Ranch is the most popular salad dressing in the United States, but at our house Italian salad dressing is a lot more popular. It’s probably because my husband’s family is half Italian (on his mother’s side), and they love to celebrate their Italian roots. Early in my marriage, I learned that the secret to my mother-in-law’s wonderful “homemade” salad dressing was Good Seasons Italian salad dressing mix, and I’ve been using it ever since. It’s pretty good made according to the package directions, but I think it can be improved on just a little bit. It’s the basis for this Better-Than-Olive-Garden Copycat Italian Dressing recipe.
For this recipe, I start by making the Good Seasons Italian dressing according to package directions. I like the flavor and color of apple cider vinegar in this recipe, but you can use red or white wine vinegar, or plain white vinegar if that’s what you have in the pantry. After that I “doctor up” the dressing a little with additional seasonings, a tiny bit of agave syrup or sugar, and just a touch of creamy mayo. The result is a salad dressing that’s easy and inexpensive, and I think better than any bottled dressing.
Better-Than-Olive-Garden Copycat Italian Dressing
- 1 packet Good Seasons Italian dressing
- ¼ cup apple cider vinegar
- 3 tablespoons water
- ½ cup canola oil
- 1 teaspoon agave syrup or sugar
- ½ teaspoon dried Italian seasoning
- ¾ teaspoon garlic salt
- ¼ teaspoon dried mustard
- ¼ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
- ¼ teaspoon red pepper flakes
- 2 tablespoons mayonnaise
- Make Good Seasons Italian Dressing according to package directions using canola oil and apple cider vinegar.
- Add the rest of the ingredients and shake or mix well.
- Store in refrigerator. Make a few hours ahead if possible, to give the flavors time to blend.