Is Pasta Vegan? Everything You Need to Know
It is commonly believed that Marco Polo introduced pasta to Italy after he explored the Far East in the 13th Century. But, the very first signs of pasta go back to the 4th Century B.C, in an Etruscan tomb where a drawing of the natives shows them making this popular staple. Though pasta was once available exclusively to the elite class, it has now become one of the most widely-used foods in the world.
Pasta is the ultimate comfort food for thousands of people across the globe. It is incredibly versatile and can be consumed with something as easy as a little garlic, olive oil, and chilies, or as elaborate, classic Italian dishes like baked lasagna. With different types of pasta such as linguini, bowtie, ziti, and macaroni, etc., the options of a nice, filling meal are endless.
However, if we talk in terms of a vegan diet; it requires you to be very particular about what you can and cannot eat. So, if you are on a plant-based, cruelty-free diet, you must ask the question; is pasta vegan?
Is Pasta Vegan Friendly?
Pasta is extremely popular, especially within the US, UK, and across Europe as a quick and easy lunch or dinner. If you have adopted a vegan lifestyle then fret not, because you can enjoy a nice bowl of pasta, with vegan pasta sauce, as pasta is essentially vegan-friendly. Most packaged pasta, such as spaghetti and rotini is 100% vegan. But, if you are still unsure, then one look at the package to check the ingredients will give you the answer.
Pasta generally doesn’t contain any animal-derived products, however, fresh pasta will contain egg, so it is best to avoid that. Companies and restaurants have become more creative and vegan friendly over the years, as they have started to make pasta from ingredients such as legumes, beans, rice, yams, sweet potatoes, and sea kelp. These are also gluten-free and rich in vitamins, proteins, and minerals, too.
Your Favorite Pasta is Vegan Friendly
You don’t have to skip out on the joy of having pasta whether you are dining out or making it at home. Going out to a nice restaurant to get a plate of spaghetti, ravioli, or gnocchi doesn’t mean that you will have to compromise on your vegan diet. Simply ask the waiter if they have vegan-friendly options for their pasta dishes and you will get a positive reply. Since most of the pasta is grain-based, you can easily enjoy a nice helping of spaghetti without conceding on your veganism.
If you are cooking at home, then a quick Google search can tell you what brands cater to a vegan consumer. Frozen ravioli, penne, spaghetti, and various noodles contain plant-based ingredients such as wheat or semolina. Cook them with some zucchini, lentils, spinach, corn, kale, and tomatoes, and you have a delicious vegan pasta dish.
How is Fresh and Dried Pasta Different?
Fresh and dried pasta are available in all shapes or sizes, but generally, you can rely on dried pasta being vegan friendly. There are basic differences between how both kinds of pasta are made, so it can answer the question of whether or not pasta is vegan friendly.
Fresh pasta includes flour, eggs, water, and salt. It is made in a few simple steps, where the wet and dry ingredients are combined and kneaded into a dough. This dough is then cut into the desired pasta shape.
Dried pasta is generally mass-produced, so it is dried at high temperatures to preserve. The general ingredients used for dried pasta are derived from wheat, so it is safe to eat if you are on a vegan diet.
Can Fresh Pasta be Vegan?
Typically, not all fresh pasta is vegan friendly. If you look at the ingredients in pasta, then you will find that most fresh pasta is made with eggs. However, many recipes and techniques use oil instead of eggs, so be sure to ask if you are opting for fresh pasta, especially when you eat out. If you’re looking for affordable sources of fresh pasta, we recommend Japanese Fresh Chewy Pasta (Spaghetti) and Japanese Fresh Chewy Pasta (Fettuccine).
What are the Most Common Non-Vegan Ingredients in Pasta?
Egg yolk is the most common ingredient used in non-vegan pasta. It is not used in commercial pasta, which is good news for anyone who has chosen a vegan lifestyle. Typically, the egg is used to give the pasta its elasticity and the nice golden color it is known for.
Today, however, its use is reduced more than people realize. Pasta manufacturers use a variety of alternatives to give pasta the color that it requires, especially when it comes to better quality. The best pasta is made of wheat, which has a higher protein content. The most common and preferred flour used is Durum Flour, as it can withstand high temperatures and manipulation like kneading and running through a pasta cutter.
It also provides elasticity that allows the pasta to keep its shape intact during cooking. Durum flour is also used because of its high carotenoid pigment content, which is the rich golden, orange, or yellow pigments in plants. This gives pasta the color that it needs.
Are the Additives used in Pasta Vegan Friendly?
Other ingredients that are commonly used in pasta are also vegan-friendly. In North America, for example, Iron and Vitamin B are used to enrich pasta. These are commonly derived from vegan-friendly sources.
Some pasta companies also use plant-based gums, such as guar gum or xanthan, which are friendly for a vegan diet. Sometimes, pasta made from different flour, such as chickpea flour, will use proteins as an additive, but it is not derived from animals, rather it is pea or soy protein.
What Pastas and Noodles are Always Vegan-Friendly?
If you are a noodle enthusiast and have recently chosen to turn to a vegan lifestyle, then you need not worry because a lot of noodles and pasta fall under the vegan-friendly category. Though traditional methods of making noodles and pasta do use non-vegan ingredients, some are always without animal-derived products. Here is a list that you can refer to, so you know what to pick on your next trip to a restaurant or store.
Most frequently used in Korean, Japanese, and Palauan cuisine, Udon noodles are made with wheat and flour. Udon are thick noodles and an excellent option when you are looking for a little substance for a nice, hot soup on a cold day.
Udon noodles are generally made without eggs since it doesn’t require the translucency that egg yolks are used for. This is great news for vegans, but as with most processed foods, a quick scan of the ingredients on the package is always beneficial.
Gnocchi is a great option for a vegan diet. It is made of flour, potatoes, or semolina and is usually composed of small and thick dumplings. Though it is generally served with non-vegan ingredients, a great vegan pasta sauce with red lentils, for example, makes for an excellent, plant-based, protein-filled dish.
One of the best and most popular options for a vegan-friendly pasta dish is Couscous. It is also considered pasta, even though it looks like a grain. This tiny pasta is made of semolina or durum flour mixed with water to give it the gelatinous texture that is associated with pasta. It is a widely popular choice for vegans, and exceptionally delicious when used with zucchini, bell pepper, red onions, and olive oil.
If you are turning towards a vegan diet and worried about what pasta to consume, don’t be concerned as most pasta falls under the vegan-friendly category. For the very best options for a vegan, healthy macrobiotic rich, non-GMO, MSG-free, and no-refined-sugar diet, let this blog help you on your journey towards a better and improved lifestyle.