I’m slightly embarrassed to admit how much I’ve been using this dressing since I made it last week. I’ve been putting it on literally EVERYTHING. Gahhh! Sandwiches, pasta salads, spinach salads… you name it! But it makes everything taste that much better, I promise. 🙂
Truthfully, with summer approaching I was looking for a bomb pasta salad dressing. I love keeping a big bowl of veggie filled pasta salad in the refrigerator all summer long to have something healthy to eat in a pinch. I kept coming back to how much I really enjoyed the dressing at Olive Garden so I started searching for a knock-off, then tweaked it to fit ingredients that I liked (no vegetable oils, Italian seasoning packets, etc.) What I found so crazy about some of the knock-offs is they were suggesting using an Italian Seasoning Packet. Doesn’t that kind of defeat the purpose of a homemade dressing? When I checked out the ingredients in Hidden Valley’s “Farmhouse Original Homestyle Italian” packet guess what the FIRST ingredient was? SUGAR! Am I the only one who thinks something just doesn’t add up about that?
Making your own seasoning is super easy and only requires about 2 minutes. Who knew, seriously!?! A few teaspoons of this and that, whiz it together, and you’re done. Simple, easy, and delicious! Not only is this dressing delicious as soon as you make it, it actually gets better and better the longer it sits. 2-3 days later the taste will change ever so slightly each day to give you a robust and classic Italian Dressing taste that you can use in a number of ways (believe me, more recipes to come using this dressing). I also noticed each day the amount of spice from the red pepper flakes died down, so if you aren’t a fan of a touch of spice I would suggest making this a few days in advance to let it chill out before using it.
Just a note… this dressing does include 3 Tablespoons of mayo, which is kind of an issue because most store bought mayo contains a bunch of nasty, unnecessary ingredients. For a really long time I avoided mayo all together because I’ve *heard* making your own is kind annoying and the results aren’t exactly great. I was never a mayo fanatic, but in a recipe like this it is kind of crucial. Fortunately I found an organic brand that doesn’t contain anything weird (no preservatives at all), and uses expeller pressed soybean oil. Being that I don’t use mayo that often, I’ll take it! If you are looking for a store bought mayo I would suggest looking for one that doesn’t contain anything you can’t pronounce, and uses and expeller-pressed oils, which aren’t as highly refined as their counterparts. I just recently found this product (Wegman’s Brand Organic Mayonnaise) and it was the first store bought mayo I have found that I was comfortable with buying. With that being said, Thank You Wegman’s for making all my mayo dreams come true!
Creamy Italian Dressing
By April 23, 2015Published:
- Yield: 1 and 1/2 cups (10-12 Servings)
- Prep: 5 mins
*If you would like just a few servings I would suggest cutting the recipe in half.
- 1/2 cup white wine vinegar
- 1 and 1/2 tsp dried Italian seasoning
- 1/2 tsp dried minced garlic
- 1/2 tsp garlic powder
- 1/4 tsp red pepper flakes
- 1/8 tsp salt
- 6 Tbsp grated parmesan cheese or 1/4 cup + 2 Tbsp
- 6 Tbsp organic mayo or 1/4 cup + 2 Tbsp
- 2 tsp white wine optional
- 1 cup extra virgin olive oil
- Add all ingredients except oil to food processor. Blend until combined.
Slowly add oil while continuing to blend. Store in refrigerator for up to 2 weeks.
** If you don't have a food processor, no problem! Just use a large mixing bowl and whisk.