How many calories in a full Olive Garden salad?

Quick Answer

Olive Garden offers a variety of salad options, ranging from lighter options like the Garden Salad with around 150 calories to heartier options like the Chicken Caesar Salad with around 500 calories for a full serving. The calorie count can vary depending on the specific ingredients and dressings selected. A full Garden Salad with Italian dressing has about 320 calories while a Chicken Caesar Salad with Caesar dressing has around 560 calories.

Overview of Olive Garden’s Salad Options

Olive Garden has an extensive salad menu with a range of options to meet different tastes and dietary needs. Some of their most popular salads include:

  • Garden Salad – Romaine and iceberg lettuce, tomatoes, cucumbers, red onions, black olives, and croutons. Around 150 calories without dressing.
  • Chicken Caesar Salad – Romaine lettuce, grilled chicken breast, croutons, and parmesan cheese. Around 500 calories.
  • Caprese Salad – Vine-ripened tomatoes, mozzarella, roasted red peppers, and basil. Around 300 calories.
  • Signature Italian Salad – Mixed greens, ham, salami, cheese, kalamata olives, tomatoes, red onions, and Italian vinaigrette. Around 400 calories.
  • Steak Caesar Salad – Romaine lettuce, grilled sirloin steak, croutons, and parmesan cheese. Around 550 calories.

The calorie counts provided are approximate for a full serving of each salad without added dressing or other customizations. The actual calorie count will vary depending on the ingredients, portion size, and dressing selected.

Factors Affecting Calorie Counts in Olive Garden Salads

There are several factors that contribute to the calorie counts for Olive Garden salads:

Base Ingredients

The base vegetables and ingredients account for a portion of the calories. For example, a Garden Salad made with romaine and iceberg lettuce, vegetables, and just a few croutons may only have about 150 calories. Whereas heartier salads with greens, cheese, meat, beans or other high-calorie toppings will have more calories from the starting ingredients.

Added Protein

Salads with grilled or crispy chicken, steak, shrimp or other proteins will contribute significant extra calories. A full Chicken Caesar Salad gains roughly 350 calories just from the grilled chicken breast.


The dressing choice makes a big difference in the calorie counts for Olive Garden salads. For example, a Garden Salad has about 170 calories with Reduced Fat Italian Dressing compared to 320 calories with Creamy Italian Dressing. Some popular Olive Garden dressing options include:

  • Creamy Italian Dressing – Around 140 calories per 2 oz
  • Lite Italian Dressing – Around 70 calories per 2 oz
  • Caesar Dressing – Around 190 calories per 2 oz
  • Ranch Dressing – Around 300 calories per 2 oz

Opting for light dressing or using a smaller amount can reduce the calorie count of any salad.

Cheese and Other Add-Ons

Cheese, croutons, tortilla strips, avocados and other add-ons also contribute to the calorie counts. For example, a Garden Salad gains about 50 calories when topped with cheddar cheese.

Portion Size

The overall portion size, which may include multiple cups of vegetables and other ingredients, contributes to the total calorie count. Olive Garden salad servings are quite large, so a full regular size portion will have more calories than a side salad or half-size.

Calorie Counts for Popular Olive Garden Salad Options

Here are the typical calorie counts for some of Olive Garden’s most popular salad offerings:

Garden Salad

  • Full salad with Italian dressing: Around 320 calories
  • Full salad with light Italian dressing: Around 270 calories
  • Side salad with Italian dressing: Around 160 calories

Chicken Caesar Salad

  • Full salad with Caesar dressing: Around 560 calories
  • Full salad with light dressing: Around 510 calories
  • Side salad with Caesar dressing: Around 350 calories

Caprese Salad

  • Full Caprese salad: Around 300 calories
  • Side Caprese salad: Around 150 calories

Signature Italian Salad

  • Full salad with Italian dressing: Around 450 calories
  • Full salad with light dressing: Around 400 calories

As you can see, the calorie counts can vary significantly based on exact ingredients, portion size, dressing choice and other customizations. In general, lighter vegetable-based salads range from 150-300 calories for a full portion, while heartier salads with meat, cheese and creamy dressings can reach over 500 calories for a regular size.

Tips for Ordering Lower Calorie Olive Garden Salads

Here are some tips to reduce the calorie count if you are watching your calorie intake with Olive Garden salads:

  • Choose a vegetable-based salad like the Garden Salad as the base.
  • Pick a light Italian or balsamic vinaigrette dressing.
  • Opt for grilled or roasted chicken instead of crispy chicken.
  • Skip the croutons, tortilla strips, avocados and other higher calorie toppings.
  • Order a side salad instead of a regular entree salad.
  • Request the dressing on the side and use sparingly.
  • Avoid creamy, oily dressings like Caesar, ranch and blue cheese.

With the right choices, you can enjoy a hearty Olive Garden salad for under 350 calories! Keep portion size in mind and avoid extras like breadsticks and creamy soups to help limit overall calorie intake.

Nutritional Information for Olive Garden Salads

Here are the approximate full nutritional profiles for some of Olive Garden’s most popular salads:

Garden Salad with Italian Dressing

Calories 320
Fat 24g
Carbs 12g
Protein 3g

Chicken Caesar Salad with Dressing

Calories 560
Fat 36g
Carbs 14g
Protein 37g

Caprese Salad

Calories 300
Fat 20g
Carbs 10g
Protein 15g

As you can see, the nutritional profiles vary across the different salads based on ingredients like greens, dressing, cheese, and proteins. In general, the vegetable-based options are lower in calories, fat, and carbs while offering fiber and vitamins. The chicken and steak salads provide lean protein but can also contain saturated fat and sodium from cheese and meat. Be mindful of creamy dressings, crispy toppings, bacon, and other add-ons that may drive up fat, calories, and sodium.

Healthy Salad Tips at Olive Garden

Here are some suggestions for building a healthy, lower calorie salad when dining at Olive Garden:

  1. Ask for dressings on the side so you control how much you use.
  2. Opt for balsamic vinaigrette, light Italian, or red wine vinegar and olive oil for lower calorie dressings under 50 calories per 2 oz serving.
  3. Load up on low cal veggies like tomatoes, cucumbers, roasted red peppers, artichokes, and carrots.
  4. Pick grilled chicken, salmon, or shrimp instead of fried meats and cheeses.
  5. Skip croutons, chips, avocado, and bacon to avoid extra carbs, fat, and calories.
  6. Order a side salad instead of an entree-sized portion.
  7. Enjoy some soup or share an appetizer to balance your meal.
  8. Pair your salad with a low calorie beverage like unsweetened iced tea, a spritzer, or water with lemon.

Using these tips can help reduce an Olive Garden salad from 500+ calories down to 200-300 calories, while still providing lots of flavor, volume, and nutrition. This makes it easier to fit the salad into a balanced diet.

FAQs About Olive Garden Salad Calories

Here are answers to some frequently asked questions about the calories in Olive Garden salads:

Which salad has the most calories at Olive Garden?

The Caesar salads with crispy or grilled chicken tend to be the highest calorie options, providing around 600-700 calories for a full entree salad with dressing.

Which salad has the least calories?

The Garden Salad, with around 150 calories without dressing and 320 calories with light dressing, is one of the lowest calorie salad options on the Olive Garden menu.

Does Olive Garden have low calorie salad dressing?

Yes, Olive Garden offers some lower calorie dressing options including Light Italian, Reduced Fat Italian, and Balsamic Vinaigrette, with around 45-70 calories per 2 oz serving. Asking for dressings on the side lets you control how much you use.

What is the healthiest salad at Olive Garden?

Some of the healthiest salad options include the Herb Grilled Salmon Salad, Grilled Chicken Caesar Side Salad, Garden Salad with Light Italian or Balsamic Vinaigrette, and Caprese Salad. These provide a balance of veggies, lean protein, healthy fats, and fewer calories when customized properly.

What can I add to my salad to make it healthier at Olive Garden?

Some healthy Olive Garden salad add-ons include grilled chicken or shrimp, roasted veggies, fresh tomatoes, cucumbers, artichokes, avocado, and balsamic glaze. Avoid fried proteins, bacon bits, cheeses, croutons, and creamy dressings.

Does Olive Garden offer low carb salad options?

Yes, you can request a low carb salad without croutons, cheese, or other starchy toppings. A Garden Salad with grilled chicken and balsamic vinaigrette has under 15g net carbs, for example. Adding extra veggies boosts nutrition while minimizing carbs.


Olive Garden offers a range of salad options that can range widely in calories from 150 to over 700 calories depending on the exact ingredients, portion size, dressing, and toppings selected. Lighter vegetable-based salads with low calorie dressing can provide a healthier option under 350 calories, while heartier salads with lots of protein, cheese, and creamy dressing can top 600 calories or more. Pay attention to your choices of greens, veggies, dressing, and added toppings and keep portion sizes reasonable in order to enjoy Olive Garden salads as part of a balanced diet. Making customizations when ordering can help reduce calories, fat, carbs, and sodium while maximizing nutrition. With smart choices, you can build satisfying Olive Garden salads that not only taste delicious but also align with your health and diet goals.

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