Quick, what is the first menu item you think of when you think of Olive Garden? Odds are it’s going to be either the bottomless breadsticks or the never-ending pasta bowl. As you can probably guess, those definitely aren’t the low carb Olive Garden menu items. However, there are some keto Olive Garden options (and they don’t suck).

Let’s take a look at our options!

Now, you can argue all day about whether or not Olive Garden is real Italian food or not (it’s not, but that’s okay).

 

The Pasta Problem

You guessed it. Pasta is prohibited. All of the pasta options are starchy and high in carbs, which are not keto-friendly traits. There’s just no way around that. Still, we can look for some potential substitutes to fill you up.

By the way, in some markets, Olive Garden offers zoodles (zucchini noodles). Just be sure to request zucchini noodles only and not a mix of spaghetti and zucchini. If you’re going with a zucchini noodle, try pairing it with a richer sauce like alfredo sauce.

 

Entrees: Your Bread and Butter

The below entries add a good amount of protein, fat and flavor, so you should build your meal around these. These will add some real substance to your meal.

  • Chicken Piccata (9g net carbs)
  • Chicken Margherita (8g net carbs)
  • Herb Grilled Salmon (4g net carbs)
  • Salmon Piccata (8g net carbs)
  • Stuffed Chicken Marsala (no mashed potatoes) (14g net carbs – really savory– we split this)

 

olive garden low carb

 

 


Keto Olive Garden Salad?

You’d think with how addictive the salad is that the dressing would be loaded with sugar. In reality, it’s not. In fact, the dressing only accounts for 2g net carbs. So, if you ask for no croutons, the house salad comes out to only 5g net carbs per serving!

 

No Soup For You

If you stick to one bowl of soup, you might be able to get away with it. The problem is that with the bottomless soups, if you get more than one helping, those carbs add up quickly.

This is especially true when the Olive Garden soups start at 13g net carbs per serving. Because of this, we recommend getting the salad instead and simply avoiding the soup.

But here are some of the numbers for the soups with the fewest carbs, for your edification:

  • Minestrone – 13g net carbs
  • Zuppa Toscana – 13g net carbs
  • Pasta e Fagioli – 13g net carbs

 

Low Carb Olive Garden Sauces

Alfredo Sauce is the go-to sauce option at Olive garden at only 5g net carbs for a Dipping Boat (11g net carbs for a large). This is really the only pasta sauce that’s low enough in carb content to be keto friendly (in an amount that you’d actually eat).

Another potential candidate is the Creamy Pesto Sauce at 9g net carbs per serving.

Pro-Tip: Here’s one of our favorite hacks. Order an Alfredo dipping boat and swap out your starchy side that comes with the entree with broccoli. Then, dip that broccoli in the Alfredo sauce. It’s AMAZING.

Sides

  • Steamed Broccoli (3g net carbs)
  • Parmesan Crusted Zucchini (5g net carbs)

Besides the broccoli, the zucchini is actually one of the lowest carb options on the menu. You can swap either of these in for any starchy side or order as an appetizer.

 

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Who said margs aren’t good for you? This Chicken Margherita is under 600 cals and super tasty. 😋

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A Sample Keto Olive Garden Meal vs Regular

Now, let’s compare a typical order versus a more low carb Olive Garden order using what we know above.

The challenge is: Can we order a multi-course dinner at Olive Garden and stay under 20g net carbs?

 

Low Carb Example Order

  • Order a small boat of Alfredo sauce and a side of broccoli as an appetizer (5g net carbs)
  • Choose a house salad without croutons (5g net carbs)
  • Pick a low carb entree like Chicken Margherita (8g net carbs)

Total Example Low Carb Olive Garden Order: 18g net carbs

 

 

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Tag a friend you’d accidentally steal this from. 😈🍴

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Regular Example Order

  • A single breadstick = 25g net carbs
  • A serving of salad (with croutons) = 11g net carbs
  • Chicken Alfredo (the most popular Olive Garden dish) = 91 net carbs

Total Example Regular Olive Garden Order = 137 net carbs

 

As you can see, the discrepancy is staggering! We tried to choose a pretty typical meal to keep it fair. And honestly, that doesn’t even include wine or dessert (or even more than one breadstick–you know how hard that is!). You could easily hit the 200-300+ carb range with a normal Olive Garden order.


 

Our Take

We’ve had that exact example keto meal before and it is definitely satiating. The broccoli with alfredo sauce really is the key because it is filling and also adds that satisfying, rich flavor. And at around 18g or so net carb, that meal can realistically fit into most peoples’ macros for the day.

We’ve shown that there are some Olive Garden keto options that actually resemble a real meal. That means you can add this to your list of potential sit-down restaurants you can eat at on a low carb diet. Yes, you can keep it keto in the land of unlimited breadsticks!

 

That’s it! Have any special Olive Garden order hacks? Let us know in the comments!

Buon appetito! 

 

keto low carb olive garden guide

 

Source: Olive Garden Nutrition

See more of our Keto Restaurant Guides