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9 Best Keto Friendly Items at Olive Garden

Olive Garden Italian restaurant front door entrance, casual family dining

It is possible and quite gratifying to enjoy the delicious flavors of Olive Garden while adhering to your ketogenic diet. Here, we’ll present a carefully chosen list of Olive Garden’s top keto-friendly dishes so you can enjoy every bite without going over your daily carbohydrate intake. We’ve combed the menu to bring you a recommendation that turns your mealtime into a guilt-free celebration of food, from delicious salads crowned with fresh greens to juicy protein-packed dishes. Prepare to experience a gastronomic adventure that perfectly integrates with your low-carb lifestyle on your next visit to Olive Garden as you discover the ideal balance of taste and adherence to your keto goals.

Chicken Margherita

Chicken Margherita
Source: Instagram

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. 


Herb-Grilled Salmon

Herb-Grilled Salmon
Source: Instagram

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.


Zuppa Toscana

Zuppa Toscana
Source: Instagram

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. 

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Grilled Chicken and Steamed Broccoli

Grilled Chicken and Steamed Broccoli
Source: Instagram

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

House Salad Without Croutons
Source: Instagram

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.


Salmon Piccata

Salmon Piccata
Source: Instagram

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.


Minestrone Soup

Minestrone Soup
Source: FoodFanatic

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!

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Zoodles Primavera with Grilled Chicken

Zoodles Primavera with Grilled Chicken
Source: Instagram

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.

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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.

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