Friday, December 3, 2010

Vegetarian Options at Olive Garden

Olive Garden has always been one of my favorite Italian restaurants because it's convenient and yummy. It's not super affordable, but it's not outrageous. They offer coupons sometimes and they have deals, so it's usually a good price. These are some of my favorite veggie dishes to eat there.

Salad and Breadsticks- These come free with any entree and they are delicious. The salad is a mixed lettuce salad with olives, pepperoncinis, red onion, carrot shreds, tomato, and croutons. It's very crisp and refreshing. It comes with an Italian dressing on top that I like to ask for on the side to control the calories. Sometimes it seems like they put a little too much on the salad. The croutons are delicious and very crunchy. The breadsticks are hot and delicious. They're soft and coated with a butter, salt, and garlic mixture. Be careful not to eat too many or you won't be hungry for the entree! The salad and breadsticks can also be an excellent compliment to a soup if you're looking for a light lunch or dinner.

Minestrone Soup- Minestrone has always been my favorite kind of soup and Olive Garden's is great. It's a tomato broth with noodles, an assortment of veggies, and mixed beans. It isn't too thick and the veggies and pasta aren't mushy. The beans are a delicious touch that adds protein making this an excellent light option for a meal.

Bruschetta- This is a delicious appetizer. You get crunchy pieces of Ciabatta bread that are toasted and you can top them with a mixture of chopped up fresh tomatoes, basil and olive oil. It's a delicious option and goes great with soup.

Caprese Flatbread- I love flatbread and the topping on this is delicious. It's a piece of flatbread topped with mozarella, tomatoes, basil, and a garlic spread. It's similar to the bruschetta if you are craving a tomato and bread appetizer.

Hot Artichoke Spinach Dip- I am a spinach and artichoke dip fiend at any restaurant. It's probably my favorite appetizer. Olive Garden's is delicious. It's a blend of artichokes, spinach and cream cheese. It's creamy and gooey and hot and served with bread. I prefer it this way versus served with tortilla chips like some restaurants. The spinach isn't too overpowering either.

Lasgana Fritta- This could actually be a good snack or a very light meal if you aren't feeling like a whole entree. They are little parmesan breaded lasagna noodle pieces that are fried and topped with parmesan cheese and tomato sauce. They are served on top of alfredo sauce. It's a little saucy for me, but if you have some breadsticks, they are delicious to dip into the alfredo. 

Smoked Mozarella Fonduta- If you are looking for a yummy dip that does not contain artichokes or spinach, this is your guy. It's a blend of mozarella, provologne, romano, and parmesan served with bread. Needless to say, you really need to like cheese to enjoy this.

Create your own pizza- This is an excellent option for vegetarians because you can choose whatever you want to go on it. The veggie options are bell peppers, onions, black olives, mushrooms, and tomatoes. Their crust is a very nice texture and their tomato sauce is very good.

Five Cheese Zita al Forno- I love Ziti and this is very delicious. Ziti is just a cylindrical shaped noodle that is very good in heavier sauces. This ziti is covered in marinara sauce and cheeses and baked to ooey gooey perfection.

Fettucini Alfredo- This actually isn't my favorite alfredo I have ever had, but it's still very good. I just find it too greasy sometimes. It has a garlicy parmesan cream sauce that is very nice. Beware that if you take it home as leftovers, it probably won't heat up so well because it tends to get clumpy.

Eggplant Parmigiana- If you want a lot of food, go for this! You get two pieces of breaded eggplant topped with mozarella and tomato sauce and parmesan cheese AND a side of spaghetti with marinara. I don't know about you, but I find eggplant filling as it is. Topped with all that cheese it is verrrry filling. But it is also very delicious. And a healthier alternative to meat.

Capellini Pomodoro- This is nice if you're just looking for something very simple and low calorie. Capellini are thin little noodles and these are topped with chopped tomatoes, garlic, basil, and olive oil. Also an excellent option for vegans. If you aren't vegan, you can add parmesan cheese for more protein.

Ravioli di Portabello- Mushroom lovers have to try this! It's ravioli stuffed with portabello mushrooms and served in a creamy smoked cheese and sun dried tomato sauce. It is fantastic!

Cheese Ravioli- A great basic ravioli stuffed with cheese that can be served with marinara or meat sauce.

I hope these suggestions were helpful!

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