Popular Olive Garden Menu Items Ranked Worst To Best
Bottles of flowing wine, fresh fish, succulent meats, homemade pasta, and tons of vibrant, seasonal vegetables there’s nothing quite like a classic Italian meal. But here in America, we took it upon ourselves to transform Italian cuisine into something that’s our own. There might be no better representation of that than Olive Garden. While not even remotely close to authentic Italian, we love it all the same and are darn right proud. Few can resist the allure of its amply portioned pasta dishes, unlimited soup and salad, and those addictive breadsticks.
The multi-billion dollar franchise has been in operation since 1982 and shows little signs of slowing down. It’s the epitome of the American casual dining sector, providing fast and affordable Italian dining to the masses in its bustling, Tuscan-inspired dining rooms. The menu reads like a laundry list of Italian-American specialties, with everything from chicken parmigiana to fettuccine alfredo and fried calamari.
But just how do its most popular dishes stack up against each other? To find out, we were enlisted to consume far more than one ever should at Olive Garden . So because you’re family , here are the most popular Olive Garden menu items ranked from worst to best.
Bon appetit, our parmesan-loving, garlic-seeking friends!
How To Make Olive Garden Minestrone Soup
In a large stock pot, on medium heat add the olive oil, carrots, celery, and onions. Place a lid on the stock pot and let the vegetables begin to soften.
Then add the minced garlic and diced zucchini and cook for an additional 5 minutes. Mixing often.
Next, add the seasonings as well as the canned diced tomatoes with juice, green beans, and tomato paste. Mix well then add in the vegetable broth. Mix again, place the lid on the pot and bring to a boil, then reduce to a simmer for 10 minutes.
Bring the soup back up to a boil. Add the rinsed and drained beans and tiny shell pasta to the pot. Cook for an additional 10-15 minutes or until the pasta is fully cooked .
Pour in the additional 32 ounces of broth. Stir in the fresh spinach, and let sit until wilted. Sprinkle fresh minced parsley just before serving and stir into soup. Ladle into bowls and enjoy.
What Are All The Different Soups Served At Olive Garden
Olive Garden has four soups it serves at most of its locations. They are as follows:
- Zuppa Toscana Soup Creamy broth with Italian sausage and kale
- Minestrone Soup Tomato-based broth soup with pasta, veggies, and beans
- Pasta e Fagioli Tomato-based broth with pasta, sausage, and beans
- Chicken and Gnocchi Creamy broth with chicken and potato dumplings
Did you know? Dutch ovens are fabulous for making soups. They hold moisture so well. In most of these Olive Garden copycat recipes, youll see Staub pictured and for good reason you cant live without it!
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Zuppa Toscana Copycat Recipe:
We love re-creating restaurant quality soups at home like our popular Clam Chowder Recipe. My sister Tanya taught me how to make this Olive Garden Zuppa Toscana and it has been a family and reader favorite since we first published it in 2010. We have since made it heartier and more flavorful. The classic just got better!
Olive Garden Soup Tips
Make it Keto use radishes in place of the potatoes!
Mild Sausage can be utilized vs hot sausage. Just add a bit more red pepper flakes to heat it up a bit.
* Dont cut corners. Make sure to use high quality chicken broth or else the end result will suffer. Cant find any at the store? Make your own using our Instant Pot Bone Broth Recipe.
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How To Store Chicken Gnocchi Soup:
It is a bummer that this soup does not freeze well but it does reheat well. Place back on the stovetop and reheat on a low setting and slowly stirring it. This will help the soup from separating.
- Freezing: Unfortunately you cannot store this soup because of the dairy and gnocchi, it wont freeze well. The gnocchi will become soggy and the dairy mixture will separate.
- Storing: If you are planning on lots of leftovers you can cook the gnocchi separately and add to individual servings.
Olive Garden Pasta E Fagioli Soup
If you have been to the Olive Garden for their soup and salad, you have most likely tried their Pasta e Fagioli Soup as it is a popular choice. We love it so much we wanted to create our own version we can enjoy at home. Our version is made in the Instant Pot to make it that much easier!
This soup is comfort food at its finest that the whole family will enjoy. It is made with hearty beef and sausage, vegetables, beans, tender pasta, herbs, all in a delicious savory broth.
You can enjoy this copycat soup in under an hour. Making Pasta e Fagioli Soup takes a few minutes of prep time, and then the Instant Pot does the rest for you.
It is made with many pantry items and a few fresh items. Eating food from Olive Garden never tasted so good!
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Olive Garden Menu Prices
When you say Olive Garden, you say Italian food. This is a restaurant chain with an Italian-American-specific menu. The mission of this restaurant is to provide a welcoming dining atmosphere with delicious food inspired by the Italian kitchen. This restaurant provides family-style, casual dining and prides itself in catering to families. The customers are considered family by this restaurant. Their menu has a large variety of options you can choose from like salads, soups, steaks, and pasta dishes.
In time this restaurant experienced a quick expansion and became the leader in the Italian-themed restaurants industry across the United States. There are more than 800 Olive Garden restaurants all over the world.
At the same time with the restaurants expansion, the menu has also extended and is permanently improving while keeping the guests favorites permanent. The items are constantly changing in order to make sure that the customers are experiencing something new every time.
In the preparation of the food items offered, this restaurant uses only the freshest ingredients and focuses on the unique Italian flavors. There are traditional Italian dishes, but also new inspiring dishes. The menu contains a large list of appetizers, entrees, desserts, and wines as well.
The main goal of Olive Garden is to make every guest feel like they experienced the taste of modern Italy once they walk inside this restaurant.
|Olive Garden Menu|
Instant Pot Olive Garden Minestrone Soup
Making Minestrone Soup in the Instant Pot is just as easy as making it on the stove top. As with slow cooker minestrone soup, instant pot minestrone soup just mixes up the order in which you add the ingredients and when you add them in. Check out the recipe card below for the Instant Pot instructions.
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Who Is The Parent Company Of Olive Garden
Darden owns a handful of restaurant companies including Olive Garden, LongHorn Steakhouse, Yard House, and The Capital Grill.
Is Olive Garden closing? Well, as we have said, Olive Garden isnt actually closing. As we have said, Olive Garden is owned by the parent company, Darden Restaurants, and this company hasnt always done as well as Olive Garden.
Does Olive Garden have stuffed shells?
Giant Cheese Stuffed Shells | Lunch & Dinner Menu | Olive Garden Italian Restaurant.
Is Olive Garden Creamy Mushroom Sauce good? Creamy Mushroom is a new sauce available this year. Basically a lighter Alfredo with mushrooms, the sauce is actually quite good. The mushroom is the dominant flavor in this sauce, but it avoids tasting like cream of mushroom soup. Not a strong flavor, the sauce could be considered bland by some.
Are Olive Garden Soups Healthy
Olive garden is famous for their house salad and breadsticks. Paired with minestrone soup, it’s a healthier meal, although the sodium content is high. Omit the breadstick to reduce the sodium, fat, and calories. Note that this includes one serving of each extra salad, soup or breadsticks adds up. Previously: ramen noodles made out of.
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Homemade Pasta Fagioli Soup Recipe
This pasta fagioli recipe is a MUST that you cant miss out on. Its one of the ultimate comfort food and truly one of the best soups youll make!
Since sharing this soup 6 years ago it has become a reader favorite recipe. And of course a family favorite too everyone in my family loves this soup!
Youll love that it uses ingredients that are commonly kept on hand , it has such a delicious satisfying flavor, its so hearty and its a dinner everyone agree on.
Plus this is super easy to make, nothing complicated here and it all comes together in one pot!
All around win! Try it and let me know how you like it.
Five Cheese Ziti Al Forno
Things were beginning to look up, we promise. The classic and comforting dish of baked ziti brought pasta, sauce, and cheese together in perfect harmony with an explosion of flavor that’s baked to ensure a nice, crusty exterior. Simply described as a baked blend of Italian cheese, pasta, and their signature five-cheese marinara , Olive Garden’s version is about as traditional as you’ll find in any chain restaurant.
Upon first inspection, you’ll notice a perfectly golden crust on the top of the dish and a generous portion of pasta beneath. The mozzarella was the prevailing flavor, with the signature five-cheese marinara acting as a secondary contributor, but we do wish there’d been a creamy element to the dish. With the menu not further describing just what cheeses are used, we’re not sure if ricotta was included, but it would have added an extra layer of depth to this dish if it wasn’t.
Overall, this wasn’t in any way offensive and we actually enjoyed its flavor and texture. Simply put, it was pleasant. Bonus points for it being just as delicious reheated the next day.
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Top Pick: Unlimited Salad And Breadsticks
Olive Garden breadsticks contain no eggs, no dairy, and no sources of cheese rennet, making these deliciously fluffy appetizers 100% fair game for vegan guests. Ask for a side of marinara to dip your breadsticks into for a bit more substance and zing.
Ordering the endless salad and breadsticks paired with a vegan soup or entree makes it a complete meal and you wont leave hungry. Keep in mind that the salad must be modified as crouton- and dressing-free , and you should definitely skip the cheese.
What Is Pasta E Fagioli Soup
This Italian soup literally means pasta and beans so thats what youll find in this dish, along with ground beef, Italian seasonings in a rich tomato based broth. Pasta E Fagioli is very similar to another hearty favorite, minestrone. The difference between these two soups is minestrone uses several different veggies and Pasta e Fagioli features onion, celery and carrots for flavor, but no other vegetables.
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Olive Garden Zuppa Toscana Soup Recipe
Back in November of 2011, I shared the recipe for my favorite soup ever, Olive Gardens Zuppa Toscana soup. It went bananas and has since been one of the most popular recipes on my site. Its a recipe that I make at least once a month and more like once a week during the winter. My whole family loves it and you guys do too!
After numerous requests, I shared a slow cooker version of the soup in 2014. That version has also been insanely popular and well-loved by my readers.
Here we are in 2017, and I am now sharing a one pot version that makes this soup so simple and easy, youre going to make it more than ever. Instead of baking the bacon and browning the sausage in the oven, everything is done in one pot. I used my new dutch oven that my Dad got me for Christmas! I love how all the drippings from the sausage and bacon add so much flavor to the soup! Its fantastic!
I also doubled the amount of kale. For some reason, my boys think this is the best part of the soup Who am I to argue? I love buying the pre-chopped kale to make things easy. I also use a mandoline for slicing the potatoes. It takes about one minute to have them all perfectly and uniformly sliced.
I add a bit of crushed red pepper flakes to the soup as well as a bit of salt and pepper. Totally optional. The soup already has a lot of salt from the bacon and heat from the spicy Italian sausage so feel free to omit if youd like.
The Best Soup At Olive Garden According To 33% Of People
Olive Garden is the home of soup, salad, and breadsticks. But while that salad and those oh-so-delicious breadsticks are pretty much a constant, the eatery has a variety of soups to choose from.
Keeping with its Italian theme, Olive Gardens menu is full of classics soups, including Pasta e Fagioli, Zuppa Toscana, Minestrone, and Chicken and Gnocchi . Each one is homemade, says the brand. They can be enjoyed as an appetizer, side, or part of the soup, salad, and breadsticks meal trio that Olive Garden has become known for. But while theyre all good, is there one that stands out from the crowd?
Mashed decided to find out by conducting a survey of 606 respondents in the U.S. According to the results, 15.68% of people love the Zuppa Toscana the most. Another 22.94% named the Pasta e Fagioli as their soup of choice at Olive Garden Minestrone was favored by 27.89% of respondents. And that leaves one very special soup being named tops with a whopping 33% of voters.
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Zuppa Toscana Soup Ingredients
Heres a list of what you need to make this hearty soup.
- Mild Italian sausage you could use spicy Italian sausage
- Russet Potatoes is what the restaurant uses, Yukon gold is another great option
- White onion you can use yellow onion as well, I find it adds a bit more heat than what the restaurant serves.
- Chicken Broth homemade makes a more delicious broth, but canned will work, I do recommend low sodium
- Heavy cream
The Calamari Won Us Over Because It Was Cooked Perfectly And Came With A Tasty Dipping Sauce
Price: $11.99 per order
I also ordered the calamari as part of my Create a Sampler Italiano platter, and it was served with a sprinkle of herbs of top and a generous portion of the spicy ranch for dipping.
I thought the calamari was perfectly deep-fried the bits tasted tender without being rubbery, which was a huge plus in my book.
I’m not exactly sure what’s in the breading, but I loved that it tasted pretty light. It made the deep-fried dish taste more delicate and sophisticated instead of heavy.
At $11.99 this appetizer was pricier than most of the other offerings so I’m not sure it’s worth that much unless you’re a big fan of calamari and you don’t want an appetizer that’s too heavy.
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How To Make Olive Gardens Zuppa Toscana:
First chop up the kale. If youve never worked with greens before, its important to remove the stems and wash any grit off. Cut the kale in a V pattern to separate the leaves from the stem. Chop up leaves into bite size pieces. You want about 2 cups worth of leaves. Then put kale into a colander and rinse well to remove any dirt or grit that might still be hanging on. I also like to massage it a bit as I rinse. I think this helps to really soften the kale. Let it drain well.
Meanwhile, in a large pot, brown and crumble sausage along with onions. During the last couple minutes of cooking, toss in garlic. Once cooked, drain excess grease.
Return sausage mixture back to pot and pour in chicken stock. Then add in cubed potatoes.
Cover and allow potatoes to simmer for about 15-20 minutes, until tender. Once potatoes are tender, pour in heavy cream and stir. Season with salt and pepper.
Then stir in kale and chopped, cooked bacon. Bring mixture back up to a simmer and allow the kale to soften and wilt.
Give it a test and see if you need more seasoning like salt or pepper.
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Olive Garden Zuppa Toscana Soup Copycat
The iconic zuppa toscana soup from Olive Garden remade to taste exactly like the restaurant favorite. Most reviews would say this is even better! Tender bites of russet potatoes, sausage and kale all swirled together in a creamy and savory broth.
Close your eyes, you won’t taste a difference! And you definitely need to try this creamy chicken gnocchi soup.
This olive garden zuppa toscana soup copycat recipe is the best, ever, in the entire world. I know, I really set high standards for this one. But it’s the truth! The reviews speak for themselves, everyone loves this recipe.
If you’ve never had zuppa toscana soup then you are in for a real treat. It’s a potato soup made with ground italian sausage and kale in a savory and creamy broth.
It doesn’t seem that special until you taste it, then you’ll understand. It’s so good!
The original does have bacon in it, which I don’t put in this recipe, it’s a preference so if you do like bacon you can definitely add it in.
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