Pasta is the quintessential comfort food. It’s filling, it’s warm, and it’s delicious. But do vegans eat pasta?
Pasta is generally a plant-based food and therefore suitable for vegans—with a few exceptions here and there. But don’t worry, we’ll give you all the info you need to know about how to keep your pasta cravings satisfied while staying true to your vegan diet.
Keep reading to know what you need to look out for and what type of pasta to avoid.
How to tell if pasta is vegan or not
The world of veganism can be intimidating, especially if you’re new to it. But there are lots of vegan meal options out there—including pasta! So how do you know if your favourite type is vegan?
Here are some tips for navigating the grocery store:
The first thing you can do is look at the ingredients list on the back of the box. Most will have an ingredient list that shows all of the ingredients used in making that brand’s pasta. If you see any animal-derived products listed there, then you’ll know that it’s not vegan.
Another thing to look for is whether or not the packaging has a certification symbol on it. Many companies will include one on their packages, which means that they’ve been inspected and approved by an outside agency as being vegan-friendly.
Finally, if in doubt, ask: If you have questions about whether a product is vegan or not, don’t hesitate to contact the company directly and ask them what their production processes are like and whether or not they use animal products in their products. Most companies are happy to answer questions about their products and make sure you’re getting exactly what you’re looking for.
Non-vegan ingredients common in pasta
Pasta is typically made using two simple ingredients: flour and water. Luckily, most dry types are vegan and can be enjoyed by all. However, some types—especially fresh pasta—can contain egg and other non-vegan ingredients.
The most common culprits are egg yolks, milk, and butter.
Egg yolks are used in fresh pasta to help bind the dough together and create a smooth texture when cooked. Milk and cheese are often added to sauces that pair with pasta—think Alfredo sauce or pesto—and sometimes it’s even used in some dry pasta (like lasagne sheets). Butter is also sometimes used in some dry brands of pasta because it helps make them richer.
Also, more often than not, Italian-style stuffed pasta such as ravioli and tortellini are made with fillings like meat or cheese.
But don’t fret, veganism is growing by the day! As long as you keep your eyes peeled for these ingredients, and opt for vegan alternatives to certain dishes, you’ll be able to enjoy pasta on a vegan diet without an issue.
In fact, an amazing vegan substitute for filled pasta is this vegan Formaggio Ravioli by Mr Organic.
But wait, it doesn’t end there!
Making sure your pasta is vegan doesn’t end at the pasta itself! You also have to be careful with what you top it with.
So what’s the lowdown on pasta sauces? Are they vegan?
Many tomato-based sauces are completely safe. However, if you’re looking for something more complex than basic tomato sauce, check the ingredients carefully before buying. The most common culprits are creamy sauces, which contain dairy products like cheese and butter. Even if a sauce doesn’t contain dairy, it might not be vegan. Tomato sauces often contain meat products or other animal-derived ingredients too, such as meat broth, bacon, or anchovies.
So the next time you’re planning on smothering your spaghetti with sauce, be sure to use the same tools as above to check if it’s vegan before serving!
A fantastic way to get around this issue is by making your own pasta sauce at home. Here’s a popular recipe for a zesty, healthy vegan pesto by the Minimalist Baker:
- 2 cups packed fresh basil (large stems removed)
- 3 Tbsp pine nuts or walnuts (if nut-free, try sunflower seeds!)
- 3 large cloves garlic (peeled)
- 2 Tbsp lemon juice
- 3-4 Tbsp nutritional yeast
- 1/4 tsp sea salt (plus more to taste)
- 2-3 Tbsp extra virgin olive oil*
- 3-6 Tbsp water (plus more as needed)
Ordering pasta while out and about
Ordering pasta while out and about can be a bit of a challenge if you’re vegan. Many places that serve pasta also serve meat, making it difficult to know if your dish will actually be vegan. Here’s how to make sure it’s vegan:
Check before you go: The best places to go are those with a dedicated vegan menu. If there’s no such thing on offer, ask whoever is serving your food if they can confirm what’s in it—and if they don’t know, choose another option instead!
Ask questions! If there are no vegan options available, ask if your server can offer any suggestions. You may get an even better dish than what’s on the menu!
So there you have it—the answer to the question, “Do vegans eat pasta?” is yes! And there are plenty of great options in the supermarket and restaurants alike.
Not only is pasta a staple of the vegan diet, but it’s also great for you! It provides lots of vitamins and minerals, as well as fiber and protein.
So what are you waiting for? Get out there and fill your face with some delicious pasta!
We hope you’ve found this article useful. If you have any more questions like this, why not check out our section on vegan food?