Olive Garden Keeps it Simple with this Little Dairy-Free Menu


Updated in 2021! Years ago, we added dozens of chain restaurants, beyond fast food, to Go Dairy Free. But I didn’t post about Olive Garden because their dairy-free options were so paltry. Over time, they’ve added just enough choices (mostly due to recipe changes) to pique our interest. So we’ve added this dairy-free menu guide, which also includes the vegan choices and gluten-free picks.

Dairy-Free & Vegan Menu Guide for Olive Garden with Gluten-Free Options. Quick at-a-glance menu!

Dairy-Free Menu Guide for Olive Garden with Vegan & Gluten-Free Options

Yes, the unlimited soup, salad, and breadsticks deal is on limits! As long as you pick the best options. And you can sidestep all that butter, cream, and cheese with the menu selections below.

Soup, Salad & Breadsticks

  • Breadstick with Garlic Topping
  • Minestrone Soup
  • Pasta Fagioli Soup
  • Famous House Salad with Extra Virgin Olive Oil & Balsamic Vinegar (no croutons, no dressing; gluten-free)

Vegans:  All of the above are vegan-friendly, except the Pasta Fagioli Soup.

Create our Own Pasta

  • Choose Plain Pasta: Angel Hair, Fettuccine, Rigatoni, Small Shells, Spaghettie, or Gluten-Free Rotini
  • Choose Sauce (all gluten-free): Marinara, Tomato Sauce, or Meat Sauce
  • Choose Protein (all gluten-free): Grilled Chicken, Italian Sausage, or Sautéed Shrimp

Vegans:  The Marinara and all of the wheat Pastas are vegan-friendly. The gluten-free pasta now contains egg.

Note: Their fried-type of chicken and the meatballs contain dairy. Their Meat Sauce, which is dairy-free, is made with ground beef and their Italian sausage.


  • Spaghetti with Marinara Sauce
  • Spaghetti with Meat Sauce
  • Gluten Sensitive Rotini Pasta with Marinara (gluten-free)
  • Gluten Sensitive Rotini Pasta with Meat Sauce (gluten-free)

Vegans:  The two Marinara Spaghetti listed above is vegan-friendly.

Note: You can add Shrimp, Grilled Chicken, or Italian Sausage to any of these entrees. It’s essentially the same as the create-your-own pasta options.

Kids Entrees

  • Chicken Fingers & Pasta

Heads Up! You can ask about a cheese-free pepperoni pizza. Their pepperoni is dairy-free, their tomato sauce is dairy-free, and their pizza crust is likely the same as the breadstick dough.


Heads Up! Unfortunately, the only dairy-free dessert item on the Olive Garden menu is raspberry sauce topping!

This Post is for Informational Purposes Only

Menus, ingredients, kitchen procedures, management, and restaurants are subject to change at any time. Always read the menu and discuss your dietary needs with the staff before ordering. Make sure that they can accommodate your situation. This post is for informational purposes only, and should not be construed as advice.

There is always a risk for potential cross-contamination of allergens in any commercial kitchen. If cross-contamination is an issue for you, always speak with the manager to ensure that your meal can be safely prepared. Listings here do not guarantee that a restaurant is safe enough for your individual needs. Only you can make that decision.

Dairy-Free & Vegan Menu Guide for Olive Garden with Gluten-Free Options. Quick at-a-glance menu!

Where to Find Olive Garden

Olive Garden operates nearly 900 restaurants around the world, but most of their locations are in the U.S. You can also find them in Canada, Brazil, El Salvador, UAE, Kuwait, Mexico, and Panama. See their website below for addresses, hours, allergen menus, and contact information.

Website: www.olivegarden.com

Average Reader Review

Rated 3.8 out of 5
3.8 out of 5 stars (based on 4 reviews)
Very good25%

Rate Your Dairy-Free Experience with this Restaurant

What Others Are Saying ...

Grilled Chicken

Rated 4 out of 5
July 14, 2021

Restaurant is great, but you said the grilled chicken has diary when in fact it does not have dairy. Other than that restaurant was great and review was helpful.

Avatar for Jackie Bean
Jackie Bean

Response from Go Dairy Free

Yes, thank you. They updated their menu and allergen guide after our last update. We have completed a current update!

Had Minestrone soup, house salad with Croutons

Rated 1 out of 5
June 12, 2021

Paying the price for eating Minestrone soup and salad at Olive Garden tonight! Wheezing and lung congestion! Hopefully I won’t pay a higher price later tonight! My regrets! Next time I will say pass on this restaurant as there is such a limited menu! Tried to satisfy my 88 year old mother that is tired of her lockdown at the assisted living home.

Avatar for Jim Paul
Jim Paul

Dairy Free Meatballs Please!

Rated 5 out of 5
October 26, 2020

I’ve enjoyed eating dairy-free at Olive Garden a few times now. I usually get some sort of pasta with the meat sauce; I’m not vegan, just have a milk protein allergy. So yesterday I decided a little more meat was in order and asked for 3 meatballs. Found out this morning at the mirror that I’d obviously gotten into some dairy somewhere. Googled, found your site, and the culprit is the meatballs. Oh well, live and learn! Also, if you are eating in the restaurant, they usually bring the salad already tossed with their signature dressing. The dressing is NOT dairy-free, so you’ll need to ask them to bring it on the side.

Avatar for Laura

A great option for multiple food allergies

Rated 5 out of 5
October 10, 2020

My daughter is allergic to milk, egg and peanut. She loves Olive Garden. We have always had a good experience and on several occasions a manager has checked on us without our prompting to make sure she is well cared for. She loves the breadsticks and always orders pasta with olive oil and garlic with an Italian sausage. Would definitely recommend

Avatar for Sheila Ray
Sheila Ray

About Author

Alisa is the founder of GoDairyFree.org, Food Editor for Allergic Living magazine, and author of the best-selling dairy-free book, Go Dairy Free: The Guide and Cookbook for Milk Allergies, Lactose Intolerance, and Casein-Free Living, and the new cookbook, Eat Dairy Free: Your Essential Cookbook for Everyday Meals, Snacks, and Sweets. Alisa is also a professional recipe creator and product ambassador for the natural food industry.


  1. French Onion Soup is not “Obviously dairy-free.” Many French Onion Soups are loaded with butter from sautéing the onions and the bullion, which if they use a cube, has dairy in most of them.

    • I appreciate your concern Bec, but I think you might be reading out of context. I stated that French onion soup was, because of the ingredients listed. Not that all French onion soups are.

  2. Regarding Sweet Tomatoes, I have mixed feelings as well. I am dairy-free, and my wife is gluten-free, both due to fairly extreme reactions to each, respectively. I did find a pretty good variety of dairy-free options, but identifying them, especially in the soup selections., was more than a challenge. They have somewhat cryptic labels on the selections, like “V”, “VE”, and “VG”. This may not be exact secret codes, but they are not intuitive as to what each one means. Here in Arizona, where many of the employees are Mexican and have a limited English vocabulary, it became especially complicated in clarifying what is safe for us to eat. One very-friendly, but English-limited employee did bring us a book to look up what items we had questions about, but the book was out-dated, and did not have several of the specific soups in questions listed. For a “healthy alternative” type of restaurant/buffet, Sweet Tomatoes seems to be dropping the ball in catering to their target market.