Since moving to the far northern reaches of California, which is entirely void of most metropolitan restaurant chains some of the family has been going through severe withdrawals. One of our favorite restaurants to visit on special occasions was Olive Garden. It never seemed to fail that everyone ordered the soup and salad. I have a recipe that nearly replicates the Sausage Toscano soup which everyone has enjoyed, but it's the salad dressing that I have yet to figure out.
Until. . . .
the other day when I was perusing around pinterest and I came across this recipe called "Olive Garden Salad Dressing the Traditional Foods Way."
Since, I am working on cooking foods in a more traditional manner my interest was piqued!
Olive Garden Salad the Traditional Foods Way:
- 1/2 c. mayonnaise (preferably homemade)
- 1/3 c. white wine vinegar
- 1 tsp. olive oil
- 2 tb. honey
- 2 tb. each of grated Parmesan cheese and Romano cheese
- 1 clove of garlic, crushed
- 1/2 tsp. Italian Seasoning
- 1/2 tsp. parsley
- 1 Tb. lemon juice
- dash of salt and pepper
I wanted to be the first guinea pig to try this, since we have pretty observant food critics in our home. At first, it had a very strong lemon/vinegar taste, but over the last few days while it has settled into it's flavors in the refrigerator, it's turned into something that is quite delicious. While it still does not match the Olive Garden dressing I remember so fondly, I highly recommend making this dressing. It's flavors sneak up on you and it has a very nice creamy consistency.
Just so that you can compare recipes, here's another Olive Garden Salad Dressing recipe from a blog called Everyone's Gotta Eat. Her ingredients will make any traditional foodie just cringe. Even through my own inexperience I could see that most of the ingredients were not healthy.
Salad Dressing like Olive Garden's
1/2 Cup white vinegar
1/3 Cup water
1/3 Cup vegetable oil
1/4 Cup corn syrup
2 1/2 TBSP grated parmesan/romano cheese
2 TBSP pectin
1 egg- beaten
1 1/4 tsp salt
1 tsp lemon juice
1/2 tsp minced garlic
1/4 tsp dried parsley
1 pinch dried oregano
1 pinch red pepper flakes
--Combine all ingredients in blender on medium speed for 30 seconds to a minute. Blending well is key to a smooth, thick dressing. Under-blending will result in a runnier dressing. Chill 2-4 hours shaking occasionally. Keeps for 2 weeks, approx.
Happy Salad Eating!