The ketogenic diet, also called the keto diet, has been trending for a few years, but it does yield substantial health benefits for those who want to lose weight and improve overall well-being.
Olive Garden is one of the more popular Italian-American restaurants that has done its best to accommodate people that need other options besides pasta and breadsticks.
These are their most famous dishes, but you can order other menu items with fewer carbs, allowing you to go out to eat with friends and family without cheating the keto lifestyle.
Olive Garden ensures customers can choose vegetarian, vegan, and nearly gluten-free options that are still delicious.
They also advertise that you can always ask the server to give you a substitution when possible. Check out our list of the best Olive Garden keto options.
Keto-Friendly Dishes at Olive Garden
Check out these low carb Olive Garden dishes so you can stick to your keto diet!
The Chicken Margherita is a simple, delicious dish but always delivers bold flavors.
It comes with two perfectly seasoned, juicy grilled chicken breasts, and they have fresh tomatoes, basil pesto, mozzarella, and a zesty lemon-garlic sauce on top. It also comes with a side of parmesan garlic broccoli.
It’s one of my favorite meals for the keto diet because it fills you up with being too carb-heavy. This meal is light enough that you won’t regret eating it once you’re done.
The side of broccoli to cut some of the richness from the cheese and pesto.
The fresh cherry tomatoes offer texture and a tangy element to the dish. Olive Garden is one of the best restaurants that don’t have the same few options for those that don’t want to indulge in pasta or bread when they go out to eat.
They do salmon differently at Olive Garden, starting with the light and flavorful herb butter they drizzle on top of the grilled filet.
It’s a decent size, and it’s flaky and fresh with a slight crust on top and bottom from the grill. The fresh herbs add a nice flavor to the salmon.
It comes with a tasty side of parmesan garlic broccoli, and the meal as a whole is low in salt and calories.
The servers will offer sides/substitutions like the Zuppa Toscana, a side of zoodles (zucchini noodles), the house salad without croutons, and other selections that may be better for your diet, upon request.
Overall, this is a solid option on the menu if you want something low in carbs.
I never get tired of the Zuppa Toscana. There are many ways to make potato soup, but I enjoy the way this restaurant adds complementary ingredients that taste amazing.
This soup dish has chunky pieces of Italian sausage, which gives it a slight bacon taste, and bits of fennel.
There is a subtle heat from the pepper flakes, which is terrific with the onions and kale leaves.
The potatoes are abundant! It’s not too much, but you don’t feel like you have all that soul with only a few pieces.
They melt in your mouth, which works well with the soup’s creaminess.
Grilled Chicken and Steamed Broccoli
The grilled chicken with steamed broccoli is a good option that doesn’t have many carbs, and the chicken is flavorful.
When I’m looking for something simple and satisfying, this is my go-to meal. You can pair the grilled chicken and the broccoli with a salad or any of their soups, such as minestrone.
You can also request a side of pasta, namely the zoodles, which are zucchini noodles that aren’t packed with carbs.
While this isn’t the dish that has the most pronounced flavors or variety, since there’s no sauce, you can still enjoy it for lunch or dinner with a nice glass of wine!
House Salad Without Croutons
Finding a Keto-friendly meal at a carb-heavy establishment such as Olive Garden can seem like an impossible endeavor; however, there are several options.
The house salad without croutons is one of them.
Olive Garden’s famous house salad comes with romaine or iceberg lettuce, pepperoncini, small amounts of red cabbage, red onion sliced thinly, carrots, tomatoes, parmesan cheese, and croutons.
However, since you’re making this a keto-friendly meal, remember to tell the server that you don’t want any croutons.
What’s more, you can choose among their signature Italian dressing, the oil and vinegar salad, or the low-fat version of their Italian dressing.
The name of the game with a keto-based diet is low carbs, and typically you’ll want to limit your carb intake to 50 grams of total carbs or 25 grams of net carbs.
The Salmon Piccata is one exquisite which adheres to these parameters.
This meal comes prepared with a grilled salmon filet to perfection, topped with capers, sun-dried tomatoes, and a delightful lemon garlic butter sauce.
This dish is even a bit playful with its take on noodles—it comes with parmesan-crusted zoodles!
Zoodles are zucchini in the shape of noodles which complement the Salmon perfectly.
While being on a ketogenic diet can usually present problems when trying to go out to eat for a change of pace, Olive Garden’s minestrone is a great keto-friendly option that’s delectable and filling.
Being on a low-carb diet makes it hard to be satisfied, but the minestrone is a great way to curb your appetite.
The minestrone is a beautiful medley of onions, celery, zucchini, leafy greens, tomatoes, beans, green beans, shell pasta, and light tomato broth.
This soup had a surprising depth of flavor, especially when you consider that there’s no protein in the dish.
Olive Garden’s minestrone is an excellent option for those on a keto-based diet. Check out other Olive Garden appetizers to go with your soup!
Zoodles Primavera with Grilled Chicken
Let’s be honest; sometimes, while you’re soldering through a ketogenic diet, there are times when you crave carbs.
What if there was a fun substitute to help curb such a craving? Zoodles primavera with grilled chicken is a great pasta substitute that gives you the sensation of eating pasta without the carbs!
The zucchini noodles are tossed in a light basil cream sauce with carrots, mushrooms, roasted red peppers, seasoned tomatoes, and broccoli.
The grilled chicken is a work of art that’s both grilled and seasoned to perfection.
So if you’re craving pasta while on a ketogenic diet, the Zoodles primavera with grilled chicken is a great pasta substitute.
Keto-Friendly Dishes at Olive Garden
- Chicken Margherita
- Herb-Grilled Salmon
- Zuppa Toscana
- Grilled Chicken and Steamed Broccoli
- House Salad Without Croutons
- Salmon Piccata
- Minestrone Soup
- Zoodles Primavera with Grilled Chicken
Olive Garden is one of the best restaurants to get a little slice of Italy for affordable prices. While they are most known for their never-ending pasta, salad, soup, and breadsticks, they also have vegetarian, vegan, and gluten-sensitive options.
There is enough variety that you don’t feel like you order the same thing each time you go if you’re doing the keto diet.
Plus, they’re good with substitutions and doing their best to bring the flavor with every meal, whether there’s no meat, no carbs, no gluten, etc.
If you’re not so worried about your diet, check out our favorite Olive Garden desserts to finish your meal!