It’s been a LONG time since I’ve been inside an Olive Garden restaurant … the unlimited salad and bread sticks used to always get me … I am a sucker for warm, soft bread, you know? Oh, and I just love that salad too … the dressing, luckily, is easy to replicate, as is the salad itself.
The salad is simple:
1 head of iceberg lettuce, rinsed, dried and torn into bite size pieces
half of a red onion, sliced thin and rings separated out
2 tomatoes, cut into wedges
handful of sliced black olives
handful of banana pepper rings (or pepperoncini)
handful of shredded carrot
Layer all in a large bowl, cover and refrigerate.
The most important part of this salad is the dressing … here’s my ORIGINAL recipe, but I’ve since modified it as follows and personally, prefer THIS now! The main difference is NO corn syrup or garlic AND I used avocado oil instead of the previously called for vegetable oil!
2/3 cup distilled vinegar
8 tbs of Parmesan cheese, Romano/Parmesan blend works well too, shredded or grated
1 tsp Italian seasoning
1 tsp dried parsley
juice of one lemon (smallish in size)
You can either put a tight fitting lid on the jar and shake it like crazy or use an immersion blender, OR dirty up a blender and use that. Whatever you do, you really need to mix it well.
Toss the jar in the fridge for a few hours. When ready to serve the salad, you can dress the salad if you prefer, or serve the dressing on the side. Just make sure you shake well to redistribute the cheese that will sink to the bottom 😉