They say that when you're at Olive Garden, you're family. But what about if you're vegan? Although most of the menu items are covered in meat and cheese, it turns out it's totally possible to order some vegan Olive Garden favorites.

As a vegan and Italian, I can also confirm that withholding excessive amounts of meat and melty cheese will actually make your meal more authentic, as Italian fare tends to be less goopy and fresher than you'd think. Here are five vegan vegan Olive Garden menu items you can order next time you find yourself at the OG.

#SpoonTip: Olive Garden has a user-friendly guide on all their vegan and vegetarian options that you can reference as well.

1. Breadsticks

Olive Garden breadsticks are 100% vegan. No eggs, no dairy, no sources of cheese rennet. Just fluffy, carby goodness and pure vegan Olive Garden bliss. If you can't get to an Olive Garden, you can make your own breadsticks at home

2. Salad (with a few subtitutions)

Olive Garden's famous salad can easily be made vegan, and servers are usually happy to accommodate. Simply ask for no croutons, and ask for oil and vinegar (which is way more authentic anyways) instead of the signature dressing. And hold the cheese, please!

3. Minestrone Soup

This warm and cozy soup is full of vegetables and noodles, making for a hearty and filling, yet light dish. And it's usually fresh since Olive Garden makes it in-house. Paired with salad and breadsticks, Olive Garden's minestrone soup makes for a perfect vegan meal. 

4. Pasta with Marinara or Tomato Sauce

Any of the various noodles (angel hair, cavatappi, fettuccine, gluten-free rotini, rigatoni, small shells, spaghetti, and whole-grain linguine) on the Olive Garden "Create Your Own Pasta" menu are vegan-friendly. Top with marinara sauce or tomato sauce (both vegan) for your OG noodle fix.

5. Steamed Broccoli

broccoli, vegetable, cabbage
Kristine Mahan

A classic side dish, the steamed broccoli can make a wonderful accompaniment to your meal. Bump it up a notch by squeezing some on some fresh lemon juice (ask for extra wedges with your water) and a little salt and pepper. Or toss it in your pasta to bulk it up a bit.

Although there aren't many vegan Olive Garden menu items, you can still have a good meal at the OG complete with soup, salad, breadsticks, and pasta. The next time you find yourself at an Olive Garden, simply pull up this list and enjoy all the breadsticks your vegan heart desires.