When I lived in Kennedale, Texas, a small town next to Fort Worth, there used to be a mom-and-pop restaurant called Tony's Pizza. They had a sports bar feel to it and draught beer. They had great big pizzas, wings, subs, and pasta dishes. I loved their Baked Ziti with Meatballs. But something I loved even more was this salad they made. It was a simple salad with lettuce, pepperoncini peppers, tomatoes, and black olives. But what made this salad so great was the dressing. It was red, Italian, tangy and so delicious!
I have tried for several years to make this dressing, but it never came close. I spent some time recently Googling red Italian dressings, and I came across something that seemed like it might work. I ran across someone else's post looking for Italian dressing made with chili sauce. If you don't know what that is, it's a tomato-based condiment that is slightly sweet, tangy, and savory. It's kind of like a fancy version of ketchup.
So I gave this another whirl and hoped for the best. And guess what! I got it right! It tasted exactly the way I remembered Tony's dressing. My daughter had never tried Tony's salad, but she tried mine and loved it. We both couldn't get enough of it. It's a simple salad, simple recipe, but lots of bang for your buck!
RED ITALIAN HOUSE SALAD
1 package Zesty Italian dressing mix
1/4 C vinegar
1/2 C oil (I used vegetable)
1 C chili sauce
1/4 C grated Parmesan cheese (the powdery stuff)
1 T garlic powder
OPTIONAL SALAD INGREDIENTS:
1 bag American blend salad (or lettuce of your choice)
Sliced red onions
NOTE: You can use just plain Italian dressing mix for this if you can't find the zesty. I just find that regular mixes have a bit too much sweetness for my taste.
Mix the dressing ingredients together with a whisk. Serve over salad with your choice of the listed ingredients above.