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Diabetes-Friendly Copycat Olive Garden Salad Recipe

An easy, diabetes-friendly, copycat version of the Olive Garden's famous starter salad.

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Eating well can seem like an expensive luxury, and it especially adds up when you go out to eat.

I always try to replicate my favorite recipes at home, using ingredients that I know will agree with my blood sugar, and that are easy to find at the grocery store.

One of my favorite salads to make at home now is Olive Garden’s famous starter salad.

We had a family gathering recently, and my lovely mother-in-law made a version of this salad, the inspired me to give it a try at home.

How to make a diabetes-friendly olive garden salad

olive garden salad with lettuce, parmesiano reggiano, pepperoncini and red onion

You need a few ingredients to make Olive Garden’s salad, but assembling is easy. You just prep the following ingredients, and add them straight to your bowl.

This amount of salad ingredients makes two servings.

  • Cherry Tomatoes, halved
  • Chopped Romaine hearts
  • Chopped head butter lettuce
  • Red onion (sliced in rings)
  • Mild pepperoncinis, halved,, or whole depending on your preference
  • Kalamata olives, pitted and halved
  • Tablespoon of Kalamata olive juice
  • Teaspoon Italian seasoning
  • Italian dressing
  • Grated parmisiano reggiano

This salad is truly easy, economical, and delicious. I hope you try it out for one of your next dinners and let me know how it goes!

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olive garden salad on a wooden table

Diabetes-Friendly Copycat Olive Garden Salad Recipe

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  • Author: Mila Clarke Buckley
  • Total Time: 10 minutes
  • Yield: 2 salads 1x
  • Diet: Diabetic
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An easy, copycat version of the Olive Garden’s famous starter salad.


Units Scale
  • 56 chopped Romaine hearts
  • 1/2 chopped head butter lettuce
  • 13 Cherry Tomatoes, halved
  • 1/4 red onion, sliced in rings
  • 45 mild pepperoncini, halved
  • 10 Kalamata olives, sliced and pitted
  • 1 tablespoon of Kalamata olive juice
  • 1 teaspoon Italian seasoning
  • 1/4 cup Italian dressing
  • Grated Parmigiano Reggiano (to your liking)


  1. First prep and wash all of your produce.
  2. Add Romaine hearts, butter lettuce, cherry tomatoes, red onion, pepperoncini, kalamata olives and juice, and Italian seasoning to salad bowl. Toss the ingredients together to distribute them evenly in the salad. 
  3. Pour dressing over the top, and toss again. serve immediately. 


  • My favorite Italian dressing has been Newman’s Own. It has the least sugar per serving of a store-bought brand without being a “sugar-free” label. Plus, the profits from the sale of their food goes right back to charities across the world. 
  • Prep Time: 10 minutes
  • Category: Salad
  • Method: Salad
  • Cuisine: Italian


  • Serving Size: 1/2 Salad
  • Calories: 158
  • Sugar: 5.2g
  • Sodium: 422.7mg
  • Fat: 12.1g
  • Carbohydrates: 11.5g
  • Fiber: 3.5g
  • Protein: 3.3g
  • Cholesterol: 10.3mg

More diabetes-friendly salad recipes

About Mila

Hi! I'm Mila.

I’m earning my Master’s degree in Applied nutrition.

I’m a journalist and Integrative Nutrition Health Coach living with  LADA (Latent Autoimmune Diabetes in Adults, a slow-progressing form of autoimmune Type 1 diabetes) I love food, travel, and my kitchen, and teaching you about diabetes self-management.

I’m here to help you live your best life possible diabetes by showing you how to create simple, blood-sugar friendly and delicious meals and tips on diabetes self-care.

Be sure to download my FREE Diabetes Community App Glucose Guide, or reach out for FREE 1:1 diabetes health and habit coaching.

How can I help with your diabetes management?

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