When I was in college, going to a ‘fancy’ restaurant meant driving to Monroe, LA (ironic that I now live in Monroe, WA) to go and eat at Olive Garden. To hungry college students, desiring something other than campus food, this was the mecca of all things yummy: hot, buttery breadsticks and fresh, tasty salad.
We always wondered, “What made Olive Garden’s salad so incredible?” Sure, I loved the whole olives on the salad. And the purple onion rings were killer. And the pepperoncinis were just the right addition for tang and kick. But, there was something else…the dressing.
How did they make it? I have found several variations to the dressing; however, most are calorie-laden, which doesn’t assist me in losing a few pounds this summer, eating salads for lunch. Therefore, I set out on a mission to make a tasty dressing that included real ingredients with fewer calories.
So, what did I come up with? Check it out below.
(Almost) Olive Garden Salad Dressing
1/2 C. Olive Oil Mayonaise (I use Kraft. Low calorie and tasty)
1/4 C. Tarragon Vinegar
1/4 C. Balsamic Vinegar
1 Tbsp. Agave Nectar
2 Tbsp. Parmesan Cheese
1 clove of garlic, minced
1 tsp. Italian Seasoning
1 Tbsp. Lemon Juice
1/2 tsp. Salt
1 tsp. Pepper
Place all ingredients in a jar, cover with the lid and shake until combined well. Or you can use a blender. This be used for a week to 10 days, if stored in an airtight container in the refrigerator. Serve with a salad containing romaine lettuce, sliced Roma tomatoes, olives, sliced pepperoncinis, purple onion rings, and marinated artichoke hearts.
I calculated this recipe and two tablespoons, which is more than enough for a huge serving of salad, is 1 Weight Watcher point. Personally, I prefer to toss the salad with the dressing in a bowl; then, serve on a beautiful plate, topping with cracked black pepper.
Hope you enjoy!