Finding vegan food choices in restaurants is becoming much easier today than in the past. It wasn’t long ago that a vegan food option when eating out at a non-vegan establishment was hard to find. When there was an accidentally vegan item in a chain restaurant, it was often a side dish or plain salad. Many restaurants and fast-food chains are adding and labeling plant-based menu options, including Olive Garden. Vegan Olive Garden menu items are available at all 876 of their restaurant locations in the United States, meaning most vegans in North America are never far away from an American Italian-style meal. We’ve compiled a list of the Olive Garden vegan items that are currently available below.
Vegan Olive Garden Appetizers & Sides
Some of the most popular vegan Olive Garden menu items are appetizers and sides. Vegans are historically masters at making sides into a complete meal when there are no other choices, but Olive Garden is one restaurant where this is a welcome decision.
Breadsticks with Accidentally Vegan Garlic Topping
Are Olive Garden breadsticks vegan without any alterations or substitutions? Yes! Both the bread and the soy-based garlic topping on the breadsticks are vegan-friendly. These large soft sticks of vegan deliciousness are great on their own or when eaten with or dipped into other Olive Garden vegan options like Minestrone or the marinara dipping sauce.
Salad with Olive Oil and Balsamic Vinegar (Minus the Croutons)
Is Olive Garden salad dressing vegan? Unfortunately, not. Currently, no Olive Garden vegan dressing is available, but it is easy to make an Olive Garden salad vegan with a few adjustments. Order the classic salad with olive oil and balsamic vinegar instead of Italian dressing. Remember to ask for it without the croutons to enjoy an entirely plant-based vegan Olive Garden salad.
Vegan Olive Garden Soup
Is there an Olive Garden vegan soup? Yes! The Olive Garden veggie soup option is their Minestrone. The Minestrone vegan soup at Olive Garden is available year-round and made with a mix of vegetables, pasta, and beans simmered in a light tomato broth. No alterations are needed to order the Minestrone as plant-based, and diners can add it for free to any meal in place of the vegan Olive Garden salad side.
All You Can Eat Soup, Salad, & Breadsticks
One of the best things about eating vegan at Olive Garden is the never-ending refills on many options. It is virtually impossible to leave an Olive Garden restaurant hungry. If anything, most diners become stuffed before the meal has ended. Combining all the vegan Olive Garden appetizers above into a bottomless plant-based feast is easy by ordering the all-you-can-eat soup, salad, and breadsticks meal.
Vegan Olive Garden Pasta
Pasta-based vegan dishes at Olive Garden are limited but are available. Only one Olive Garden veggie pasta option is on the main menu. A few similar vegan options are available with their create-your-own-pasta options, but the differences are mainly in pasta types only.
Spaghetti with Marinara Sauce
Is Olive Garden marinara sauce vegan as is? Yes! The only Olive Garden vegan pasta option listed on the main menu is spaghetti with marinara sauce. Customers can order this plant-based dish without substitutions or changes. Entrees come with unlimited breadsticks and one free side. This spaghetti dish pairs perfectly with either the salad or Minestrone.
Create-Your-Own Pasta Options
The create-your-own pasta menu option allows customers to choose various pasta types and sauces to create a customized dish. While there are only two Olive Garden veggie pasta sauces, there are five vegan pasta choices to pair with them. Here are the Olive Garden vegan pasta choices for the create-your-own meal option:
Create-Your-Own Pasta Types:
- Angel Hair
- Small Shells
Create-Your-Own Pasta Sauces:
- Tomato Sauce
Vegan Olive Garden Dessert
Unfortunately, there are no Olive Garden vegan dessert choices available yet (unless you want a plain bowl of their raspberry sauce and a spoon), but we can always hope that the chain will add a plant-based dessert in the future. With the all-you-can-eat Olive Garden, vegan options, and large portion sizes, it is hard to think about ordering more food after such a large meal, but a vegan dessert option will always be a welcome change. (Hint, hint Olive Garden.)
Navigating the Vegan Olive Garden Menu
Eating vegan at Olive Garden is always an easy experience with their distinctly labeled menu that stays consistent at all locations. The nationwide restaurant chain even offers customers an Olive Garden vegan menu PDF that is free to view or download on their website. This vegan menu information pamphlet defines vegan as “not including animal meat, stock, gelatin, rennet, or ingredients derived from animals, including honey.” It also states that if any dish or item is not on the pamphlet, diners should assume it is not vegan or vegetarian. With such a comprehensive list of menu options available for restaurant guests, it is stress-free for vegan patrons to dine at Olive Garden. For more information about eating vegan at non-vegan restaurants check out our previous posts “Eating Vegan at Burger King in the USA” and “2022 Guide to Taco Bell“.