Olive Garden does not have a full menu of vegan options. However, some of their most popular items are vegan, including the minestrone soup and the all-you-can-eat salad and breadsticks (with a few modifiers).
Beyond the handful of vegan dishes on the menu, your best bet is to use the Cucina Mia option to create your own pasta dish. Cucina Mia makes it easy to create your own vegan meal.
Here are our top picks and recommendations for vegan diners at Olive Garden.
The definition of vegan by Olive Garden
Olive Garden defines vegan as not including animal meat, broth, gelatin, rennet, or ingredients derived from animals, including honey. Keep in mind that cross-contamination with animal products during preparation or cooking is possible, especially for fried dishes.
Best choice: minestrone soup
This vegan classic is filled with fresh veggies (think zucchini, carrots, onions, and celery), beans, and pasta in a light tomato broth. Olive Garden’s version of minestrone is as filling as any other, making it the perfect dish to load up on healthy veggies without feeling dissatisfied. Plus, it can be paired with breadsticks and salad to create a super filling light lunch or dinner.
Best choice: unlimited salad and breadsticks
Olive Garden Breadsticks contain no eggs, no dairy, and no source of cheese rennet, making these deliciously chewy appetizers a 100% fair game for vegan guests. Ask for a side of marinara to dip your breadsticks in for a little extra substance and heat.
Ordering the endless salad and breadsticks paired with soup or a vegan dish makes for a complete meal and you won’t leave hungry. Keep in mind that the salad should be changed without croutons and dressing (just ask for extra virgin olive oil and balsamic vinegar instead), and you should definitely skip the cheese.
If you’re visiting an Italian themed restaurant, there’s a good chance you’re looking for a delicious pasta dish and you won’t be disappointed with Olive Garden’s spaghetti in marinara.
There aren’t many options when it comes to vegan pasta sauce, as only their marinara and plain tomato sauces are dairy-free and egg-free (all of their other sauces, like Alfredo or Mushroom Cream , are based on dairy products). You have a choice of pasta, however, as their angel hair, fettuccine, rigatoni, and little shellfish are vegan too.
Most of Olive Garden’s appetizers are deep-fried or meat-based and therefore off-limits to vegans. Some places offer a bruschetta appetizer, which consists of toasted ciabatta bread topped with Roma tomatoes, fresh basil and extra virgin olive oil.
The only option at Olive Garden is the side of steamed broccoli (no butter). Eat it on its own with salt, pepper and lemon juice to spice it up a bit, or toss it with your pasta to give your meal a little more volume. While that might not be the most exciting part, adding these green veggies will definitely help keep you full.
Vegans are out of luck during the dessert class since Olive Garden’s only sweet option is raspberry sauce. All other menu items contain dairy or eggs.
To end your meal with a sweet treat, opt for a cocktail or choose from the non-alcoholic drinks section with a choice of raspberry lemonade, classic lemonade, Bellini peach-raspberry iced tea or mango-strawberry iced tea.
Build your own pasta
Your best bet for a vegan entree at Olive Garden is to use their “Cucina Mia” or create your own pasta option. Choose from angel hair, fettuccine, rigatoni, small shellfish or spaghetti for a base, and top with marinara sauce or plain tomato sauce.
The menu also gives the option to supplement your pasta with vegetables from the garden, so be sure to ask your server.
Also keep in mind that Olive Garden regularly has seasonal specials and promotional items, and it may be possible to request the serving of meat and dairy products retained or replaced with fresh vegetables or additional pasta for these items. . However, these modifications may depend on the availability of ingredients, so it’s best to prepare with some knowledge of the limited vegan options.
Frequently Asked Questions
Are Olive Garden breadsticks vegan?
While the company does not list the exact ingredients on its website, it does confirm that the breadsticks and garlic filling are completely vegan and contain no dairy or eggs (the filling is made with soy or margarine rather than butter).
Is Olive Garden dressing vegan?
The famous house salad comes with tomatoes, olives, onions, and pepperoncini, although the menu’s default dressing features both eggs and Romano cheese. Instead, take olive oil and vinegar for your salad.
Is Olive Garden pesto vegan?
While it is certainly possible to make your own vegan pesto at home, Olive Garden’s basil based sauce contains cheese and is not suitable for vegans.
Does Olive Garden have vegan options for kids?
Olive Garden’s kids’ menu consists of the usual chicken sticks, mac and cheese, and pizza, making it the only vegan option in tomato sauce with a choice of pasta.
Are Olive Garden mints vegan?
The restaurant’s mint candies are exactly the same as the Andes Candies (the company orders them custom-made with a special shape and packaging). Since Andean mints contain a few different milk-based ingredients like skim milk, lactose, and milk protein concentrate, Olive Garden mints are not vegan.