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TOPIC: Vegan Options at The Olive Garden

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January 24, 2012 1:18 PM
It looks as though I will be taking a trip to The Olive Garden soon and I was curious what my fellow vegans on a weight loss mission order when they are there.

I'm thinking salad (no cheese or croutons) with oil and vinegar instead of the house italian dressing. (I don't know if the dressing is vegan or not... I was just going on calories. Does anyone know if it is vegan?)

Then, unless there is a non pasta option anyone knows of, I was gonna order some angel hair with mushrooms, onions, and peppers topped with tomato sauce.

It sounds so boring. I wish they could whip up a little garlic sauce or something.

Any other suggestions?
January 24, 2012 1:22 PM
Nada. The dressing has cheese in it...the pasta has egg in it. They have a gluten free menu, but not a vegan menu :-(
January 24, 2012 1:23 PM
Although they do have a bar...
January 24, 2012 1:50 PM
Even the pasta has egg in it? Oh man, they had it listed on Vegan Eating Out as safe. Ugh.
January 24, 2012 1:55 PM
I had to go to a get-together at one once, and the server had the chef come out to the table with the list of ingredients in the pasta...unless they all use differing recipes, that one had egg in it.
January 24, 2012 2:38 PM
best option: front door.

Sorry for my pessimism but I was recently served both oil (which I do not eat) and milk in the course of two days. I have a complete distrust of restaurants and I think I'm done with them.
January 24, 2012 3:10 PM
I know the breadsticks are vegan. So...salad and breadsticks? I went there for my birthday because I didn't realize that the pasta had egg in it at the time.... bleh.
January 24, 2012 3:13 PM
I believe the sauces all have butter in them, my daughter was a server there. Your best bet is to tell the server you are vegan and ask what your options are. They may have a cook come talk to you but everything is pretty much made ahead and put together by the line cooks so I think your options are pretty limited. If you gotta go you have to ask or call ahead.
January 24, 2012 3:15 PM
And although the salad and breadsticks are unlimited, they're not free, you have to buy a meal or pay for them separately. They may have a vinegar & oil dressing.
January 24, 2012 4:13 PM
Minestrone soup might possibly be vegan, but I'm not 100% sure because there are a few pieces of pasta in it. Just go with the salad and bread sticks but tell them no cheese or dressing. You should bring your own vegan dressing on the side. That's what I do.
January 24, 2012 5:54 PM
My sister-in-law works there and this is what she recommends for me:

(1) The salad w/ oil and vinegar is vegan (no crutons).
(2) The breadsticks WITHOUT the garlic sauce (so plain) are vegan.
(3) The pomodoro sauce is vegan. The pasta is dried (not fresh) which is usually egg free, but I believe different restaurants might use different suppliers so I'd check.
(4) The minestrone is vegan

Olive Garden corporate cannot "guarantee" anything to be vegan so you take a risk. I feel comfortable with what my SIL told me, but I realize I cannot be perfect ALL the time.

Honestly, Macaroni Grill which is the same corporate as Olive Garden might be a better bet. If you're really not wanting to take the risk on the pasta, I'd get soup, salad, and breadsticks. But make sure you order the breadsticks without the garlic butter.
Edited by darkling_glory On January 24, 2012 5:55 PM
January 24, 2012 6:13 PM
When I go, it's minestrone for me.. and naked breadsticks.

I never go anymore, though, since the sodium levels are just way too high.
January 24, 2012 7:43 PM
I'm shocked that the minestrone isn't made with chicken stock. It seems like every restaurant's soup is made with chicken!
January 31, 2012 6:48 PM
I've checked around a few locations and online and the Capellini Pomodoro appears to be vegan. Must be the one pasta that doesn't use egg. I know that Italian restaurants that use fresh pasta will always have egg in it, however dried pasta sometimes does not.

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