Believe it or not, I never ate at an Olive Garden until I was well into adulthood. I was in my early 20s and living in Spokane, WA with Aaron, and there is (or, was, rather) a major lack of non-chain restaurants in Spokane. We couldn’t find a mom and pop pizza shop to save our lives, let alone a hoagie shop (ahem, “sub” shop) or a cheesesteak shop (Bruchi’s did not count). So we worked our way through the chain restaurants on the scene – being on an opposite coast, many were new to us anyway. And we finally landed on Olive Garden around the time they had some dish with balsamic-glazed steak medallions atop pasta with alfredo sauce, and it was THE. MOST. HEAVENLY. thing I had eaten at the time. So we began going pretty frequently. We quickly found ourselves among the cult following of the neverending salad – mostly for the dressing, like everyone else in the cult.
So when I found this recipe, and I had all ingredients in the house but one, I thought, I gotta make it!
And the results were mixed.
It definitely tasted like a yummy creamy Italian dressing, but at my first bite I wasn’t ooooh-ing at the likeness of it to Olive Garden’s dressing. You always kind of expect that first bite to be like, YEAH! THAT’S IT! But, in the recipe’s defense, it has been years since I’ve set foot in an Olive Garden. And I will honestly say, that by the end of my hoovering this salad, that it really did taste like Olive Garden’s dressing.
So this one, I will leave up to y’all. I didn’t not enjoy it, but I didn’t have the reaction I was expecting. But it was a deliciously tangy, clearly Italian salad dressing that is nice to have in my back pocket, especially since there’s no super special ingredients!
You can find the original recipe //here//.
1 (0.7 oz.) packet Italian Dressing Mix
¾ cup olive oil (high-quality yields much better results in this recipe)
¼ cup & 2 Tablespoons white distilled vinegar
¼ cup water
½ teaspoon sugar
½ teaspoon Italian seasoning
½ teaspoon salt
¼ teaspoon pepper
¼ teaspoon garlic powder
½ Tablespoon mayo
Whisk everything together thoroughly and refrigerate. Store in a mason jar or other tightly closing container. Shake or whisk well before using.