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Does Olive Garden Have Any Whole-Grain Pasta Options On The Menu?

Three Olive Garden pasta dishes
Three Olive Garden pasta dishes - Olive Garden / Facebook

Like other chain restaurants, Olive Garden strives to satisfy its customers despite certain dietary restrictions. For instance, the Italian-inspired brand offers a selection of vegetarian and vegan options to ensure that even patrons who don't eat meat are able to find a suitable dish. However, its offerings are a bit limited when it comes to other types of pasta. Take whole-grain pasta: If you're seeking this nutritious alternative to conventional noodles, Olive Garden will not be able to accommodate you.

According to staff members at two Olive Garden locations who spoke with Daily Meal, the menu is currently lacking whole-grain pasta dishes. The chain used to offer a whole-grain option as a replacement for traditional pasta and even advertised it on Facebook, but according to one employee, it has since been discontinued. In addition to its regular pasta offerings, Olive Garden does feature a gluten-free pasta made with brown rice flour to accommodate people with gluten allergies and intolerances. However, patrons will have to look elsewhere if they want a whole-grain pasta dish.

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Possible Reasons Why Whole-Grain Pasta Got The Axe

Olive Garden signage
Olive Garden signage - Bloomberg/Getty Images

Whole grains offer lots of health benefits, which is why they're often sought-after by nutrition-conscious people. According to Healthline, pasta and other foods made with whole grains are packed with lots of nutrients, are high in fiber, and help lower the risk of medical conditions like heart disease and stroke. As a result, popular restaurant chains know they can woo patrons seeking nutritional yet tasty meals by offering menu items consisting of wholesome ingredients.

Keep in mind that Olive Garden has not officially said why it chose to discontinue the whole grain pasta from its menu line-up. However, one possible reason could be the added expense versus the sales of the item. Foods containing whole grains are often more expensive, which increases costs. If the menu item doesn't sell according to expectations, it could result in a loss of money. While it's hard to tell the exact reason Olive Garden no longer offers whole-grain pasta, concerns about ingredient expenses as compared to their profitability are a common cause of discontinued menu items.

What About The Gluten-Free Pasta At Olive Garden?

restaurant server carrying dishes
restaurant server carrying dishes - Alvarez/Getty Images

While not a whole-grain product, Olive Garden's gluten-free pasta is a popular alternative to conventional pasta dishes. As explained by Healthline, brown rice offers key benefits, including better regulation of blood sugar levels and a boost in heart health. And because it's a naturally gluten-free product, dishes made with brown rice and brown rice flour can be enjoyed by people leading a gluten-free lifestyle. However, you should proceed with caution when ordering gluten-free pasta from Olive Garden.

On Reddit, a commenter offered some insight into Olive Garden's purported pasta practices. As alleged by the Redditor, "Olive Garden gluten free noodles ARE NOT gluten free. They're cooked in a separate pan away from all the other gluten but when it comes time to heat them up and put them in a dish, they'll pop em in the same strainer they use for gluten noodles and then put that strainer into the pasta cooker that is covered in gluten." To that end, a commenter on Facebook claimed that you should inform your server of your gluten-free status when ordering to make certain you receive a suitable dish. If not, the staff will most likely "cook the gf pasta in the same water they cook the regular pasta."

Read the original article on Daily Meal.