The best Olive Garden salad dressing recipe is fresh, zesty and so much better than any store-bought or restaurant version. This fresh take on a popular recipe can be used for much more than a salad!
Olive Garden Salad Dressing
No need to head to the Olive Garden when you crave their salad and vibrant dressing. It’s so easy to make at home and tastes exactly like it!
You can’t have one without the other so it was super important to me to come up with the best copycat dressing to pair with my favorite copycat Olive garden salad!
The zesty, tangy, bright, and bold salad dressing stands up to the fresh crispy veggies every time. We’re using an Italian dressing mix giving it the traditional flavors of Italian dressing and adding in some vinegar for that vinaigrette tang. The mayo provides the richness and of course, a little sugary sweetness to balance it all out.
What is an Olive Garden Salad?
It’s a combination of iceberg lettuce, sliced Roma tomatoes, black olives red onions, pepperoncinis, and topped with Parmesan cheese and homemade croutons. Together with the dressing, and a basket of soft garlicky Olive Garden breadsticks, it’s a light lunch made in heaven!
What’s in this Olive Garden Dressing Recipe?
- Italian dressing mix packet – This can be found anywhere you pick up your groceries in the same section you’d find dips and dressings. If not, check out the seasoning section. We’re taking this shortcut so we can get the flavors and essence of Italian dressing without all of its other ingredients.
- Olive oil – Extra virgin olive oil is neutral tasting and a popular choice in many salad dressings. It’s loaded with good fat and nutritional benefits, so don’t skimp on this! If you don’t have any on hand, you could opt for avocado oil instead.
- White vinegar – Oil and vinegar is a traditional base for all kinds of vinaigrettes. The acidity delivers a zesty lip-smacking punch!
- Sugar – The sweetness that counterbalances the above-mentioned punch. You can opt to use non-refined honey.
- Mayo – The mayo adds a creamy texture which helps to thicken it up. The added oil and fat give it a richness taking it from a runny dressing to something with a little more substance. takes it from a
How to Make Olive Garden Salad Dressing
You’ll have this recipe memorized in no time which is great for whipping up last minute. It contains ingredients you’ve already got in your fridge I’m sure, then you can use it for so much more than Olive Garden salad.
Here’s the fun part! There’s virtually no work involved.
- Prepare: Grab your ingredient and a mason jar with a lid. You can also combine ingredients into a bowl, add and start whisking, it’s up to you.
- Combine: Combine ingredients, a bit of salt and pepper to taste, and give it a shake. Then pour it overtop the salad, or use it as you please!
TIP: I like to use the jar with a lid just because it’s one less thing to clean up. I can just keep the jar in the fridge and pour straight from there!
- Italian – Combine 1/2 cup olive oil, 1/4 cup red wine vinegar, 1Tbsp dijon mustard, 1 Tbsp honey, 1 tsp minced garlic, 1/2 tsp Italian seasoning, and salt and pepper to taste.
- Balsamic vinaigrette – 1/2 cup olive oil, 1/4 cup balsamic vinegar, and 1-2 Tbsp of honey, 1/2 tsp minced garlic, and 2 tsp dijon mustard (optional).
- Make it even creamier – 1/2 cup olive oil, 1/4 cup red wine vinegar, 1 Tbsp honey, and 2-3 Tbsp mayonnaise. You can use sour cream or plain Greek yogurt as well. Salt and pepper to taste, of course!
The only thing you’d have to watch out for is the dry dressing packet. Gluten is pretty sneaky and can hide in unexpected places. There is no gluten in mayo, vinegar, honey, or olive oil, so as long as you pick up a gluten-free Italian mix, you’re all set to make this a gluten-free dressing.
Absolutely! When you make a dressing from scratch you’re always avoiding the store-bought additives and cheaper oils like soybean oil and things like dextrose or annatto color and all the other hard to pronounce ingredients on a product label.
If you’re looking for ways to improve the nutrient density in this salad, you can make a few tweaks like using lemon juice or apple cider vinegar instead of white vinegar, using plain yogurt instead of mayo, and sticking to unrefined honey instead of sugar. Every little bit helps!
Keep this dressing in an airtight container or jar in the refrigerator for up to 2 weeks. Shake before using!
How Else Can I Use This Dressing?
It makes a great dip for veggie platters, a delicious marinade for grilling meat, and of course a dressing for pasta salad among many others!
- As a marinade on grilled chicken, steak kabobs, chicken kabobs, or grilled vegetables.
- Use it as a dip with veggie cups, a Thanksgiving turkey tray, or a Mediterranean Mezza platter.
- I love this dressing on these salads cucumber tomato salad, Caprese pasta salad, and this Greek pasta salad too.
Olive Garden Salad Dressing Recipe
- 3/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
- 1/3 cup white vinegar
- 1/4 cup water
- 1 (.7-ounce) packet dry Italian dressing mix
- 1/2 teaspoon sugar , or honey
- 1 Tablespoon mayonnaise
- Salt , to taste
- Ground black pepper , to taste
- In a mason jar or a small bowl, combine the oil, vinegar, water, Italian seasoning, sugar, and mayonnaise. Add a pinch of salt and pepper. Shake or whisk until well combined.
- Serve over your favorite tossed salad. This dressing stays fresh in the refrigerator up to 2 weeks. Shake well before serving.
- Italian: 1/2 cup olive oil + 1/4 cup red wine vinegar + 1 Tablespoon dijon mustard + 1 Tablespoon honey + 1 teaspoon minced garlic + 1/2 teaspoon Italian seasoning. Salt and pepper to taste.
- Balsamic vinaigrette: 1/2 cup olive oil + 1/4 cup balsamic vinegar + 1-2 Tablespoons honey + 1/2 teaspoon minced garlic + 2 teaspoons dijon mustard (optional)
- Creamy: 1/2 cup olive oil + 1/4 cup red wine vinegar + 1 Tablespoon honey + 2-3 Tablespoons mayo, sour cream or plain Greek yogurt. Salt and pepper to taste.
Nutrition provided is an estimate. It will vary based on specific ingredients used.
Did you make this recipe? Don’t forget to give it a star rating below!