in , ,

8 Items on Olive Garden’s Gluten Free Menu

olive garden sign

The well-known Italian-American restaurant chain Olive Garden is renowned for its enormous pasta portions and endless breadsticks. However, the idea of dining at such a prestigious establishment might seem like a daunting task to those with dietary restrictions or gluten sensitivity. But Olive Garden has risen to the occasion, providing customers looking for a delicious and secure dining experience with a special gluten-free menu. We explore the world of Olive Garden’s gluten-free menu in this gastronomic adventure, revealing a range of dishes that let everyone enjoy Italian flavors without having to worry about gluten. This guide is your route to an amazing experience at Olive Garden, regardless of whether you’ve been a fan for a long time or are a first-time guest inquiring about their gluten-free options.

*Disclaimer: Always confirm food allergen information with your local restaurant before consuming.


Herb-Grilled Salmon

Herb-Grilled Salmon
Source: Instagram

The Herb-Grilled Salmon is an excellent choice on the menu for those who are sensitive to gluten and want a healthy meal option that’s still tasty. The filet comes in a generous portion size, grilled perfectly, and a delicious garlic herb butter drizzled on top.  The fish is tender and flaky, and you get a side of parmesan garlic broccoli to go with it. Aside from being gluten-free, this meal is low in calories, doesn’t contain much salt, and packs a ton of protein and omega-3s for heart health. It’s a solid choice when dining out that won’t make you feel guilty later, and you don’t have to compromise on flavor.


Famous House Salad

Famous House Salad
Source: Instagram

One of the most well-known dishes Olive Garden has to offer is its salad. The Famous House Salad contains iceberg or romaine lettuce, thinly sliced red onions, pepperoncini, carrots, a small amount of red cabbage, olives, tomatoes, parmesan cheese, and croutons. Of course, if you’re making this meal gluten-free, you’d ask the server to hold the croutons.  You also choose between their signature Italian dressing, the low-fat Italian dressing, or the oil and vinegar salad dressing. Skip out on the two breadsticks that generally come with the salad and opt for protein instead of one of their seafood options to keep the meal low in fat and calories, as well as gluten-free. 


Gluten-Free Rotini Pasta with Meat Sauce

Gluten-Free Rotini Pasta with Meat Sauce
Source: Instagram

The other staple dish at Olive Garden is pasta. If you are gluten intolerant, the rotini pasta with meat sauce is an excellent selection. The pasta is made from brown rice flour, which yields a better texture without compromising taste.  The meat sauce comes with Italian sausage and pan-seared beef smothered in rich marinara. The marinara sauce itself has fresh or dried basil, crushed tomatoes, sugar, black pepper, fresh garlic, oregano, and olive oil.  The sauce is made fresh daily, and you have the option of adding Italian sausage, shrimp, or grilled chicken. There are various ways to mix and match your dish to keep it gluten-free and filling. The plate is bursting with flavor and freshness. 

See also  Restaurants with Private Dining in Tampa Bay

Grilled Chicken Parmesan

Grilled Chicken Parmesan
Source: Instagram

The Grilled Chicken Parmesan comes with perfectly grilled, juicy, tender chicken breasts, smothered in the homemade marinara sauce. There is also a blend of creamy and delicious Italian cheeses on top, and it sits on a bed of gluten-free rotini.  The sauce is pungent but not overpowering, and you still get the grilled flavor that you love so it’s not too heavy. The exact Italian cheeses used aren’t precisely known, but there’s gooey mozzarella involved! You can pair this with a salad that doesn’t have croutons, or the Zuppa Toscana – both great gluten-free options! However, the meal is filling on its own, and you can substitute the meat for shrimp or another option if you’d like. 


Gluten Free Rotini Pasta with Marinara

Gluten Free Rotini Pasta with Marinara
Source: Instagram

While the only pasta currently offered as gluten-free is rotini, Olive Garden offers it in a variety of ways, including with a simple, fresh marinara sauce. It comes with various spices, and it soaks into the pasta well to offer an authentic Italian bite that’ll leave you feeling like you didn’t have to choose a less flavorful meal because of your restrictions. It is rich and delicious, and the parmesan cheese on top is a welcomed and tasty finishing touch.


Zuppa Toscana

Zuppa Toscana
Source: Instagram

The Zuppa Toscana is delicious! It’s one of my favorite meals during the autumn and winter seasons. For starters, there are pieces of Italian sausage throughout the soup, giving it a meaty flavor with the perfect amount of spices, such as oregano and fennel. The mixture of other ingredients is essential as well because they add layers of texture. There are pepper flakes, tender slices of potatoes, thin slices of onion, and slightly coarse kale leaves. The Zuppa Toscana reminds you of a potato soup that grandma makes when you’re not feeling well, and each bite is comforting. You definitely won’t be missing out on flavor just because this dish is gluten-free.


Sautéed Shrimp

Sautéed Shrimp
Source: Instagram

Who doesn’t love shrimp? This delicate shrimp dish comes lightly sautéed with different seasonings and a delectable scampi sauce. However, upon request, you can enjoy Olive Garden’s shrimp in a variety of other ways also, such as tossed with garlic butter and accompanied by tomatoes and asparagus.  Some guests prefer to ask for the shrimp alone, sautéed with simple spices, and they pair it with fresh seasonal vegetables, the house salad (no croutons), or the Zuppa Toscana. I enjoy the parmesan garlic broccoli and a salad with my shrimp, as I can add it to the salad to make it a complete meal. 

See also  The Best BYOB Restaurants in Phoenix

6 Oz Sirloin

6 Oz Sirloin
Source: Instagram

Here’s another gluten-free meal that you can freely sink your teeth with no worries. Olive Garden offers a tender and well-seasoned steak that tastes as good as anything you’d find in a traditional steakhouse. The 6oz sirloin comes with garlic herb butter on top and is surprisingly filling for its size. My experience has been that they are typically good with making sure it’s cooked to your liking.  This steak comes with a side of your choice, and there are two gluten-free options to choose from. Paring the sirloin with Olive Garden’s house salad without croutons is a great combination of a fresh and savory bite. The other option that you can choose is the intensely flavored Zuppa Toscana. You may also request the steamed broccoli or ask the server about different ways that your meal can be personalized to suit your needs. 

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Written by Brian Nagele

Brian attended West Virginia University, then started his career in the IT industry before following his passion for marketing and hospitality. He has over 20 years experience in the restaurant and bar industry.

As a former restaurant owner, he knows about running a food business and loves to eat and enjoy cocktails on a regular basis. He constantly travels to new cities tasting and reviewing the most popular spots.

Follow him on LinkedIn, Instagram, Quora, Google Guide and Facebook.