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 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: Spaghetti, Angel Hair, Cavatappi , Rigatoni , 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 Pastas, including the gluten-free option, are vegan-friendly.
Note: Both types of chicken (including the grilled option) 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 pasta menu items listed above are 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.
- 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.
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.
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What Others Are Saying ...
Dairy Free Meatballs Please!
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.
A great option for multiple food allergies
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