Are you a fan of the Olive Garden Italian salad dressing?
We don't eat at Olive Garden very often, but once in a great while the kids ask to go and we do, because 80/20 or 90/10, right? Their crisp house salad is always good, but that dressing, well you just know it's got rotten soybean oil and also probably some high fructose corn syrup in there, not to mention preservatives and who knows what else. Can you say GMOs???
As a matter of fact, here's the ingredient list from their site:
Water, Soybean Oil, Distilled Vinegar, High Fructose Corn Syrup, Salt, Egg, Romano Cheese (Milk, Salt, Cultures, Enzymes), Dehydrated Garlic, Sugar, Spices, Xanthan Gum, Dextrose, Calcium Disodium EDTA added to protect flavor, Annatto Color, Natural Flavors.
The GMO industrial soybean oil and chemical-laden GMO corn syrup are bad enough, but what in the world is calcium disodium EDTA you ask? Oh, just “Ethylenediaminetetraacetic Acid” – a nasty chemical preservative. Yikes. That's downright scary and I really don't want it in my body, let alone in our kids! Really, how can we know what effect these “food-like-substances” will have on our kids over time?
Homemade salad dressings are so simple!
So here's how to make it even better yourself with only real food ingredients. This is one of our daughter's favorite recipes to whip together.
Olive Garden Italian Salad Dressing Copycat Recipe
- 1/2 cup real olive oil (read more about olive oil: most olive oil at the store is fake and dangerous)
- 1/2 cup another oil: avocado oil, refined sesame oil, or refined peanut oil (“refined” because it needs to be a mild oil so the flavor isn't overpowering)
- ¼ cup white wine vinegar (I just learned from the comments that regular white vinegar is made from GMO corn!)
- ¼ cup water
- 2 Tablespoons homemade mayonnaise (<– it's super fast to whip together, but I sometimes keep this one on hand for even faster last-minute mayo needs and it keeps nicely in the fridge too)
- 2 teaspoons organic Italian seasoning, if you don't have that, you could use:
- 1/4 teaspoon sea salt
- 1/2 teaspoon palm sugar, or other organic sugar of choice
- 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
- 1/4 teaspoon onion powder
- 1/4 teaspoon pepper
- 1/4 cup shredded Parmesan cheese
You can just shake everything all together and serve it like that and it tastes just as good, which is what our daughter did this time and that's what is pictured above. But when I make it, I like to emulsify it like this so it's a little thick and an easier consistency to pour: put all of the ingredients except the oil into a blender or food processor and mix well. Slowly add in the oils as it emulsifies, it's sort of like making mayo.
Taste-test to see if it needs a bit more salt or palm sugar to make it dreamy, it'll depend a little on the kind of mayo you use. None of the ingredients need to be exact. If you don't have one of the herbs or spices listed, no big deal, it'll still be really good. This Olive Garden Italian salad dressing recipe fits nicely in a 1-pint ball jar and then it's easy to shake and mix up again before serving.
Did you make a real food recipe?
We made this recently for company and served it as one of our dressings in a make-your-own healthy salad bar. I snapped this picture, and it's one of the few pictures of food I've taken that I actually LIKE!
More you might like:
- Again, here's the make-your-own salad bar post with lots of ideas for what to serve and all sorts of good and simple salad dressing recipes
- What knowing your farmer looks like