Olive Garden Copycat Salad

Olive Garden has long been a family favorite, enticing diners with its delightful array of Italian-inspired dishes, complemented by its famous and irresistible salad. Are you a fan of this iconic Olive Garden salad and want to replicate it at home? No worries! In this article, we’ll provide you with a copycat recipe that will enable you to create that delicious and magical salad with ease and precision.

You might be thinking: What makes this salad so special? It’s the perfect combination of crisp lettuce, crunchy croutons, juicy vegetables, and tangy-sweet dressing that work in harmony to create a memorable flavor experience. With our comprehensive guide, you’ll soon be able to impress your friends and family with a true-to-form Olive Garden salad prepared right in your own kitchen.

Recreating your favorite restaurant salad has never been easier. With some standard pantry ingredients and simple preparation steps, you’ll master this classic Olive Garden staple in no time. As you follow our tips, you’ll discover that our copycat recipe truly captures the authentic flavor and experience of the original. So go ahead, embrace the art of homemade salad-making, and satisfy your Olive Garden salad cravings.

Copycat Olive Garden Salad


To recreate the delicious Olive Garden copycat salad, you’ll need the following ingredients for the salad and dressing:


  • Lettuce: Choose a mix of fresh, crisp romaine and iceberg lettuce for the perfect blend of flavors and textures.
  • Tomatoes: Use cherry or grape tomatoes, sliced in half for added sweetness and a pop of color.
  • Red onion: Thinly sliced red onion adds a sharp, slightly sweet flavor that complements the other flavors.
  • Black olives: Pitted and sliced black olives provide a tangy, slightly salty flavor.
  • Pepperoncini: These pickled peppers add a mild, tangy spice to your salad.
  • Croutons: Choose seasoned croutons for an additional crunch and burst of flavor.
  • Parmesan cheese: Freshly grated or shredded parmesan cheese adds a nutty, savory touch to the salad.


  • Olive oil: A high-quality extra-virgin olive oil helps create a smooth, rich base for the dressing.
  • Salt and pepper: Season your dressing with salt and pepper to taste.
  • Sugar: A small amount of sugar balances out the acidity in the dressing.
  • Garlic: Minced or crushed garlic adds depth and a pungent kick to the dressing.
  • Mayonnaise: Use a small amount of mayo to give the dressing a creamy texture.
  • Italian seasoning: A blend of classic Italian herbs and spices, including oregano, basil, and thyme, adds authentic flavor.
  • Lemon juice: Freshly squeezed lemon juice brings a bright, zesty note to the dressing.
  • White wine vinegar: This slightly milder vinegar adds just the right amount of tang and acidity to the dressing.

Now that you’ve got all your ingredients prepared, it’s time to assemble your salad and mix up a batch of that irresistible dressing. Remember to adjust the seasoning to your personal taste, and enjoy your Olive Garden copycat salad!

Steps for Salad Preparation

To create a delicious Olive Garden copycat salad, follow these simple steps while maintaining a confident, knowledgeable, neutral, and clear tone.

First, prepare your salad mix by combining equal parts of chopped romaine and fresh salad greens. You can use a mix of iceberg lettuce, leaf lettuce, or a spring mix depending on your preference. Wash and dry the greens thoroughly.

Next, slice roma tomatoes and cherry tomatoes in half. Thinly slice the onions and add them along with the tomatoes to the salad mix. Don’t forget to toss in some black olives for a burst of flavor.

Now, it’s time to add the finishing touches. Scatter a generous handful of crispy croutons over the salad and sprinkle grated parmesan on top. Add some pepperoncini peppers for a tangy kick, adjusting the quantity to suit your taste.

Here’s an overview of the ingredients so far:

  • Salad mix: romaine and salad greens
  • Roma tomatoes
  • Cherry tomatoes
  • Onions
  • Olives
  • Croutons
  • Parmesan
  • Pepperoncini peppers

Finally, consider making your own homemade dressing to enhance your Olive Garden copycat salad. Italian dressing, with its zesty and tangy notes, complements the salad perfectly. By making your own dressing, you can customize the flavors and control the quality of the ingredients.

With these simple steps, you now have a beautiful, flavorful, and crisp salad that rivals Olive Garden’s original.

Making the Dressing

To create a delicious Olive Garden copycat salad dressing, you’ll need the following ingredients:

  • 1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil
  • 1/4 cup white wine vinegar
  • 2 tablespoons lemon juice
  • 2 tablespoons sugar (granulated or regular)
  • 2 teaspoons Italian dressing mix
  • 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon white vinegar
  • 1 garlic clove, minced
  • 1/2 teaspoon Dijon mustard

Step 1: Bring out your food processor or blender. This will help you mix the ingredients effortlessly and make the dressing smooth and well-incorporated.

Step 2: Start by combining the garlic clove, sugar, lemon juice, white vinegar, and white wine vinegar in the food processor or blender. Blend these ingredients until they are well combined. This will ensure the flavors meld together seamlessly.

Step 3: Add the garlic powder, Italian dressing mix, and Dijon mustard to the mix. Blend or process until all elements are smoothly incorporated. These ingredients are responsible for the dressing’s distinct taste.

Step 4: Slowly pour the extra virgin olive oil into the food processor or blender while it’s running. Doing it gradually allows the dressing to emulsify and guarantees a perfect consistency.

Step 5: Once you’re finished blending the ingredients, transfer the dressing to a container. Since the dressing contains olive oil, it may solidify slightly if refrigerated. Allow it to sit at room temperature for a few minutes to regain its desired texture.

Now that you’ve made your Olive Garden copycat salad dressing, you’re ready to drizzle it over your favorite salad and enjoy the familiar, delicious taste. Remember, this homemade dressing also makes a delightful addition to other dishes, so don’t hesitate to get creative in your kitchen!

Salad Presentation

When recreating the Olive Garden copycat salad at home, presentation is key to achieve that restaurant-quality look. In this section, we’ll discuss how to perfectly present your salad.

Start by choosing the right bowl for your salad. A large, clear glass bowl can give the salad an elegant touch, allowing the vibrant colors of the ingredients to shine through. It also allows your guests to see the layers of the salad, making it more appealing.

For the restaurant salad experience, make sure to toss the salad evenly, ensuring that all the ingredients are well combined. This will give your salad a uniform and pleasing appearance. When it comes to toppings such as croutons and cheese, don’t be afraid to be generous – but also make sure they’re evenly distributed.

For an added flair, consider taking a nice photo of your salad before serving it. This can be a great memory of your culinary skills, and you can even share it on social media to inspire others. Use natural lighting for the best results, and try different angles to capture the most stunning shot of your masterpiece.

Remember, presentation is vital in making your Olive Garden copycat salad an authentic and impressive experience at home. By following the steps above, you’ll create a dish that is visually appealing and true to the restaurant’s iconic style.

Copycat Olive Garden Salad

Popular Olive Garden Copycat Recipes

You can recreate some of your favorite Olive Garden dishes at home with these popular copycat recipes. With a little bit of effort and the right ingredients, you’ll be impressing your family and friends in no time.

One of the most sought-after copycat recipes is the Olive Garden Salad Recipe. To make your own version at home, you’ll need crisp lettuce, sliced red onions, olives, pepperoncini, tomatoes, and croutons. Top it with Olive Garden’s signature Italian dressing for a true taste of the restaurant’s classic salad.

Zuppa Toscana is a beloved soup option from Olive Garden, and it’s possible to make it in your own kitchen. This hearty soup consists of Italian sausage, potatoes, and kale, cooked together in a rich, savory broth. Some versions also include bacon and heavy cream to add even more flavor and creaminess.

Another top soup recipe is Pasta e Fagioli. This Italian classic combines pasta and beans in a thick, tomato-based broth. You can personalize your pasta e fagioli by choosing your favorite type of pasta, such as ditalini or elbow macaroni, and by using either canned or fresh beans, depending on your preference.

Not only are Olive Garden’s soups popular, but their Gnocchi dishes are also favorites among restaurant-goers. One must-try copycat recipe is for the chicken and gnocchi soup. This creamy soup features soft pillows of gnocchi, cooked with chicken, spinach, and a delicious broth. It offers the comfort of a chicken pot pie while remaining light and delicate.

Finally, it wouldn’t be an Olive Garden dining experience without their famous Breadsticks. Light, fluffy, and coated in a garlicky butter topping, these breadsticks are the perfect sidekick to any homemade Olive Garden soup or salad. To make them yourself, prepare a simple yeast dough, roll it into breadstick shapes, and bake until golden brown. Finish by brushing them with a mixture of melted butter, garlic, and salt.

Try making one or all of these popular Olive Garden copycat recipes in your own home for a taste of your favorite restaurant dishes whenever you crave them.

Nutritional Value

In this Olive Garden copycat salad, you’ll find a variety of nutrients. As you consume the salad, you’ll be taking in a balance of calories, protein, fiber, and vitamins that contribute to a healthy meal.

The salad ingredients are relatively low in calories, with the majority of them coming from the vegetables and a small portion from the dressing. The amount of protein in this salad depends on the toppings you choose, such as grilled chicken or shrimp. These additions can contribute significantly to your daily protein intake.

Fiber is abundant in this salad due to the variety of vegetables it contains, such as lettuce, tomatoes, and olives. Adding more fibrous vegetables like cucumbers or bell peppers can further increase the fiber content. Moreover, the salad is cholesterol-free as it does not include any animal-derived ingredients, besides the protein sources you choose to add.

Regarding sodium, the dressing and olives contribute the most, so you can control the levels by adjusting the amount of olives and dressing you use. Calcium is also present in moderate quantities, mainly from the cheese and olives. To enhance the iron content, consider adding dark leafy greens like spinach or kale.

Potassium contents can vary based on the ingredients, but you may find substantial amounts in tomatoes, olives, and leafy greens. For vitamins A and C, the salad offers plenty through its colorful vegetable components. A higher intake of these vitamins is possible by including more bell peppers, tomatoes, and leafy greens in your salad.

Keep in mind the nutritional value can differ based on your preferred ingredients in this Olive Garden copycat salad. By making thoughtful choices, you can enjoy a delicious and nutrient-dense meal.

Customization and Tips

When it comes to personalizing your Olive Garden copycat salad, it’s important to cater to your taste preferences. Feel free to play around with different ingredients to make the salad your own. Here are some expert tips and suggestions to help you make the ultimate salad.

Fresh lemon juice is a fantastic substitute for vinegar in the dressing. It adds a burst of tanginess and freshness to the salad. To do this, simply replace the vinegar with an equal amount of lemon juice.

If you’re looking to make a healthier version of this salad, you can easily adjust the ingredient proportions. Opt for a lower saturated fat dressing by using less oil or choosing a different type of oil, like avocado oil. This will not only help reduce the fat content, but also contribute to a more heart-healthy meal.

When considering carbohydrates, keep in mind that croutons can contribute a higher amount of carbs to your salad. If you’re looking for a lower-carb option, you can leave them out, or perhaps substitute them with nuts for added crunch and protein.

Creating a simple, healthy Olive Garden copycat salad is easily achievable by using fresh ingredients and making mindful ingredient choices. Remember to keep your salad balanced with a mix of colorful veggies, protein, and healthy fats.

Assemble all your ingredients and grab a large mixing bowl to toss your salad together. This ensures even distribution of the dressing and ingredients, giving every bite an equal share of the flavors.

Lastly, when it comes to dealing with leftovers, the main concern is the potential of the salad getting soggy. To avoid this, store the dressing separately from the salad and add it just before serving. This will ensure you have a crisp and delicious salad every time you enjoy it.

By keeping these tips and customization options in mind, you’ll have a delicious and personalized Olive Garden copycat salad guaranteed to please your taste buds.


In recreating the delicious Olive Garden salad, you have a fantastic opportunity to enjoy a restaurant favorite right in your own home. The key ingredients that make this salad special are the unique Olive Garden dressing and the carefully selected mix of vegetables and toppings.

To achieve success in your copycat version, make sure to find a quality Olive Garden dressing recipe and gather fresh ingredients for the salad, such as lettuce, red onions, black olives, croutons, and tomatoes. By doing so, you’ll create a dish that captures the essence of the original. Remember, the balance of flavors and textures is crucial in achieving the perfect Olive Garden salad experience.

With a little effort and the right ingredients, your homemade Olive Garden salad will become a go-to choice for a tasty side dish or a light meal. Your friends and family will surely appreciate the effort, and you’ll gain the satisfaction of mastering a restaurant favorite. Enjoy the process and relish in the flavorful results of your creation.

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 121 votes
Total Time 15 minutes
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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