>italian green salad

>Have you ever had Olive Garden’s house salad?! I really don’t care for their pasta, etc., but could live off their all-you-can-eat salad and soup and breadsticks. mmmmm…..it’s so good (as Mr. Food says.)

Don’t know what it is about their salads, but they are the best – always served fresh, crisp and cold, which is a good start. Besides, what is there to love about a room temperature, limp lettuce salad, anyways?

I love how the flavors complement each other – combination of iceberg and romaine lettuce, sliced black olives, pepperoncini peppers, red onion, roma tomatoes, shredded parmesan, seasoned croutons and a nice italian vinaigrette. The tangy surprise bite of the pepperoncini peppers is my favorite. While many may push them to the side, I dig to the bottom of the bowl for them. Those and the black olives.

Here’s a recipe I found on Google, and it appears to be a pretty close second to the real deal.

Italian Green Salad
adapted from Food Network

For the dressing:
•1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
•2 tablespoons white wine vinegar
•3 tablespoons Miracle Whip
•1 tablespoon lemon juice
•2 tablespoons grated parmesan cheese
•1/4 teaspoon garlic salt
•1/2 teaspoon dried Italian seasoning

For the salad:
•1 10-ounce bag American salad blend (I bought an Italian blend mix and doctored up with some fresh romaine lettuce.)
•1/4 red onion, thinly sliced
•4 small pickled peppers, such as pepperoncini
•1 small vine-ripened tomato, quartered
•2 tablespoons sliced black olives
•1/2 cup large croutons
•1 tablespoon grated parmesan cheese

Directions
Combine all the dressing ingredients and 1 to 2 tablespoons water in a blender or food processor; puree until smooth.

Place the salad blend in a large bowl and top with the remaining salad ingredients. Drizzle with the dressing. Serve in a chilled glass or aluminum bowl. Serve with pasta and/or bread.

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