Make Your Own Copycat Olive Garden Salad

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If you’re a fan of American-Italian cuisine, you probably love eating out at the Olive Garden. They’re loved throughout the United States for their fresh ingredients, reasonable prices, and great service.

Every year, Olive Garden serves up approximately 675 million of their classic breadsticks, and they go so perfectly with the salad. When you order soup, salad, and breadsticks, you have the perfect light lunch or dinner. While we love Olive Garden’s salad, it can be pricey if we’re trying to feed a group of people.

The good news is that you can easily make your favorite salad right in your own kitchen. You can make your own homemade Olive Garden salad dressing with our recipe, or just make the salad by itself and buy the Olive Garden salad dressing at the store.

While free unlimited breadsticks are available, did you know that the salad isn’t free?

Copycat Olive Garden Salad

At Olive Garden, you pay a set amount of money and in return, you have access to unlimited soups and salad. Many people claim that no salad is comparable to Olive Garden’s Italian Garden Salad, but what if you could enjoy it from the comfort of your own home?

Read on to find out how. Olive Garden’s salad with Italian dressing and freshly grated parmesan cheese can be made at home.

What is in an Olive Garden salad?

Olive Garden salads aren’t only delicious, they’re also super easy to recreate at home. This is thanks to the limited amount of ingredients used.

The salad consists of finely chopped lettuce, tomatoes, very thinly sliced red onion, Pepperoncini peppers, black olives, and garlicky croutons.

A benefit of making a copycat Olive Garden salad at home is that you can add more of your favorite ingredients. Love tomatoes? Go crazy and add more. Not too fussed on olives? Only add a couple. 

Copycat Olive Garden Salad – Step by Step

Creating this signature salad is simple, here’s how to do it:

  1. Slice your ingredients to your liking. We recommend chopping the lettuce as finely as possible. This will help it to resemble a true Olive Garden salad.

  1. Add all of your ingredients to a large salad bowl and mix. 

  1. Shred some parmesan cheese and add it liberally to your mixing bowl.

Copycat Olive Garden Salad Dressing – Step by Step

A true Olive Garden salad isn’t complete without the famous salad dressing. The dressing is surprisingly simple to make and only includes mayonnaise, white vinegar, garlic powder, olive oil, salt, pepper, and heaps of Italian seasoning.

Here’s how to make your own at home:

  1. Take a small bowl and add all of the dressing ingredients to it. Mix thoroughly using a fork or whisk until you achieve a smooth and creamy consistency.
  2. You can now drizzle your salad dressing onto your copycat Olive Garden salad. Oil separation is completely normal, simply stir it again to eliminate this. 

How long does it take to make a copycat Olive Garden salad?

Due to the simplicity of the ingredients used and no cooking necessary, making a copycat Olive Garden salad should take you no longer than 15 minutes to complete. This includes all vegetable preparation, chopping, and even making the salad dressing.

It can be enjoyed as a light lunch, a little daytime snack, or even as a side dish as part of your main meal. The loud flavors and bright colors of this dish will create an eye-catching bowl, making it a great addition to everyone’s recipe book!

Is Olive Garden salad considered healthy?

Salad is one of the healthiest dishes we can opt for when we’re eating out. However, you can’t always be 100% certain of what ingredients reach your bowl.

Although lettuce, tomatoes, and the other veggies incorporated into Olive Garden salad are very good for you, other ingredients are not so great. 

If you’re health-conscious, here are some ways in which you can modify the original recipe and make this a healthier copycat version of the Olive Garden House Salad.

Salad dressings can be full of unhealthy fats and sugar, and the Olive Garden dressing is no different. Try reducing the amount of oil you use in your dressing to lower calorie count.

Alternatively, you could just drizzle less dressing onto your bowl, to begin with. 

Parmesan cheese is also high in fat. To combat this, you could opt for a low-fat alternative to parmesan cheese.

Alternatively, you can add just a sprinkle a small amount of it over your salad, rather than mixing it inside. If you do decide to remove any of the unhealthier ingredients, you bulk your salad back out by adding more of your favorite veggies, such as onions or lettuce. 

Copycat Olive Garden Salad

This quick Italian salad recipe was made famous by Olive Garden. Now you can create this colorful dish at home. Using fresh ingredients, you can replicate this healthy dish as a side portion or a nutritious main meal.
4.86 from 119 votes
Total Time 15 mins
Course Salad, Side Dish, Starter
Cuisine Italian
Servings 4 people
Calories 269 kcal


  • Sharp knife
  • Small Mixing Bowl
  • Large mixing bowl
  • Fork/Whisk



  • 8 oz. Salad leaves 1 box, chopped – iceberg or romaine hearts
  • ½ cup Whole black olives
  • 2 Roma tomatoes sliced
  • Red Onion sliced thinly
  • 20 Croutons garlic flavored
  • 4-6 Whole Pepperoncini Peppers
  • cup Parmesan cheese shredded

Salad Dressing:

  • ¼ cup Olive oil
  • 2 tbsp White Vinegar
  • 2 tbsp Mayonnaise
  • 1 tsp Italian seasoning
  • ½ tsp Garlic powder
  • ¼ tsp Sea salt
  • ¼ tsp Black Pepper


  • Finely chop up your lettuce or salad greens using a sharp knife. Toss them into a large salad bowl
  • Add the olives, tomatoes, pepperoncini, onions, and olives to the large salad bowl.
  • For the dressing, add olive oil mayonnaise, black pepper, white vinegar, salt, garlic powder, and Italian seasoning into the smaller bowl. Use your fork or whisk to mix well until blended. You should aim for a creamy dressing consistency.
  • Drizzle the dressing on top of your salad, and voila! You’ve got an Olive Garden salad at home.


Calories: 269kcalCarbohydrates: 9gProtein: 5gFat: 23gSaturated Fat: 4gCholesterol: 8mgSodium: 639mgPotassium: 209mgFiber: 1gSugar: 1gVitamin A: 1070IUVitamin C: 26.3mgCalcium: 130mgIron: 1.1mg
Keyword Copycat Olive Garden Salad, Olive Garden Salad, Salad
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Cassie brings decades of experience to the Kitchen Community. She is a noted chef and avid gardener. Her new book "Healthy Eating Through the Garden" will be released shortly. When not writing or speaking about food and gardens Cassie can be found puttering around farmer's markets and greenhouses looking for the next great idea.
Cassie Marshall
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