This Olive Garden salad recipe is a copycat of the restaurant favorite with lettuce, tomatoes, olives, onion and croutons, all tossed with a creamy Italian dressing. Serve this salad as a hearty side dish, or add some grilled chicken to make it a meal!

Whenever I go to Olive Garden, I order their Zuppa Toscana, minestrone soup, chicken scampi and of course have a generous helping of their famous salad. In my opinion, this homemade version is even better than what you’d get at the restaurant.

Olive Garden salad with tomatoes, croutons, cheese and olives.

Olive Garden is a popular restaurant for good reason – who can resist all those hearty, cheesy Italian food options? My favorite part of eating at Olive Garden has to be the soup and salad. I’ve learned to make this copycat Olive Garden salad at home, and it happens to be quite simple to make! This salad pairs well with so many different main course options, including favorites such as chicken primavera, lemon thyme chicken, pan seared chicken breast, and chicken with spinach artichoke pasta.

Olive Garden Salad Ingredients

To make this salad, you will need iceberg salad mix, tomatoes, red onion, pepperoncini peppers, black olives, croutons and parmesan cheese. The dressing is made with Italian dressing mix, olive oil, white wine vinegar, water, sugar, Italian seasoning, salt, black pepper, garlic powder and mayonnaise.

How Do You Make Olive Garden Salad?

This recipe starts with a bag of iceberg lettuce mix, which contains the lettuce along with carrots and a little red cabbage. The lettuce goes into a bowl along with tomatoes, olives, pepperoncini, red onion, croutons and parmesan cheese. Whisk together the dressing ingredients until well combined. The final step is to pour your homemade dressing over the top, toss, then serve.

Lettuce, vegetables, olives and croutons in a bowl.

Tips For The Perfect Salad

  • It’s most convenient to buy a bag of pre-prepared iceberg lettuce mix, but you can cut your own lettuce if you prefer, and mix it with 1/4 cup shredded carrots to get the same effect.
  • I use a mandoline to thinly slice my red onions for this recipe.
  • I like to use shaved parmesan in this recipe because it stands up well to the other ingredients and the dressing, but at the restaurant they often use grated cheese. You can use whichever variety you prefer.
  • This salad is best served immediately as the croutons will soften as they sit in the dressing.
  • If you’re looking to assemble the salad in advance, you can prepare the dressing 3 days before you plan to use it. Place your lettuce in a bowl along with all the other salad ingredients except for the croutons. Cover and refrigerate for up to 6 hours. Add the croutons and dressing just as you’re ready to serve the salad.

Quick Tip

The dressing recipe makes enough for 2-3 day’s worth of salads. You can store any leftover dressing in the fridge for up to 5 days.

A bottle of homemade salad dressing.

Olive Garden Salad Variations

This salad is the classic version that you’d get at the restaurant, but sometimes I like to add other ingredients to the mix to make it even more special. It’s easy to customize the flavors to your taste!

  • Protein: Top your salad with grilled chicken breast, garlic butter shrimp or grilled flank steak to turn it into a main course.
  • Vegetables: I like to add other vegetables such as roasted red peppers, marinated artichokes and cucumbers. You can also use cherry tomatoes instead of Roma tomatoes.
  • Beans: Try adding 1/2 cup of canned chickpeas or white beans to your salad.
  • Cheese: Add some mini mozzarella balls or cubes of fontina cheese for a fun twist.
Dressing being poured over a bowl of salad.

Recipe FAQs

What is Olive Garden salad made of?

Olive Garden salad starts with a base of iceberg lettuce, and contains tomatoes, olives, cheese, croutons, red onions and pepperoncini peppers.

What kind of dressing does Olive Garden use?

Olive Garden uses a creamy Italian dressing for its signature salad, which is made with olive oil, white wine vinegar, plenty of seasonings and mayonnaise.

FOLLOW ME

Olive Garden Salad Dressing

Olive Garden salad dressing has a fairly long ingredient list, but it comes together in just minutes. The base of this dressing is a packet of Italian dressing mix. The dressing mix is blended with olive oil, vinegar and plenty of seasonings. A bit of mayonnaise adds a creamy texture. I make a bottle of this dressing at the beginning of the week and pour it over salads for days.

A tossed Olive Garden salad with Italian dressing, vegetables and olives.

There’s no need to set foot in Olive Garden when you can make this legendary salad in the at home! Serve up a full Italian meal, or use this salad to round out other main course options such as chicken and rice bake, sausage and rice casserole and one pot chicken with tomato basil risotto. You’ll find yourself making this versatile salad all the time.

More Italian Favorites

Olive Garden Salad Video

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5 from 32 votes

Olive Garden Salad

AuthorSara Welch
Olive Garden salad with tomatoes, croutons, cheese and olives.
This Olive Garden salad recipe is a copycat of the restaurant favorite with lettuce, tomatoes, olives, onion and croutons, all tossed with a creamy Italian dressing. Serve this salad as a hearty side dish, or add some grilled chicken to make it a meal!
Time
Prep Time20 minutes
Cook Time1 minute
Total Time21 minutes
Course Salad
Cuisine Italian
Serves 6

Ingredients 

For the salad

  • 12 ounce bag iceberg salad mix
  • 2 Roma tomatoes sliced
  • 1/4 cup red onion thinly sliced
  • 1/2 cup pepperoncini peppers whole
  • 1/2 cup black olives
  • 3/4 cup croutons
  • 1/4 cup parmesan cheese shredded or shaved

For the dressing

  • 1 packet Italian dressing mix
  • 3/4 cup olive oil
  • 1/3 cup white wine vinegar
  • 1/4 cup water
  • 1/2 teaspoon sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon Italian seasoning
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon pepper
  • 1/4 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1 tablespoon mayonnaise

Instructions 

For the salad

  • Place the salad mix, tomatoes, red onion, pepperoncini, olives, croutons and parmesan in a large bowl.

For the dressing

  • Whisk all the ingredients together until smooth.
  • Pour 2/3 cup dressing over the salad. Toss to combine, then serve.

Notes

  1. The dressing recipe makes enough for 2-3 day’s worth of salads. You can store any leftover dressing in the fridge for up to 5 days.
  2. I like to use shaved parmesan in this recipe because it stands up well to the other ingredients and the dressing, but at the restaurant they often use grated cheese. You can use whichever variety you prefer.
  3. This salad is best served immediately as the croutons will soften as they sit in the dressing.

Nutrition

Calories: 167kcal | Carbohydrates: 6g | Protein: 1g | Fat: 16g | Saturated Fat: 2g | Cholesterol: 1mg | Sodium: 432mg | Potassium: 85mg | Fiber: 1g | Sugar: 1g | Vitamin A: 251IU | Vitamin C: 12mg | Calcium: 13mg | Iron: 1mg

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Comments

  1. 5 stars
    We had this salad with the wonderful dressing this past week at our son and daughter-in-law’s home…WOW just WOW! Absolutely delicious! I will be making it for us again and again!

  2. If we don’t want to buy a packet of Italian seasonings, what herbs should we use to creat this? Thank you!

  3. What is the best way to store leftover dressing? It solidifies in the fridge, but I didn’t think I could leave it out due to the mayo! So is storing it in the fridge ok then just set it out to room temp before serving? Right now it’s so thick, I can’t pour it lol… but it is still soooo very good! I’ve done this recipe several times and will continue. Thank you!

  4. There’ll be a party in my tummy, my tummy!! (Sorry I had flashbacks of Yo Gabba Gabba.) I haven’t had this in awhile because I’m on weight watchers. But now I can bring the calories down a bit. Woo hoo!! Thank you!!

  5. 5 stars
    Found this on pinterest and I am so happy because this is a salad I remember well from my time in the US. Thank you! Love it! Now I can make it at home in Sweden.

  6. 5 stars
    Omg this is one of my husband’s favorite salads ever!! So excited I can basically replicate it at home anytime we want!

  7. 5 stars
    I have always loved the salad from Olive Garden, but never get a chance to get out to dinner! Thank you for this recipe; glad I can make this from the comfort of my own home!

  8. 5 stars
    This is one of my favorite salad. I’m so happy to find this recipe. Now I don’t have to make a trip to Olive Garden to have this salad anymore. πŸ™‚