The Vegetarian Resource Group Blog

Vegan Options at Olive Garden®

Posted on November 18, 2016 by The VRG Blog Editor


By Jeanne Yacoubou, MS

Along with a detailed chart of vegetarian and vegan menu items, there are definitions of “vegetarian” and “vegan” on the Olive Garden website. Here is their definition of “vegan”:

…Vegan is defined as not including animal meat, stock, rennet or gelatin from an animal or any animal by-products of any kind including honey. We’ve also outlined if the item contains egg, dairy or cheese (and what the source of the rennet is – microbial, animal, or vegetable). Because many of our recipes contain poultry, meat and fish products, our kitchens are not “animal free.” While we use safe food handling procedures, it is possible for any food item to come into contact with animal products during preparation and/or cooking processes. If a dish or item is not on this list, you can assume that it is not…vegan.

The VRG lists here only the menu options designated as “vegan” on Olive Garden’s chart:
• breadsticks
• marinara dipping sauce
• minestrone soup
• pasta selections
• angel hair
• cavatappi
• fettuccine
• gluten-free rotini
• rigatoni
• small shells
• spaghetti
• whole wheat linguine
• sauce selections
• marinara
• tomato
• steamed broccoli

Olive Garden also presents some information helpful to vegans on its FAQ page:
Here are some of their Q&As:

Q: Is the dairy in your breadsticks in the bread or in the garlic topping?
A: There is no dairy in our breadsticks or in the breadstick topping. The garlic topping is made from margarine.

Q: Do your breadsticks contain egg or dairy?
A: No. The breadstick – made with or without the garlic topping – does not include egg or dairy. The garlic topping is made with margarine.

Q: Does your pasta contain egg?
A: No. Our pasta does not contain egg, but our filled pastas like Cheese Ravioli and Ravioli di Portobello do have egg, and all of our pastas are cooked in the same pasta cooker.

Q: Does your pasta contain dairy?
A: No. Our pasta does not contain dairy, but our filled pastas like Cheese Ravioli and Ravioli di Portobello do have dairy, and all of our pastas are cooked in the same pasta cooker.

Q: Is the minestrone soup vegan?
A: Yes. Our minestrone soup is vegan.

Q: Does your marinara sauce contain dairy?
A: No. The marinara sauce does not contain dairy.

There is a page on Olive Garden’s website about its “handmade soups and sauces.”

There is no information on whether the minestrone soup or marina and tomato sauces contain sugar. Nor is it known whether the margarine in the breadstick garlic topping is dairy-free. There is no Ingredient Statement on the website. Interested diners should contact Olive Garden directly to find out more information.

The contents of this posting, our website, and our other publications, including Vegetarian Journal, are not intended to provide personal medical advice. Medical advice should be obtained from a qualified health professional. We often depend on product and ingredient information from company statements. It is impossible to be 100% sure about a statement, info can change, people have different views, and mistakes can be made. Please use your best judgement about whether a product is suitable for you. To be sure, do further research or confirmation on your own.

For information on other chain restaurants, see
For information on vegetarian and vegan restaurants in the USA and Canada, see

1 to “Vegan Options at Olive Garden®”

  1. Bob says:

    thank you for the efforts you take to educate your readers. though you mention on this page that Olive Garden does not state whether their margarine is vegan it would be even more helpful for VRG to use its organizational clout to also educate Olive Garden and other correspondents when it is clear that they believe all margarine is vegan. when we dine out we find that many times terms need to be defined in order to get an accurate answer.

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