Sunday, November 24, 2013

Red Italian House Salad

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!  



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


1 bag American blend salad (or lettuce of your choice)
Sliced red onions
Pepperoncini peppers
Tomato slices
Black olives
Shaved Parmesan

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.


  1. How funny! We loved the "house dressing" at Tony's too! AND we live in Kennedale! LoL

    1. Wow! That's awesome! How did you find this, Pinterest? Facebook? Please let me know if you try it! I'd love your opinion.

  2. This is fantastic! I love red house Italian dressing. I live in Corsicana, Texas and we have a local Italian restaurant with a very similar dressing. Do you know how long this will keep in the fridge?