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My Favorite Italian Salad

My Favorite Italian Salad is a little like an Olive Garden Italian salad knock-off, but better. The dressing is creamy enough to coat the veggies, but has enough oil and vinegar to let you know you got it right. 

A forkful of bright mixed greens, cherry tomatoes, croutons, and cucumbers coated with tangy homemade Italian dressing and Parmesan cheese makes this my Favorite Italian salad


Salad. I knowwwww. It’s freezing outside. It was actually really hard for me to decide to give you a salad recipe today. But there’s a method to the madness. Let’s start with the fact that this Favorite Italian salad is ACTUALLY my favorite. 

Like I would choose this before my meal every time. Heck, gimme a few thick slices of a nice crusty loaf of bread and a cup of Easy Minestrone Soup and we could definitely call it good. 

In fact! When I was 18, and super broke and waiting tables at this Italian restaurant, a salad like this, a slice of bread, and a cup of soup (a.k.a my free employee meal) were basically what I lived on. Me and this salad go way back. 

Anyway, my actual thinking here was that lately you guys have been LOVINGGGGG two recipes:

Both of those recipes are REALLY excellent served with my favorite Italian salad. 

A bowl loaded with bright green lettuce, croutons, and other Italian salad veggies, coated in the best creamy Italian dressing

The actual veggies you use in this salad can be switched out. Zucchini is a good replacement for cucumber, white onions if you want something more mild than red, diced garden tomatoes instead of halved grape tomatoes — you get the idea. 

Here’s where I won’t compromise though — THE DRESSING. 

An overhead view of Italian salads in wooden bowls. The veggies are coated in my favorite Italian salad dressing

It has the perfect amount of lemon for a nice bright flavor, just enough sugar to cut the vinegar tang, and mayo to make it creamy. There’s cheese, and seasoning, and I actually make this dressing more often than I make ANY OTHERS! 

It’s even second place to this Lightened Up Caesar Dressing

Also … let me just say now that we are not having the mayo debate. PUT DOWN THE MIRACLE WHIP. Too sweet. It’ll ruin this dressing. And while we are talking about it, if you are not using Duke’s Mayo, what are you even doing with your life? 

You won't want to miss this Italian salad recipe! A forkful of leafy greens, tomatoes, croutons, cucumbers, and carrot ribbons.

Okay that’s it. I am out of words about salad. 

If you are looking for other meals that pair well with this, you will FOR SURE want to add my friend Nicole’s Homemade Spaghetti and Meatballs to your list. She does it right. 

Love a good salad? You’ll wanna try …

Greek Chicken Salad with Greek DressingCopycat Panera Power Salad

This Greek Salad with tangy Greek Dressing is probably one of my all-time favorites. If you have what you need to pull it together, seriously – skip the take out. It’s terrific. 

My Copycat Panera Kale Caesar Power Salad is a popular one every January. But really it’s pretty great all year long. Who needs croutons when you can have Parmesan crisps?!


A forkful of my Favorite Italian salad. The dressing is a creamy Italianj made with white vinegar and plenty of cheese.
Yield: serves 6

My Favorite Italian Salad

Prep Time: 10 minutes
Total Time: 10 minutes

Crisp leafy greens, sliced grape tomatoes, cucumbers, and pepperoncinis coated in a creamy Italian dressing that's also loaded with Parmesan cheese. This is my favorite Italian salad and it'll soon be yours as well!


For the Dressing

  • 1/3 cup mayonnaise
  • 1/3 cup white vinegar
  • 1 teaspoon granulated sugar
  • 2 teaspoons Italian seasoning
  • 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1 tablespoon lemon juice
  • 2 Tablespoons grated Parmesan cheese
  • 2 Tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
  • salt and pepper to taste

For the Salad

  • 12 ounces spring mix lettuce
  • 4 ounces chopped romaine lettuce
  • 1/2 small red onion, very thinly sliced
  • 1 cup grape tomatoes, halved
  • 1/2 cucumber, very thinly sliced
  • 6 pepperoncinis
  • 1 cup seasoned croutons
  • 1 tablespoon grated Parmesan cheese to garnish


  1. Whisk together the mayo and white vinegar until smooth. Then add in the sugar, Italian seasoning, garlic powder, lemon juice, and Parmesan cheese. Once all of these ingredients are well-combined, whisk in the extra virgin olive oil.
  2. Toss all of the salad ingredients, EXCEPT the tablespoon of Parmesan cheese, together in a large bowl. Pour half the dressing over the salad and toss to coat. Add more or less dressing depending on preference.
  3. Sprinkle the Parmesan cheese over the dressed salad and serve. Refrigerate the remaining dressing for up to 3 days.

Nutrition Information:



Serving Size:


Amount Per Serving: Calories: 216Total Fat: 16gSaturated Fat: 3gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 12gCholesterol: 8mgSodium: 1136mgCarbohydrates: 15gFiber: 3gSugar: 5gProtein: 4g

This nutritional info accounts for using ALL of the dressing you make. If you have leftover dressing, nutritional calculations will be less.

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