This Olive Garden Salad recipe is exactly like the restaurant house salad – tender greens, Roma tomatoes, red onions, olives, whole pepperoncini peppers, croutons and a classic creamy Italian salad dressing, all topped with freshly shaved Parmesan cheese!
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Olive Garden Salad Recipe
Have you ever tried a dish in a restaurant that was SO good you just had to make it at home? This Olive Garden Salad Recipe is one of our favourite salads of all time and it tastes almost exactly like the Olive Garden Restaurant house salad.
It’s made with tender, fresh green lettuce, juicy Roma tomatoes, pitted black olives, thinly sliced red onions, whole mild pepperoncini peppers, homemade croutons, and the best dressing: our most popular Classic Creamy Italian Salad Dressing recipe.
Trust us – if you’re a fan of soup, salad, and breadsticks even a little bit, you’re going to LOVE this recipe!
Kitchen items needed for making homemade salads
These are all our favourite kitchen tools for making homemade salads (affiliate links):
- a bowl
- a good whisk
- a garlic press
- mason jars for homemade salad dressing
- my favourite salad dressing shaker (large size)
- my favourite salad dressing shaker (small size)
- a high-speed blender
- a hand-held immersion blender
- a salad spinner for drying lettuce or greens
- a sturdy cutting board
- a sharp chef’s knife for chopping ingredients
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Olive Garden Salad Dressing
Many years ago we shared our Classic Creamy Italian Salad Dressing recipe with you here on The Busy Baker. It’s one of our readers’ Top 10 Favourite Recipes and it’s our version of the classic Olive Garden salad dressing we’ve enjoyed so many times at the Olive Garden restaurant – trust us, you’re DEFINITELY going to want to make it to serve with this Olive Garden Salad Recipe!
Olive Garden Salad Ingredients
To make this famous Copycat Olive Garden Salad, you’ll need these ingredients:
- green leaf lettuce
- roma tomatoes
- black olives
- red onions
- mild peperoncini (pickled mild peppers)
- croutons (or make your own with sliced bread, olive oil, garlic powder, salt, and dried parsley – recipe below)
- parmesan cheese
- a batch of our BEST Classic Creamy Italian Salad Dressing, our version of the Olive Garden Salad Dressing
How to Make Copycat Olive Garden Salad
Time needed: 30 minutes
Follow these tips for the BEST restaurant-quality salad!
- Make the dressing first.
The flavours in the dressing need a chance to blend, so make the dressing up to 1-2 days ahead if you wish.
- Dry your lettuce well.
Salad dressing slides off lettuce that’s wet and clings to dry lettuce, so be sure to dry your lettuce well before using, or purchase pre-washed lettuce.
- Choose ripe tomatoes.
The tomatoes in this salad add so much flavour. Choose ripe, juicy Roma tomatoes. If you can’t find Roma tomatoes, cherry tomatoes will do.
- Slice the red onions thinly.
Red onions can be strong, so slicing them thinly ensures they won’t overpower the flavours in the rest of the salad.
- Choose pitted olives.
Choose olives without the pits to make this salad easier to enjoy.
- Top with fresh Parmesan cheese.
Skip the grocery store shelf-stable Parmesan cheese. Purchase a block of Parmesan and grate it yourself at home for the BEST authentic Italian flavour.
- Choose your croutons.
Use store-bought croutons in this salad, or make your own using the recipe below.
What is Olive Garden Salad made of?
Make this salad with green lettuce, Roma tomatoes, olives, Pepperoncini peppers, red onions, croutons, and Italian salad dressing.
Is Olive Garden Salad vegan?
If you choose a vegan Italian dressing and leave the Parmesan cheese, this salad is vegan.
How do I make this salad ahead of time.
Feel free to assemble the salad up to one day ahead of serving, and store it in the fridge covered or in an airtight container. Add the dressing and parmesan cheese right before serving for best results.
We hope you love this salad recipe as much as we do! Let us know in the comments below, what’s your favourite Italian-style recipe? We’d love to know!
Watch the video below to see exactly how we make this recipe. You can find many more deliciously simple recipe videos on our YouTube channel!
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For the Croutons:
For the Dressing:
- 6 tablespoons Classic Creamy Italian Salad Dressing recipe linked below
For the Salad:
- 8 cups green lettuce washed, dried and ripped into bite-sized pieces
- 3 small Roma tomatoes sliced
- 1 medium red onion thinly sliced
- 1/3 cup pitted black olives
- 8 mild pepperoncini peppers plus more, if desired
- 1/3 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese
For the croutons:
- Toss the bread cubes together in a bowl with the olive oil and seasonings until well coated.
- Heat a large skillet over medium heat and add the bread cubes, toasting them in the pan on all sides just until golden brown.
- Remove them to a plate to cool.
For the salad:
- Wash and dry the lettuce well, slice the tomatoes and onions and prepare the other ingredients.
- Add the lettuce to your serving bowl and top with the tomatoes, onions, olives, peppers.
- Pour the Creamy Italian Salad Dressing on top and toss well.
- Top the salad with the croutons and the grated Parmesan cheese.
- Serve immediately.
Notice: Nutrition is auto-calculated, using Spoonacular, for your convenience. Where relevant, we recommend using your own nutrition calculations.
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