Olive Garden has a way of making you feel like you’re going to eat with your family.
Notable for their never-ending breadsticks, salads, and pasta specials, they carry homemade sauces and soups, taking pride in creating delicious Italian cuisine from scratch. With nearly 900 locations throughout the country, the franchise is beloved.
As we become more aware of specific food allergies, restaurants are trying to shift their menus to accommodate those with various restrictions. They have keto options at Olive Garden, vegetarian and vegan options, and more.
If you’re following a diet that doesn’t include gluten, Olive Garden has gluten-sensitive choices.
Whether you’re trying to avoid gluten due to Celiac disease or an allergy, or just trying to limit it in your diet, you can still enjoy some of your favorite Olive Garden dishes without worry!
I’ve got you covered when it comes to the best gluten-free items the beloved Italian restaurant has to offer.
*Disclaimer: Always confirm food allergen information with your local restaurant before consuming.
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
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
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.
Grilled Chicken Parmesan
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
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.
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.
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.
6 Oz Sirloin
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.
Olive Garden has a lot of amazing dishes, and it’s good to see them cater to those customers that have dietary restrictions. While the menu is somewhat limited at the moment, they are trying to expand to include even more options for gluten-sensitive patrons.
From their famous salad to the gluten-free rotini, you definitely won’t go hungry even if you’re cutting gluten out of your diet.
Be sure to inform them ahead of time if you’re arriving with a large party that has these food allergies, as they may be able to customize a menu for special occasions.
Looking for something different? Check out Olive Garden’s secret menu for dishes you haven’t tried before!