Is pasta vegan? That’s a question we hear ALL THE TIME from friends looking to make the switch to a more plant based diet. The quick answer? Yes, pasta is vegan… Most of the time.
Perhaps it’s more appropriate to say that pasta can be prepared as a vegan friendly dish. It’s surprisingly easy to make your own vegan pasta and vegan noodles at home, while the vast majority of dried pasta brands at the store are also vegan.
Traditionally, though, fresh pasta is prepared with egg, so vegans do need to double check before spending their Sunday afternoon cooking up lasagna. Let's explore what pasta is vegan, and how you can prepare your own vegan friendly pasta at home.
What is Pasta (and Is Pasta Vegan)?
Do vegans eat pasta? It’s one of those questions you probably haven’t thought much about (exactly like the question, is pizza dough vegan?) until you start looking at the reality of a plant based diet.
Vegans do eat pasta. And most of the time, pasta is vegan. However, not all pasta is always vegan. We can find the reason for this by answering another question: “What is pasta made of?”
Does pasta contain egg? Not usually. Pasta can be prepared from a combination of flour, water, oil, and salt. The most traditional flour product used is durum wheat flour, but semolina flour or plain all-purpose flour are also very common. None of these ingredients contain animal products, so pasta prepared using these ingredients are vegan. The majority of dried pasta products are prepared this way, so they are going to be vegan.
The problem, however, arises with fresh pasta. Fresh pasta is prepared using eggs. Of course, this makes fresh pasta non-vegan. However, as you’ll see, fresh pasta can also be prepared without the eggs!
For vegans, the answer to these differences is to check the packaging, ask the server at the restaurant, or prepare vegan pasta at home.
Vegan Pasta Brands to Look Out For
It’s very rare for boxed pasta to contain any eggs or other non-vegan ingredients. Dried pasta is designed to last for a long time (for months, if not years), and the addition of egg would shorten that lifespan immensely.
However, you should always, always check the ingredients for eggs before purchasing, and then check again before cooking. Some brands specifically state they are “vegan,” but most won’t have this label, even if they are vegan!
Here are the top eggless pasta brands that you’ll find in your local store:
- Ancient Harvest
- Explore Cuisine
- Tolerant Foods
- Trader Joe’s
- San Remo
Simple Homemade Fresh Vegan Pasta Recipe
The following recipe makes approximately 4 servings of vegan fresh pasta. If you have a pasta machine, then it’s much easier to prepare the pasta shapes, but you can do everything by hand too. Speed things up by using a food processor to create the dough, rather than doing this part by hand.
We suggest preparing long vegan pasta noodles, such as spaghetti or fettuccine. These are easier to shape if you’re new to the pasta-making game.
Here’s our homemade vegan pasta recipe!
- 2 ½ c of all-purpose flour
- ½ c of water
- 1 tsp of salt
- 1 Tbsp of olive oil
- Combine all the ingredients on the shopping list together in a large mixing bowl. Fold the water and olive oil into the flour with your hands to create the dough.
- Keep folding, and add more water if the dough feels too dry. Equally, if the dough is feeling too sticky, feel free to add extra flour to the mix!
- Once you’re happy with your dough, roll it up into a ball and place it onto a floured work surface.
- Now comes the hard part: Kneading! Again, use your hands to vigorously knead the dough until it has a bouncy, elastic texture. Spend at least 10 minutes kneading for the best results.
- Next, you need to wrap the kneaded ball of dough securely in plastic wrap. Leave the wrapped dough to rest for at least half an hour. You can leave it on the side, at room temperature.
- After your dough has been left to rest, the next stage is actually cutting the pasta into shapes. You can do this with a pasta machine or by hand (using a sharp knife). Either way, start by dividing your pasta into four equal-sized pieces of dough.
- Use a rolling pin to flatten the dough into a long sheet, then either feed it through the pasta machine to thin it or continue with the rolling pin.
- When you have a thin sheet of dough, set your pasta machine onto the correct cutting setting or use a sharp knife to shape your pasta by hand. If you’re making fettuccine, cut longways down the piece of dough, and you have your noodles!
- Keep rolling and cutting until you have used all your dough, then bring a large pot of water to the boil. Add some salt, then cook up the pasta in batches. Fresh vegan pasta takes no more than 3 minutes to cook through (much quicker than packaged pasta!).*
- Drain the pasta when cooked and serve fresh with your favorite vegan sauce!
*Alternatively, you can store fresh pasta in the refrigerator for up to 48 hours. Fresh pasta can be dried out or frozen for long term storage as well, but it won’t be quite as tasty!
Final Word: Is Pasta Vegan?
Yes, pasta is vegan – at least, most of the time. Dried, packaged pasta is vegan almost 99 percent of the time (just check that egg isn’t listed as an ingredient), but avoid buying fresh pasta from the store, as that’s likely to be made with eggs.
At your local Italian restaurant, it’s wise to double check if the pasta contains egg, but if you’re preparing fresh pasta at home, you can be sure it’s vegan friendly!
Why not bookmark our guide to vegan pasta, so you can prepare homemade vegan friendly pasta?