Olive Garden, the number one Italian-themed restaurant in the US, is a casual dining chain known for its soft, warm breadsticks, decadent dishes, and unlimited salads. While its chicken parmigiana and fettuccine alfredo consistently rank as some of its most popular dishes, this restaurant giant doesn’t exclude vegans from the Olive Garden family. Thankfully, you don’t have to miss out on those delicious buttery breadsticks. At Vegan Unlocked, we’ll make sure you find something delicious to dine on with our full vegan menu and editor’s picks – we’ll even let you in on our Vegan Unlocked secret menu. So, grab your knife and fork, and get ready to dig in, because tonight, pasta is on the menu.
The Vegan Unlocked Research Team scoured Olive Garden’s menu of 34 items, and found that if you love pasta, tomato-based sauces and salad, you’re sorted. We found one on-menu option and two custom creations to help you mix things up.
Overall, Olive Garden scored 2 of 5 stars as a vegan-friendly restaurant. This means that while you’re unlikely to find a soy-based meatball in your marinara, there are still some tasty combos you can try.
This score is calculated based on the number of vegan offerings on the Olive Garden menu “as is” or with an easy substitution, a restaurant vegan customizability score and finally, the number of vegan options vs non-vegan options. Learn more about how Vegan Unlocked Ratings are calculated.
At first glance, when dining out at a chain restaurant like Olive Garden, it may appear that there’s little on offer vegan-wise. However, sometimes you have to think outside the box; this kind of creative thinking can transform a somewhat bland vegan dish into something mouthwatering. So, we got our vegan researchers to do just that, and they’ve come up with some tantalizing vegan combos. And don’t worry, these plant-based mash-ups won’t be complicated to order; sometimes, it just involves ordering two separate items and combining them on your plate!
Just looking for the basics? Keep scrolling for Olive Garden’s vegan menu items and our editors’ top picks just below this section.
For this loaded veggie pasta dish, simply order the spaghetti with marinara sauce and then order a side of broccoli. When the plates arrive, mix the spaghetti, marinara sauce, and broccoli together to create a rich and nourishing dish.
Better house salad:
Order a house salad, and leave out the cheese and croutons. Then get a side order of broccoli and a side of grapes. Mix this all together with olive and balsamic vinegar, and you’ve got a sumptuous, flavourful salad.
All the Vegan Options at Olive Garden
So, what else is on the menu for vegans at Olive Garden?
- Create your own pasta: If you like pasta, you’re in luck because Olive Garden has a wide range to choose from, including angel hair, fettuccine, rigatoni, small shells, and let’s face it, everyone’s favorite, spaghetti. You can then slather either marinara or tomato sauce onto your pasta of choice.
- House Salad: Fancy something lighter? Choose the house salad sans croutons and dressing, and replace them with olive oil and balsamic vinegar.
Sides, Appetizers, Add-ons
- Marinara dipping sauce with breadsticks
- Breadsticks with garlic topping
- Minestrone soup
- Kids tomato sauce with a choice of pasta
- Tomato Sauce
- Marinara sauce
- Raspberry sauce
Editor’s Picks: What ranks top for vegan meals at Olive Garden?
Although Olive Garden offers many indulgent dishes, you may be looking for a slightly healthier option. In this case, the healthiest option on the menu is the house salad with olive oil and balsamic vinegar. This item is packed full of fresh vegetables, perfect if you fancy a light bite, and just as tasty without the Italian dressing.
As the nights draw in and the winter coats come out, you might be looking for a wholesome, hearty meal. The best vegan winter warmer option at Olive Garden is the minestrone soup. This vegan classic is loaded with vegetables, beans, and pasta in a light tomato broth and pure comfort food in a bowl.
If you’re new to the vegan lifestyle and trying to ease yourself in gently with some familiar favorites, the best option for new vegans is the marinara dipping sauce with breadsticks. Olive Garden’s famous fluffy, garlic-topped breadsticks are already first-class, but when you dip them in marinara sauce, they’re a match made in heaven.
Note: Vegan Unlocked is a tool dedicated to helping people find plant-based options. We are not an allergen resource, and want to encourage our friends with allergies to proceed with caution. We cannot control and don’t always know when cross contamination takes place. See Olive Garden’s allergen menu here. As far as cross-contamination of vegan foods with animal products, this is completely up to your comfort level as an individual. Read our stance on cross contamination here.
Frequently asked Olive Garden questions
Does Olive Garden pasta contain eggs?
According to Olive Garden’s allergen guide, none of their pasta, whether fettuccine or rigatoni, contains eggs or egg-derived ingredients.
Are Olive Garden croutons vegan?
Unfortunately, Olive Garden’s croutons contain romano cheese, so they’re not vegan.
Are Olive Garden’s breadsticks vegan-friendly?
Yes! While you may have been concerned that the breadsticks’ garlic topping is non-vegan, it’s actually soy-based, meaning the breadsticks contain no eggs, dairy, cheese, or any other animal ingredients.
You can find out more information about Olive Garden by visiting their website here.
Dining at Olive Garden soon?
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