This was THE salad dressing that made me enjoy a salad for the first time EVER.
You see, the salad dressing that I grew up on was ranch and ranch was all I ever had. Salads were not something I enjoyed as a kid or teen.
Then one night we were having dinner with friends and they served a salad with purchased Olive Garden dressing. I was mind blown. I actually liked this salad!
All along, I thought I disliked salads, when in reality it was the ranch dressing I disliked! I realized I liked the Olive Garden dressing because it was sweet (compared to ranch dressing which is more sour).
I immediately set about to make a homemade copy-cat version of the Olive Garden dressing. Over the years it has morphed into something that is nothing like the original Olive Garden dressing (I don't even remember what that tasted like). I just know that this dressing is GOOD.
I also know that for me to relish a salad, it has to have something sweet on it. I love making different combinations of fruit+veg that compliment each other, such as:
-Chicken, apple, cashew salad with honey mustard dressing
-Taco or TexMex salad with cilantro and mangos
-Blueberries or strawberries on a salad with lemon poppyseed dressing
-Grapes on an Italian-flavored salad with this dressing:
- 1/2 cup mayonnaise and/or plain yogurt*
- 1 T. apple cider vinegar
- 1 T. lemon juice
- 1 T. olive oil
- 1 T. honey
- 2 roasted garlic cloves or 1/8 tsp garlic powder (see how to roast garlic here)
- 1/4 tsp salt
- a few leaves of basil, minced**
- a few leaves of parsley, minced**
- a few leaves of oregano, minced**
- a sprig of thyme with the leaves removed**
Combine all ingredient and mix well. Refrigerate for several hours before serving to allow the flavors to meld.
*Use whichever is your favorite, or use a combination.
** These herbs can be purchased together in the Italian Herb Combo Pack here.