). However, try to substitute the ingredients with ones that are as similar to the ones that are listed so that you don’t distrust the flavor-bomb of a salad recipe that Olive Garden has created.
  • Add croutons and dressing last. To prevent the croutons from getting soggy, add the croutons and the dressing right before serving. Lightly toss the salad with all of the ingredients together, and then serve. Trust us. This will create a crunchy salad that your diners will devour.
  • Add some protein to make this salad a full meal. If you want to make this salad more of a main course than an appetizer, add some grilled chicken or beef to the recipe. To do this, follow the recipe as is, then your chosen meat (should be already cooked) during Step 2 when you are adding the croutons. Continue with the recipe as stated.

What to serve with this Recipe?

Copycat Olive Garden House and Dressing pairs well with…. Yup, you probably guessed it. Other Olive Garden recipes! Well you are in luck, we have pulled together our favorite Olive Garden foods below.

So pick your favorite appetizer, main course, and desserts, and bring Olive Garden to your home:

Appetizer

Balsamic Vinegar and Olive Oil Bread Dip. While this isn’t an Olive Garden copycat recipe, pair this recipe with your favorite breadstick to create your own unlimited soup, salad, and breadsticks experience.

Pasta

Olive Garden Stuffed Shells This is one of Olive Garden’s most popular dishes. This copycat recipe is super cheesy and delicious.

Chicken

Olive Garden Chicken Piccata This is dish is savory with a deep umami flavor. This is better that Olive Garden’s version! Your diners will be seriously impressed.

Desserts

Olive Garden Lemon Cream Cake Copycat Recipe  This is a classic Olive Garden dessert that they have discontinued. So get it here!

Olive Garden Tiramisu Copycat Recipe. This classic Italian dessert is a favorite nearly all. Olive Garden’s version will delight any guests eating this dish in your home.

close up of olive garden salad

Have questions or suggestions? Leave them in the comments below. Until next time: Stay salty, and sweet 😉

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