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Vegan People
Respecting All Animals
Olive Garden 
2nd-May-2009 02:56 pm
Hi, sorry if this has already been asked here; I looked under the "restaurants" tag for a bit and couldn't find anything and I'm kinda in a hurry =/

Today is my friend's birthday, and her and a bunch of our friends are going to the Olive Garden tonight. I looked on their website for a good hour, and found several things that at least appear to be vegan, or can easily be made vegan: minestrone soup (verified vegetarian, not sure if it's vegan), garden fresh salad (without dressing), create your own pizza (obviously ask for it without cheese and put veggies on it), Linguine alla Marinara, Capellini Pomodoro, Bruschetta al Pomodoro. I'm slightly worried because some of those are pasta dishes... do you know if their pasta has eggs or milk in it? If they do, it's no big deal, I'll just get the salad and/or pizza.

And another question: What about their breadsticks? Any butter or milk?

Thank you!
2nd-May-2009 08:15 pm (UTC)
IIRC, there is absolutely nothing vegan at Olive Garden. The pasta has eggs, the breaksticks have butter, the dressing has cheese.
2nd-May-2009 08:18 pm (UTC)
From Vegan Eating Out:

Many vegans are unsure of whether or not your pasta contains eggs as it is not listed on your website. Can you please confirm whether this is true or not and add this information to your website?

Thank you for your suggestion to add the information below to our website. In January we will be updating the nutritional section of our website. At this time Olive Garden suggests the following items as vegan, meaning they contain no animal-derived ingredients including meat, dairy, eggs, or honey:

Minestrone Soup
Garden Salad with oil and vinegar (instead of our house dressing) and no croutons
Tomato Sauce
Capellini Pomodoro
Steamed Veggies without seasoned butter

So maybe it's not as terrible as I'd thought, but it still kinda sucks.
2nd-May-2009 08:21 pm (UTC)
yeah i've heard about how they have nothing really vegan there too. but how is the capellini pomodoro vegan if their pasta isn't? i thought it was made with angel hair pasta. i'm confused.
2nd-May-2009 08:30 pm (UTC)
Maybe it's because angelhair is usually a "lighter" pasta? I'm really not sure.
2nd-May-2009 08:39 pm (UTC)
yeah that would make sense.
2nd-May-2009 09:33 pm (UTC)
the capellini pomodoro is really good if you ask them to throw some veggies and red pepper in the sauce. when i go there, i get that.
i don't eat the breadsticks; they're junk food 9,000 calories.. so even if they were vegan, i wouldn't touch them.
and the default salad dressing, which isn't vegan, tastes pretty nasty anyway. it's thick and slimy like mucus or something. olive oil n vinegar tastes way better.
3rd-May-2009 02:23 am (UTC)
I thought the minestrone had pasta in it too. Weird.
6th-May-2009 04:19 am (UTC)
Last time I checked (a couple years ago), the minestrone soup was laced with cream and butter. Did this really change?
2nd-May-2009 08:24 pm (UTC)
my exerience is that you need to call ahead of time and ask. Someplaces have egg in their pasta, some don't. If you call ahead and say you can have no meat (or meat broth), dairy, egg, or fish, they can check the ingredients in the back for you.

One time I went they made a seperate salad for me (oil and vinegar was brought to the table as a dressing) and I got a veggie and garlic noodle dish with olive oil.

another time they had nothing for me.

2nd-May-2009 08:44 pm (UTC)
thanks to everyone who commented! I think I'm going to play it safe and get the salad with modifications and the pizza with modifications. Plus that just sounds yummy, I love vegan pizza! lol
2nd-May-2009 09:34 pm (UTC)
try the capellini. it really is quite good.
2nd-May-2009 11:12 pm (UTC)
They don't seem to have standardized their ingredients, so you should check with your local olive garden. I swear I they change their story all the time. I just don't eat there anymore, I but it can be hard when friends/family like it.
3rd-May-2009 01:11 am (UTC)
You can get the breadsticks without butter on them, but I wouldn't bother, they're not very good.
3rd-May-2009 10:48 pm (UTC)
Last I checked:

You can substitute the Capallini Pomodoro with Wheat Pasta (the only pasta they have that is vegan, though apparently my brother says they have changed to using non-egg pasta but I have not confirmed that)

Breadsticks are not vegan, there is milk in the dough.
Do not get the olive garden salad dressing cause it has cheese, but you can get a dry salad and ask for some balsamic and olive oil and it is still pretty good.

I have had two bad experiences there so I won't be returning unless I have to.

1. I ordered their pasta with marinara sauce (substituting wheat pasta) and found some brown chunks in there. Asked and the waiter said "yes there is meat in the marinara sauce" a few minutes later came back and said, "oh sorry there isn't supposed to be meat in there, but someone DROPPED a piece of meat in the pot, so that is why it was there". I can't remember if they comped my meal or not, but I don't think they did. They did get me a new meatless plate.

2. They were out of wheat pasta, but I was there with my whole Ultimate team on a road trip so I wasn't gonna go searching for food and miss out on dinner with the team, so the best they could do was give me RICE with pasta sauce (gross). Then they charged me 10 dollars for it.
4th-May-2009 04:46 pm (UTC)
I had a friend who worked at Olive Garden, and she and the cook came up with a vegan meal for me. They gave me minestrone soup with the pasta bits picked out, steamed veggies with seasoning, and rice with some type of lemon sauce. There's also a sorbet dessert you can ask for without cream :]
5th-May-2009 06:22 am (UTC) - Olive Garden
If you don't bring your own dressing, you could eat theirs. I doubt there are animal products in their standard vinegar and oil dressing and it's pretty good. I would certainly ask if there is parmesan cheese in it, but I seriously doubt it. One of the best aspects of being vegan is that many restaurants will not put animal products into a dish if they don't have to because it's more expensive. But you have to ask.

If you're into it, plain pasta prepared with just olive oil and garlic shouldn't be a problem for the kitchen.
I also recommend not making a big deal out of being vegan, because I've had issues with kitchens sneaking in chunks of meat in my food to be funny. I think the best thing is to tell them you're on a cholesterol restrictive diet for health reasons. The word Vegan is like a four letter word to many restaurant workers.

Obsessing about being vegan is the first step to making sure you hate it and everybody hates you too.

Good luck.
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