I love the house dressing they serve at Olive Garden, and I LOVE the fact that they serve limitless salad and breadsticks even more. To be honest, when we go there (or when we used to go there, before we had all of these kids), I would just fill up on the salad and breadsticks and take the entrè home with me to eat later! But what I don’t love about the Olive Garden dressing that you find at the store, is that like pretty much every other store bought salad dressing, it is made with canola or vegetable oil, white vinegar, and has MSG sneakily hidden in the ingredients (if you see “natural flavors“, that means MSG).
Anyways, I’ve always loved my homemade Italian dressing, but I was looking for something a bit creamier, and so I simplified my Italian dressing recipe, added some mayonnaise, and voilá, a great tasting creation was born! I think it tastes similar to the Olive Garden dressing, but even better because it’s made with only the best ingredients. Give it a try, and see for yourself!
- Container to Hold Dressing (Get one here. I like using this because it has fill lines for the oil, vinegar, and water pre-marked on the glass jar.)
- 1 c. Extra Virgin Olive Oil (Get some here.)
- ½ c. Apple Cider Vinegar (Get some here.)
- 2 T. Filtered Water
- 4 T. Mayonnaise (I like Hellman’s)
- Curly Leaf Parsley – 1 Small Bunch (You can add whatever fresh herbs you have here too. If I have it, I like using cilantro and sometimes dill, sage, or basil.)
- 1 t. Onion Powder
- 1 t. Real Salt (I buy my Real Salt in bulk here. You can buy a shaker here, or a refill pouch here.)
- ½ t. Pepper
- Optional: 2-3 green onions chopped, 2-3 pods of garlic peeled and finely chopped, or a sprinkle of cayenne pepper for a little kick,
Basically, you just mix all of the ingredients together, and shake it up! Simple as can be!
I find that with salad dressing, there is such a personal preference of taste that it’s really all about finding a base recipe and making it your own. My husband, for example, really doesn’t like the taste of vinegary things, so his ideal recipe might include less apple cider vinegar and a little more water or olive oil. (But honestly, he’s a die hard thousand island fan, so I’m going to be crafting a homemade thousand island recipe for him soon.) I, on the other hand, love vinegary things, so I’ll actually go a little heavier on the apple cider vinegar than this recipe calls for.
In the end, it’s about finding what you love, making it as healthy as can be, and then enjoying the fruits of your labors as you become the healthiest version of you that you can be!