Olive Garden may have a lot of the standard Italian fare that American diners are familiar with, but for those looking to spice things up or meet dietary needs, they have some lesser-advertised items — plus some hacks they’ll be happy to do for you. Some of these are items you can order straight, meanwhile others are little creative inventions from customers according to an employee at Olive Garden.
Zeppole is a dessert item and it’s an Italian version of a doughnut. This is a fried ball of dough, usually covered in powdered sugar. Olive Garden offers it with chocolate sauce but what they don’t tell you is there are other sauce options, like raspberry sauce.
Watching your carb intake? You can often substitute vegetables for your pasta. So you can, for example, have bolognese sauce over steamed broccoli.
At some locations you can request to have the chicken used in the chicken parmesan dish to be added to your salad instead of regular grilled chicken.
Wish Olive Garden made some more festive salads? You can make your own! Instead of adding boring grilled shrimp to your salad, order the house salad plus the Shrimp Frittata and put that on top of your greens.
Can’t decide between a cheesy potato soup and a minestrone? Have a creamy minestrone! Usually your server will serve you half of one type of soup and half of the other in the same bowl.
There are usually a few stuffed ravioli options on the regular menu, but some Olive Gardens can customize what you stuff your ravioli with. In some cases they can’t because all their raviolis were pre-stuffed that day, but you might get lucky.
Like the idea of trying a little bit of everything but not satisfied with what the official sampler platter offers? Most Olive Gardens will allow you to customize your appetizer sampler, putting in whichever appetizer suits your fancy, and letting you choose how many pieces of each item you get.
This is a seasonal menu item so it has been on an official Olive Garden menu, however even off-season most kitchens will make it for you. This dish is Chicken Fettuccine with spinach.
If you’re throwing caution to the wind, on top of the already cheesy, creamy Fettuccine Alfredo you can substitute chicken parmesan for the grilled chicken. It’s an explosion of cheese and it’s amazing.
You probably knew you could hold the meat on any pasta dish, but did you know you can get extra veggies? Since you’re usually still charged the full price for the dish even without the dish, most Olive Gardens are happy to double up on the vegetables for you at no extra charge.
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