Olive Garden Salad Knockoff

It's been a LONG time since I've been inside an Olive Garden restaurant ... the unlimited salad and bread sticks used to always get me ... I am a sucker for warm, soft bread, you know? Oh, and I just love that salad too ... the dressing, luckily, is easy to replicate, as is the salad itself.

The salad is simple:

1 head of iceberg lettuce, rinsed, dried and torn into bite size pieces
half of a red onion, sliced thin and rings separated out
2 tomatoes, cut into wedges
handful of sliced black olives
handful of banana pepper rings (or pepperoncini)
handful of shredded carrot

Layer all in a large bowl, cover and refrigerate.

The most important part of this salad is the dressing ... here's my ORIGINAL recipe, but I've since modified it as follows and personally, prefer THIS now! The main difference is NO corn syrup or garlic AND I used avocado oil instead of the previously called for vegetable oil!

In large wide mouth jar, add the following ingredients:

1 cup mayo
2/3 cup distilled vinegar
2 tsp avocado oil
4 tbs of simple syrup (I made mine with Splenda)
8 tbs of Parmesan cheese, Romano/Parmesan blend works well too, shredded or grated
1 tsp Italian seasoning
1 tsp dried parsley
juice of one lemon (smallish in size)

You can either put a tight fitting lid on the jar and shake it like crazy or use an immersion blender, OR dirty up a blender and use that. Whatever you do, you really need to mix it well.

Toss the jar in the fridge for a few hours. When ready to serve the salad, you can dress the salad if you prefer, or serve the dressing on the side.  Just make sure you shake well to redistribute the cheese that will sink to the bottom ;-)


Looking forward to sharing with some of these GREAT Parties ... go check them out!

*This post may contain affiliate links ... click here to read my disclosure :-)


  1. We love Olive Garden salad! Now we can make it at home! ;) Thanks for sharing! #SmallVictories

  2. I love restaurant knockoffs!! I will definitely try this out!! =)

    Melanie | Blog: Toots + Dill

  3. This looks and sounds delicious.
    Thanks for sharing this at Cooking and Crafting with J & J.

  4. Oh I can't wait to try this out!! The only reason I go to Olive Garden is salad and breadsticks!

    1. oh the BREADSTICKS! I have seen so many recipes out there for those and I refuse to even try to make them ... afraid of the consequences!

  5. This salad sounds so good!
    Thanks for sharing the recipe at Cooking and Crafting with J & J.

  6. One of the main reasons I got to Olive Garden is because of their salad!! Thanks for sharing <3

    Edye // Gracefulcoffee.wordpress.com

  7. I haven't been to an Olive Garden for quite some time either, but I do remember their delicious salad, this sounds wonderful, I will have to try it! Thanks for sharing at What'd You Do This Weekend?!

  8. So delicious! YUMMY!

    I would love for you to share this with my Facebook Group for recipes, crafts, tips and tricks: https://www.facebook.com/groups/pluckyrecipescraftstips/

    Thanks for joining Cooking and Crafting with J & J!

  9. That looks so colourful and delicious. I'm not a fan of olives but I love everything else about this recipe! This was our most clicked post from last week's Blog Fair, so pop over to this week's party and grab a featured pin!

    1. I'll be honest: I pick out the olives as I'm not a fan of them either!

  10. Olive Garden's salad is the best part of the restaurant. Thanks for sharing your recipe at the Over the Moon Link Party.

  11. Delicious salad, thanks for sharing with Hearth and soul blog hop, pinning.

  12. What a great Salad!! it's that time of year where I'll be eating more salads!! Thanks for sharing on My 2 favorite Things on Thursday!! Hope to see you again tomorrow!! Pinned!


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