Italian Dressing is one of the best homemade recipes that will give a fresh and flavorful kick to any salad. And yes, it tastes just as good as Olive Garden’s! A bit of olive oil, Parmesan cheese, Italian seasoning, and a few other ingredients are whisked together to make this healthy and simple vinaigrette in less than 5 minutes.
Italian Dressing Recipe
We lived in a small town in Southeast Texas, on the border between Texas and Louisiana. It took us 30 minutes to get to a “city” with a mall and an Olive Garden. (Now it takes me that long just to drive across town here in Austin!!)
But even as a young kid who would turn up her nose at a head of iceberg lettuce, I found myself scarfing down an entire bowl of Olive Garden’s salad with their delightful Italian dressing.
And then Olive Garden released their bottled salad dressing – and I was in LOVE!!
I put it on everything from this Italian Dressing Pasta Salad, use it as a marinade on chicken, or douse a big ole’ chopped kale salad in it.
But to be honest, the store-bought dressing is made with a few ingredients that are not great to consume on a daily or weekly basis. (I.e. – soybean oil, high fructose corn syrup, etc.)
So instead, why not make our own healthier version when it takes less than 5 minutes to whip up!?
Homemade Italian salad dressing is one of the best vinaigrettes you can make at home and only requires a few simple ingredients:
- Oil – Read below about what type of oil is best.
- Italian Seasoning – You can use a homemade Italian seasoning blend of dried oregano, basil, and other herbs or you can find the dried Italian seasoning in your herb/spices aisle at the grocery store.
- White Wine Vinegar – This is the most classic type used, but feel free to substitute with apple cider vinegar.
- Sweetener – Honey is used in this recipe, but agave nectar or regular sugar can also be substituted.
- Garlic – Crushed garlic (using a garlic press!) is the way. Do not leave this ingredient out! If substituting with garlic powder, you’ll want to use about ½ teaspoon.
- Lemon Juice – A little citrus gives an extra bit of freshness.
- Parmesan Cheese – This is the secret ingredient that makes this the best recipe there is!
Best Oil to Use
Since oil is the main ingredient in this recipe, the type of oil has a huge impact on the finished product.
A good quality extra virgin olive oil is the best oil to use when making this, or any other vinaigrette for that matter.
Avocado oil is a good alternative since it is mildly flavored and won’t compete too much with the other ingredients.
Sunflower or safflower oil can also be substituted for olive oil but will affect the taste slightly.
How to Make
- Add ingredients to a high speed blender, food processor or mason jar.
- Blend, process, or shake until ingredients are well incorporated.
- Serve over a salad with your favorite toppings and enjoy!
Here’s a closer look into the different ways to blend up this recipe:
- High Speed Blender – The NutriBullet is the best way to make it in my opinion. It blends and emulsifies everything up beautifully and is super easy to clean.
- Mini Food Processor – My second favorite way to make a vinaigrette is to add all of the ingredients to a food processor and process until smooth.
- Whisk by Hand – Lastly, if you do not have a blender or food processor you can always whisk the ingredients together by hand. Just note, it will not be nearly as smooth.
Is Italian Salad Dressing Healthy?
Yes. Homemade salad dressing is a much healthier alternative to store-bought. It is made with a good quality oil, unrefined sugar, and does not have any additives or emulsifiers in it.
It’s gluten-free and can easily be made dairy-free, vegetarian, and vegan by using a vegan Parmesan cheese.
How Long Does It Last?
Homemade dressing can last for up to 2 weeks if stored in an airtight container (such as these cute glass mason jars!) in the refrigerator.
Let this dressing sit at room temperature for 5-10 minutes before serving. Just before serving, shake or blend it up again and then pour it over your salad, pasta salad, or chicken.
What Type of Salad should I make?
A spinach or mixed greens salad with some sliced bell peppers, tomatoes, croutons and Parmesan cheese tastes great with an Italian vinaigrette. You can also make this Italian Dressing Pasta Salad for picnics or a July 4th barbecue!
Other Salad Dressing Recipes
Olive Garden Italian Dressing Recipe
Italian Dressing is one of the best homemade recipes that will give a fresh and flavorful kick to any salad. And yes, it tastes just as good as Olive Garden's! A bit of olive oil, Parmesan cheese, Italian seasoning, and a few other ingredients are whisked together to make this simple vinaigrette in less than 5 minutes.
- ½ cup olive oil extra virgin
- 2 Tbsp. white wine vinegar
- 1 clove garlic crushed
- 2 tsp. Italian seasoning
- 2 tsp. lemon juice fresh
- 3 Tbsp. Parmesan cheese
- 2 tsp. honey
- Pinch of salt