You don’t have to be Italian to love pasta. With a tasty sauce and perhaps some good bread to go with it, who wouldn’t love it? Especially when you can have it in many different ways!
But, can vegans eat pasta? Is pasta vegan?
A lot of pastas aren’t really vegan, but hey, vegans can still enjoy pasta! You just need to know what to avoid and which ones to choose. And this article will help you do just that!
Now I bet you can’t wait to enjoy pasta, the vegan way! Let’s begin!
Scrutinizing food won’t be complete without finding out what goes into it and how it is made. It’s just the first, and most important step to finding out what lurks in your food. Well, before you put it inside your mouth, hopefully.
Pasta is traditionally handmade, but there are now small kitchen appliances that can make the job a breeze. And of course, there’s the ginormous commercial factory that can spew thousands of pasta packages in a day.
There are also 2 types of pasta you’ll commonly see today:
- Fresh pasta – softer and usually handmade, but you must cook it immediately since it has a shorter shelf life.
- Dry pasta – the harder ones which you can get commercially, and has a much longer shelf life.
Like all other food, pastas can be made differently. But what does it take to make this filling high-carb food? Traditional pasta is simply made of water and flour. But with commercial production, there are more ingredients.
Common Ingredients Of Pasta
- Semolina flour – coarsely-ground flour from durum wheat, which is high in protein and low in starch. Other manufacturers may use different hard wheat sources like farina. Fortifying flour with vitamins is also common.
- Water – to create a dough from the flour.
- Eggs – for color and richness.
- Vegetable juices – alternative for eggs, and can also add flavor.
- Salt/Spices – for additional but optional flavor.
Other Grains Used In Pasta Flour
The Pasta-Making Process
For homemade pasta, manual kneading and cutting was the norm before. Today, there are machines that can knead, roll, stretch, and cut the pasta for you.
When Is Pasta Not Vegan?
Now, the red flags! What makes pasta not vegan? Check the package label and watch out for these ingredients:
Egg – the most common animal ingredient in pasta. It is not a requirement for pasta recipes but it makes pasta richer, especially the fresh ones. While eggs are pretty uncommon in dry pasta, some may still have them.
There are also many commercial pastas that may “contain traces of egg”. This happens when they manufacture them in a facility that also produces other food products that contain eggs. For strict vegans, this is off limits.
Cheese – some specialty pastas may contain cheese, although it’s very rare. Homemade and fancier pasta may also use cheese. However, the label and ingredients would indicate this ingredient, so just keep an eye!
Mono & diglycerides – these fatty acids are common food emulsifiers. They may come from either animal fat or vegetable oil so be careful if you see this in the ingredients. Most pasta brands that contain this use corn as a source, but always check with the brand to be sure.
Fresh pasta is usually NOT vegan. There are very few fresh pastas that do not contain egg. This is common with handmade pastas like what most restaurants will use. So if you’re dining out, always check with the cook or chef first if they use eggs.
Types of Pasta: Which Ones Are Vegan?
There are too many pastas to choose from these days. Different shapes, different colors, and most importantly, different flour bases. Here are some of the most common:
Acini di pepe/pastina
Round and small (like peppers)
Square or d-shape with stuffing
Thin, ring shapes
Smaller version of anneli, ¼ of its size
Thin, very fine strands
Like spaghetti but flatter, with a slightly convex cross section
Long, round, and thick strands with texture
Buckwheat or whole wheat
Long, with loose spiral waves
Ring shape, dumpling style (with stuffing)
Short irregular shapes that look like ocean corals
Short strips with an s-shape in cross section
Hollow corkscrew/spiral shape with vertical ridges
Small, hollow shells that look like open hotdog buns
Small, short, and tubular, with irregular cuts (it looks like a snail shell)
Flat and round like a disc, usually with stamps to mimic a medallion
Small, short tubes
Tubes with a curve and even shape
Small bundles (like dumplings)
Flat and a bit narrow
Small and thin, AKA cat whiskers
Olive leaf shape
Couscous grain shape
Thick, corkscrew shape
Semolina, oat hull
Diagonally-rolled tubes from a flat square, with horizontal ridges
Tiny, closed shells (smaller version of gnocchi)
Semolina, potato, egg
Thicker, closed shells (like dumplings)
Semolina, potato, egg
biggest version of the shell pasta (usually with stuffings)
Flat, rectangular, with wavy edges
Durum wheat, eggs
Long, thin, and flat
Short, hollow, with irregular curves and cuts, and vertical ridges
Tubular with a slight curve
Half moon shape with stuffing
Buckwheat flour, eggs
Flat, long, and wavy
Like penne but shorter and more slender
Round open shells (like mini bowls)
Short, round, thin tubes
Wide, flat, and long
Slender, medium length, with rough appearance and texture
Flour, egg, bread crumbs, cheese
Short, diagonally-cut tubes (cylindrical)
Fat version of spaghetti
Curve pipe shapes (hollow), with one end closed flat
Flat, medium length cut, and brown in color
Combination of buckwheat and whole wheat
Small, flat squares or triangles
Rice or corn
Pillow-like (with stuffings inside)
Tubular with vertical ridges
Short and hollow with a cross section that looks like a wagon wheel
Long and flat spirals
Similar to fettuccine but thicker and shorter
Long, thin, and round
Star shape with a hole in the middle
Elongated, flat, with a slight twist, medium in length
Like fettuccine but a bit wider
Thin, flat, strands
Thinner, round strands
Ring shape with stuffing
Similar to ravioli but flatter
Larger version of tortellini
Tubular with diagonal ridges
Narrow and flat
Thin, short, with tight twists
Similar to spaghetti but shorter (may be thicker or thinner)
Maida (hard wheat)
Smooth tubular shapes, medium in length
*typical ingredients only, may still vary per brand.
Pasta varieties that are made for stuffing often contain eggs. If the list of ingredients is not available, it’s best to just avoid them. Also, since fresh pastas usually add eggs, varieties that typically do not contain eggs may still have eggs when homemade.
Is Pasta Healthy? All The Nutrients You Can Get
We all know how pasta is rich in carbohydrates, something you’d lessen or eat more depending on your diet. Either way, it’s a good source of energy. But what else can we get?
It’s very common to fortify commercial pasta with additional minerals and vitamins. This can give pasta a higher nutritional profile, which is helpful for those whose staple foods include pasta.
Inherent Nutrients in Vegan Pasta
Avoid If You Have
Carbohydrates, protein, B vitamins, fiber, sodium, iron
Energy, better digestion, healthier red blood cells
Celiac disease, gluten intolerance, or wheat allergies
White: carbohydrates, phosphorus, selenium, iron, folic acid, thiamine, niacin Brown: carbohydrates, protein, fiber, B vitamins, calcium, zinc, iron, sodium,
White: energy, healthy bones and teeth, better immune function, healthier red blood cells, healthier nervous system, better metabolism Brown: energy, better digestion, better brain function and cell metabolism, healthy bones and teeth, healthier red blood cells, healthier immune system
High blood sugar levels
Green Vegetables (from dark green leafies)
Carbohydrates, fiber, protein, phytonutrients, iron, calcium, potassium, magnesium, B vitamins, vitamins C, K, and E,
Energy, better digestion, cell protection, healthier red blood cells, healthy bones and teeth, better cardiovascular health, better brain function and cell metabolism, blood clot regulation
Blood thinner prescriptions
Complete protein, antioxidants, fiber, magnesium, iron, B vitamins, potassium, calcium, phosphorus, vitamin E, manganese, folate, flavonoids
Energy, better digestion, better metabolic health, increase in metabolism (weight loss), better cardiovascular health, better brain function and cell metabolism, healthy bones and teeth, healthier fetal development, anti-inflammatory, anti-viral, anti-cancer, anti-depressant, gluten-free
Quinoa allergies, history of kidney stones
Carbohydrates, fiber, iron, antioxidants, folate, phosphorus, zinc
Energy, better digestion, healthier red blood cells, healthier fetal development, healthy bones and teeth, healthier immune system
Allergies to lentils or any lectin-free diet
Whole wheat (from buckwheat, wheat, etc.)
Carbohydrates, protein, fiber, B vitamins, folate, iron, phosphorus, copper, manganese,
Energy, better digestion, better brain function and cell metabolism, healthier fetal development, healthier red blood cells, healthy bones and teeth, healthier immune system
Gluten allergies or celiac-like disorders
Phytonutrients, antioxidants, B vitamins, sodium, magnesium, potassium, selenium, vitamins C and E
Cell protection, better brain function and cell metabolism, better immune function
Corn allergies or high blood sugar levels
Carbohydrate, protein, fiber, sodium
Energy, better digestion, nerve and muscle function balance
high blood sugar levels
These are more reasons to enjoy vegan pasta BUT keep in mind that moderation is still key to health! Don’t forget to keep a balance when you plan your meals!
Additional Nutrients in Pasta Through Food Processing
Some manufacturers add nutrients to the base flour that they use in making pasta. This can be done in 3 ways:
- Enrichment – adding back or restoring nutrients that have been lost during food processing.
- Fortification – adding extra nutrients that are not naturally present in the food.
- Substitution – adding nutrients that have the same value or benefits with the lost nutrients
Packages will usually indicate these additional nutrients either in the label or in the list of ingredients.
Common Nutrients Added To Pasta
- B vitamins
1. Is pasta dairy free?
Not all. There are a lot of pastas that contain egg, and some with butter or cheese. This is common with fresh and homemade pastas. For commercial pastas, the package’s list of ingredients will usually tell you if it contains any of these.
2. Is all pasta vegan?
No. Not all pastas are vegan. Egg is a common ingredient in pastas. However, traditional pasta recipes do not require this so there are still plenty of pasta varieties that are vegan.
3. Are pasta noodles vegan?
Some pasta noodles contain egg, but some do not, so not all pasta noodles are vegan. Always check the packaging for eggs to make sure.
4. Is gluten-free pasta vegan?
It depends on the rest of ingredients in it. Most gluten-free varieties are vegan but there can be exceptions.
5. Is dried pasta vegan?
Mostly, yes. Few brands use eggs in their dry pasta products. However, watch out for “traces of egg”. Some brands may manufacture them in facilities that also handle food products with egg.
6. Is penne pasta vegan?
There are penne pastas that contain egg, so not all of them are vegan. It will depend on the brand or manufacturer. See the list below for vegan brands.
7. Is brown rice pasta vegan?
Brown rice pasta is naturally vegan as they do not require eggs. However, fresh pasta varieties may use eggs so don’t forget to check.
8. Is whole wheat pasta vegan?
Yes. It’s usually only made of whole wheat flour and water. However, homemade ones may have eggs in it, so watch out for that.
9. Is whole grain pasta vegan?
Mostly, yes, but some may contain eggs or may be produced in facilities that also handle egg ingredients.
10. Is orzo pasta vegan?
Not all. Some orzo pasta contain eggs. Making orzo pasta does not require eggs, but still, don’t forget to check the packaging.
11. Is pasta salad vegan?
It depends on the pasta used and the salad ingredients and dressing. To make sure it’s vegan, choose egg-free pasta, and only use vegetables and vegan dressings or oils.
12. Is Barilla pasta vegan?
Not all. The brand also includes pasta varieties that contain eggs. Check the table of brands below for Barilla’s vegan pasta varieties.
13. Is Ronzoni pasta vegan?
Mostly not. They have pastas “made with fresh eggs” and most of their packagings have a “manufactured in a facility that uses eggs” warning.
14. Is Garofalo pasta vegan?
There are blogs that list Garofalo as vegan, however, I cannot verify this from their website. The brand only lists the flour base they use, and include suitability for vegetarians and kosher diets only. The back labels I’ve seen so far do not contain egg, but with their dozens of pasta varieties, always check the label to make sure.
Best Vegan Pasta Brands
These lists only includes brands with an entirely vegan range of pasta. I also did not include variants that “may contain eggs”, for all the strict vegans. So click away and start hoarding if you want!
- Ancient Harvest
- Andean Dream Quinoa Pasta
- Explore Cuisine
- Freee by Doves Farm
- Lundberg Organic Brown Rice Pasta
- Mamma Flora
- Modern Table
- Tinkyáda Rice Pasta
- Tolerant Simply Legumes
- TruRoots Ancient Grains Pasta
Popular Pasta Brands With Vegan Varieties
• All Gluten-Free range • All Legume range • Collezione orecchiette
• Organic moon and star • Organic fusilli
• Organic & Garlic Roasted Veggie Ravioli • Organic Butternut Squash Ravioli Family Size • Organic Butternut Squash Ravioli • Organic Classic Potato Gnocchi • Organic Spinach Florentine Ravioli
• All pasta variants except the egg pastas and fresh pastas
How To Find Vegan Pasta
Now to help you find vegan pastas that you can enjoy, here’s a quick guide you might find useful.
- Always check the labels even when you’re buying a familiar brand, especially when there’s a change in packaging.
- Check online for retailers or stockists of your favorite vegan brands. Or just order online!
- If any ingredient sounds unfamiliar or unclear to you, it’s better to just skip it.
- Grab vegan pasta sauce bottles or packs too to go with it!
When Dining Out
- Before ordering pasta, check with the cook or chef if they use egg or any animal products.
- Be on the lookout for restaurants that serve vegan pasta (or any vegan restos). There are now apps that can help you find them!
- Call ahead if you’re going to a non-vegan resto to see if vegan options are available (or if they allow “veganizing meals”)
- Be clear with your request. Some resto staff (even chefs) do not know the difference between vegan and vegetarian. So instead of using the word “vegan”, just provide clear instructions to exclude any animal product.
BONUS: To learn how you can make your very own Vegan Pasta without using a machine, check out the video below!
Easy DIY Vegan Pasta
Fancy some DIY pasta? If you love homemade and fresh pasta, I’m sure you often have a hard time finding them egg-free. Well here’s the solution!
Homemade Vegan Pasta
(from Healthy Slow Cooking, recipe by Miyoko Schinner)
What you need:
- 2 cups of your choice of flour
- 1 cup all-purpose flour
- flour for dusting/sprinkling
- 1 cup hot water
- rolling pin
- food processor and pasta machine (optional)
- Combine both flours in a bowl and make a well in the center.
- Add water little by little while mixing with your hands until you get a dough.
- If you have food processor, combine both flours in it and slowly add the water. Mix until it forms a ball of dough.
- Place the dough on a cutting board and cut it into four. Roll each section and place them in a plate then cover with a dry towel. Leave it for 15 minutes.
- Dust your cutting board and place one of the balls on it. Use the rolling pin to flatten it as thin as you want. Remember that it will expand after cooking.
- Use a pasta machine for cutting or a knife to cut it into the shape/s you want.
Number of servings: 6
To cook: boil water with a pinch of salt and cook pasta for 2-3 minutes or until soft but firm enough.
To store: dust the remaining balls with flour and place in a container with cover and refrigerate. Use within 2-3 days.
Now you just need a tasty vegan sauce! Check these vegan pasta recipes for ideas.
Pasta is not always vegan. While there are many types of pasta that doesn’t use eggs, recipes will still always vary from one manufacturer to another. So never lose the habit of checking the labels! Vegans can enjoy pasta too in many ways!
Do you know of other all-vegan pasta brands that are not on this list? How do you enjoy your pasta as a vegan? Let me know on the comment section below. And don’t forget to share this article in your favorite social media platform.