Happy Friday friends!
Do you have big plans for the weekend? At my house we will be watching lots of basketball! To kick off the first weekend of March Madness my boys have invited some friends over tonight to watch the games and compare brackets! I will be providing lots of pizza along with this wonderful salad! My boys may not have specifically requested salad for their little party, but whenever I make this one up they love it and the bowl is empty in no time! My favorite part is the tangy flavorful dressing! You will notice if you pick up a bottle of Olive Garden’s dressing (the one you can buy at Sams Club or Walmart) there is no Mayonnaise listed BUT the first few ingredients listed are the components of mayonnaise. Also–you will notice it contains High Fructose Corn Syrup(yuk), which I try to avoid. This homemade version may not be exact copy cat but it is fantastic and will put your classic green salad over the top! I can honestly say that I like it better!
I have dug this yummy recipe out of the Sister Cafe archives to share a few changes I have made. For instance, the original recipe called for corn syrup in the dressing but I prefer honey. Enjoy!
- ½ c. mayonnaise
- ⅓ c. white vinegar
- 1 tsp vegetables or canola oil
- 2 Tb. honey
- 4 Tb. Parmesan or Ramano cheese (or a blend of both)
- 1 tsp or a clove minced garlic (or ¼ tsp garlic powder)
- ½ tsp Italian seasoning
- ½ tsp parsley flakes
- 1 Tb. lemon juice
- 1 large head romaine lettuce
- Several cups of spinach leaves (optional but I like the addition)
- sliced red onion
- black olives
- 2-4 banana peppers (optional--not pictured)
- 2 carrots peeled and sliced
- grape tomatoes (or small tomatoes cut in wedges)
- ½ c. croutons
- freshly grated Parmesan cheese
- 2 cups cubed bread (I like to use sourdough )
- 1 Tb. butter
- ½ tsp garlic salt
- dried parsley flakes
- If you have the time chill your salad bowl 30 minutes before you want to serve the salad. It is a nice touch! Put lettuce and spinach in your chilled bowl. Then add the red onions, black olives, banana peppers (if using), carrots, grape tomatoes, and croutons. Add some freshly grated Parmesan cheese, and then pour on some of Olive Garden Salad Dressing.
- Mix all dressing ingredients in a blender until well mixed. If this is a little too strong for your own personal tastes, add a little extra honey or sugar.
- Cut bread into cubes (you can remove crust first if you want). Melt butter in small fry pan on medium heat. When butter is melted, stir in the garlic salt. Toss bread cubes in the butter and spread out in the pan. Stir occasionally and allow to crisp and brown. Turn the heat down if needed. After a few minutes they should be ready. Sprinkle with parsley. Allow to cool and then add to your salad.