Olive Garden Nutrition Facts
Olive Garden® is a casual, reasonably-priced Italian restaurant chain that boasts “When You’re Here, You’re Family®.” They pride themselves on using fresh ingredients which is tied in with the creation of Olive Garden’s Culinary Institute of Tuscany® (Italy). Used as a reward and means of training their chefs and managers on authentic Italian cuisine, you can expect tastier fare. Their large menu offers a nice selection of healthy choices.
Appetizers, Soups, Salads, Panini, Pizzas & Specials
While ‘appetizers’ are meant to be meal starters to satisfy a small appetites or tide you over until your entrée arrives. Unfortunately they are usually high in calories, fat and sodium and Olive Garden® appetizers are no exception. The only calorie-controlled option is the Mussels di Napoli® for 180 calories. Choose soup or salad instead. The minestrone, pasta e fagioli or Zuppa Toscana® soups provide 100 to 170 calories, little fat and less than 1,000 mg sodium. The pasta e fagioli soup is fiber-rich too!
Their family-style salad is usually tossed with dressing before serving so request a garden salad without the dressing for 130 calories and 4 g fat. The paninis are tasty and average about 570 calories each but are very high in fat. Same with the flatbreads and pizzas. You can choose your own toppings but a simple cheese pizza starts at 930 calories (mostly carbs) and tons of sodium. Stick with soup and salad and you can satisfy yourself on fewer than 300 calories and 8 g fat! There are a few specials worth trying, if available, such as the spinach salad, tomato basil & feta bruchetta and oven-roasted asparagus. Each choice offers 15 to 90 calories.
Specials and Pastas
For the rest of the entrées, calorie counts listed are for lunch-sized portions, unless otherwise specified. Pasta doesn’t have to be forbidden, as long as you don’t mind the carbs. The Capellini Pomodoro® and Ravioli di Portobello® provide, on average, 440 calories and 15 g fat. The cheese ravioli with marinara sauce offers 530 calories and 18 g fat. The lunch and dinner-sized portions of the linguini alla marinara provide fewer than 430 calories and 5 g fat.
Seafood, Poultry, Beef and Desserts
Among the seafood choices, your best options are the shrimp primavera for 510 calories and 9 g fat; Seafood Brodetto® for 480 calories and 16 g fat; and the Capellini de Mare® for 650 calories and 18 g fat. The herb-crusted salmon provides only 510 calories but 26 g fat. The good news is that it is mostly heart-healthy unsaturated fat.
For chicken, the best option is the Venetian Apricot Chicken® (lunch and dinner-sized portions) for less than 400 calories and 7 g fat. The chicken parmigiana is a fair pick at 570 calories and 18 g fat as is the Steak Toscano® for 590 calories and 20 g fat.
A couple of the Olive Garden® desserts are calorie-controlled. If available, try the berries & zabalione from the ‘special’ menu for 220 calories and 9 g fat. The Strawberry Mousse with White Chocolate Cream Cake® provides 210 calories and 11 g fat. Other choices are too high in saturated fat. For beverages, avoid the high-calorie margaritas, daiquiris, smoothies and frozen coffee drinks!