The Unhealthiest ‘Never Ending Pasta Bowl’ Combination From Olive Garden

Olive Garden’s known for giving customers the most bang for their buck — and their Never Ending Pasta Bowl deal doesn’t disappoint. Not only do you get your complimentary breadsticks along with soup or a salad, but for just $10.99 starting on Sept. 24, you can eat as much pasta as you want.

For true Pasta Bowl lovers, there’s the Never Ending Pasta Pass. For $100, you can purchase this pass and eat as many Pasta Bowls as you’d like for eight weeks. And for those who want the pass all year round, Olive Garden announced they’ll be offering a $300 pass.

As you know, eating bowl after bowl of pasta isn’t great for your waistline. And there’s one combination of pasta, sauce, and topping that outdoes them all when it comes to unhealthiness. Here’s the one combo that takes the cake, and some others you’ll want to avoid.

The unhealthiest Pasta Bowl combination

Olive Garden Rigatoni pasta in a cream sauce

Olive Garden Rigatoni pasta in a cream sauce | Olive Garden via Instagram

Pasta: Rigatoni

Not all types of pasta are created equal — and according to Olive Garden’s nutrition information, their Rigatoni is the most calorically-dense pasta they offer for their Pasta Bowl selection. One serving from the restaurant is a whopping 440 calories and 6 grams of fat. And though you will be getting 14 grams of protein in your portion, you’re also getting 5 grams of sugar that you really don’t need.

Sauce: Creamy Mushroom

The sauce you choose can make or break your meal. And while Creamy Mushroom is a fan favorite for cream sauce lovers, it’ll set you back 860 calories and 87 grams of fat. Out of those 87 grams, 54 are from artery-clogging saturated fat as well. And the 1,090 milligrams of sodium you’ll be getting from the sauce isn’t doing you any favors, either.

Topping: Meatballs

Meatballs don’t seem too offensive, but they’re actually the unhealthiest topping choice you can choose. You’ll get three on top of your pasta dish for a total of 480 calories and 40 grams of fat. Do yourself a favor and choose something else.

Total calories for one bowl: 1,780 

Total fat: 133 grams

Other combos to avoid

1. Cavatappi with Creamy Pesto and Italian Sausage

This combination is almost just as bad as the worst, so you should avoid it at all costs. The Cavatappi pasta itself is 430 calories and 4 grams of fat. As for the Creamy Pesto, that’s 810 calories and 82 grams of fat. And the Italian Sausage is nearly as bad as the meatballs with two links equaling 470 calories and 39 grams of fat.

Total calories and fat: 1,710 and 125 grams

2. Gluten-Free Rotini with Creamy Spinach and Artichoke Sauce and Crispy Chicken Fritta

Many believe gluten-free foods are healthier than their glutinous counterparts, but that’s typically not the case. And Olive Garden proves you should also choose their gluten-free pasta if you really need it, as the Rotini, in this case, has 430 calories and 6 grams of fat. The Crispy Chicken Fritta you can add on top is also a bad choice (though not the worst) with 240 calories and 12 grams of fat.

As for the Creamy Spinach and Artichoke Sauce, the nutrition information is not yet available, as this stands a brand-new offering from the OG. However, judging from the other creamy sauces, we’re betting it’s in the 800-calorie range and around 80 grams of fat.

Total calories and fat: Around 1,470 and 98 grams 

The healthiest choice

Olive Garden Whole Grain Linguine in their Marinara Sauce

Olive Garden Whole Grain Linguine in their Marinara Sauce | Olive Garden via Instagram

Pasta: Whole Grain Linguine 

All hope is not lost for those hoping to get a healthier bowl of pasta. Go for the Whole Grain Linguine for a healthy dose of whole grains and fewer calories than the other pasta choices. One serving is just 350 calories and 6 grams of fat.

Sauce: Traditional Marinara

Skip the dairy-based sauces and go for the Traditional Marinara to save some serious calories. One serving will only set you back 190 calories and 10 grams of fat — and you’ll be getting some good nutrition from the tomatoes in the sauce, too.

Topping: Garden Veggies

It’s not a protein, but when it comes to a low-cal dinner, you can’t beat the Garden Veggie offering. One serving is only 35 calories and 0 grams of fat. If you’re really craving protein, however, you can also order the Sautéed Shrimp without feeling guilty, as they’re only 60 calories.

Total calories for one bowl: 575 

Total fat: 16 grams

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