Is the pasta vegan? What you need to know about your favorite noodle dishes
Noodles are about as universal as a culinary love language: from thick udon noodles in Japan to thin baby capellini in Italy, beloved dishes including sheet, ribbon, tube, shell and dozens of other forms can be found worldwide. . Is the pasta vegan, though? The answer is largely yes, but there are some exceptions.
Whether layered in a rich lasagna or Vietnamese soup like pho, as much a childhood staple as macaroni noodles or carefully handcrafted lamian noodles, our collective love affair with all the noodles is easy to observe and understand.
What is pasta?
Pasta and noodles are used interchangeably, but they can mean different things. Pasta is generally defined as a product made with a dough of durum wheat and water, is derived from the word dough, referring to unleavened dough that is formed into dozens of shapes. Pasta can be gluten free.
Asian noodles can be made with different types of flour, such as whole wheat or buckwheat, as well as gluten-free varieties made from rice, sweet potato starch, and konjac-based shirataki.
History of pasta making in different cultures
Although celebrated around the world, the first recorded noodles – estimated to be 4,000 years old – were found in northwest China and since then Asian countries have developed the most varieties. .
Eastern noodles are believed to have reached Italy through nomadic Arab traders before the time of Marco Polo, who is falsely credited with bringing them to the country. Today, there are beloved national dishes with noodles from Germany to South Africa, Thailand to Spain, from comfort food to elegant and upscale dishes.
Types of pasta
Pasta goes beyond your macaroni and cheese or spaghetti and meatballs. Dumplings matter! And there is so much more to explore.
Spaghetti: Long and thin durum wheat pasta. But can also be made gluten-free from rice or bean-based noodles like chickpea flour.
Linguini: Wider than spaghetti and thinner than fettuccine and perfect for swirling your vegetable meatballs.
Tubular pasta: Rigatoni, cannelloni, penne and ziti are examples of hollow pasta in the middle. These hold up well to heavy sauces and lighter dairy-free cream sauces.
ramen: Chinese wheat noodles, traditionally prepared with kansui, a type of alkaline mineral water. Use them in ramen, sure, but they’re delicious anywhere you want to use them.
Udon: Thick and tender wheat noodles from Japan. These can often be in ramen and other Asian dishes.
rice noodles: Varying from very thin to very thick, these naturally gluten-free noodles are common in Asian cuisines.
Dumplings: Cuisines around the world have their own dumplings, which are dough and often wrapped around fillings, such as potatoes, vegetables, and tofu. It can be Italian dumplings, Polish pierogies and, of course, Asian dumplings of all kinds.
Tortellini: Circular stuffed pasta, tortellini are generally not vegan unless otherwise specified.
Spaetzle: Small dumplings associated with German cuisine, spätzle are usually prepared with eggs, unless otherwise specified.
Different shapes of pasta
Pasta comes in at least 350 different shapes, but is generally divided into different categories based on their relative shape.
Long pasta: Long pastas include spaghetti, fettuccine, and vermicelli, to name a few varieties. It is usually pasta designed to be served in a sauce and tossed around with a fork.
Short pasta: Some shortened pasta shapes include macaroni, cavatappi, and penne. Also served with a sauce, the shape is ideal for piercing with a fork and pairs well with larger additions to the dish, such as beans and roasted vegetables.
The Simple Vegan
soup pasta: Alphabet, ditali, anchellini and conchigliette are small shapes of pasta commonly found in soups. They add bulk and texture to soups.
Stretched pasta: These are usually discs of pasta made by rolling the dough, and include cencioni and orecchiette. Also perfect with a sauce.
Pasta to garnish: Ravioli are iconic, of course, but tortellini and cannelloni are also popular pasta varieties to use with toppings. They are perfect to fill with vegan ricotta and roasted mushrooms. and more.
Gnocchi pasta: A category in its own right, gnocchi is a dumpling made from potatoes and flour, but sometimes also eggs and cheese. It’s great tossed with a simple vegan butter sauce, simple veggies, and dairy-free parmesan cheese.
Different types of Asian noodles
Asian noodles are usually long in shape but made with a wider variety of ingredients. Here are six popular types you can find.
Vermicelli: Also known as cellophane, these clear, thin noodles are made with mung bean sweet potato starches and are naturally gluten-free.
ramen: Ramen noodles are traditionally made from wheat and have a springy, silky texture.
rice noodles: From thinner noodles to wider varieties, rice noodles are gluten-free, soft and versatile.
Shirataki: Made with konjac yam starch, these noodles are thick and opaque, and often served like rice noodles.
Soba: A darker nutty-hued noodle, soba is made from buckwheat (a seed) and is naturally gluten-free.
Udon: Thicker wheat noodles, udon are dense and chewy, making them perfect for soup.
Is the pasta vegan?
Some contain eggs, milk and butter. European-style pasta and Asian noodles can be made with egg in the dough, which is usually the only animal product used.
When shopping at the grocery store for Italian pasta, note that most brands of fresh refrigerated pasta contain eggs unless otherwise specified. Although canned dried pasta is less likely to contain eggs than fresh pasta, it’s always a good idea to check the ingredient label. He may note possible allergens that the product came into contact with on shared equipment during its manufacture, but is not included in the ingredients.
Also note that when dining at Italian restaurants with fresh pasta, the pasta is likely to contain egg unless otherwise specified. Ask your server!
Along with Asian noodles, be aware that wonton, chow mein, and lo mein noodles often contain eggs, whether you’re shopping at the grocery store or dining out.
Vegan pasta brands to try
Ready to dig into a bowl of noodles? Start here. These brands all have vegan options. The only question is what will you top your bowl of pasta with?
1 Eden Foods
Try soba, udon, and whole-grain pasta made from US-grown organic grains. Savor Eden Foods 100% Buckwheat Soba with soy sauce, rice vinegar, toasted sesame oil, green onions and pan-fried tofu for a hearty meal.
This global brand based in Italy only sells pasta without eggs or other animal products. Colavita’s Pappardelle Nest pasta tossed with vegan pesto is the definition of comfort food.
Tinkyada makes 18 varieties of Italian-style dry pasta, all of which are gluten-free and vegan. Try the brown rice spirals with marinara sauce, roasted vegetables and fresh basil.
An international brand founded in 1912, most of Barilla’s wide variety of pasta is made without animal products, including their Gluten Free and Protein+ ranges.
5 From Cecco
Widely available at big box stores across the country, all of De Cecco’s wheat-based pasta is plant-based, including spinach fusilli. The protein-rich range, such as spaghetti with red lentils, is also high.
6 365 by Whole Foods Market
Classic pasta varieties like Linguine and Spaghetti are vegan as is, made only with durum wheat semolina flour. Make your favorite vegan mac and cheese with Elbow Macaroni Pasta.
seven Trader Joe’s
Trader Joe’s offers a full line of organic, conventional and gluten-free pasta options that are vegan, including Tightly Rolled Organic Fusilli Corti Bucati for a fun and unusual shape and Gluten-Free Brown Rice Penne, which is perfect for a marinara. sauce or vegan pesto.
Aldi US bronze cut pasta in shapes such as Rigatoni, Casarecce and Conchiglie shells are made without animal ingredients and bring authentic Italian taste at affordable prices.
Made with protein-rich chickpeas, Banza’s pasta in shell, penne, and rotini form is gluten-free, vegan, and sturdy enough to stand up to any sauce.
ten Good & Gather
Target’s house brand, Good & Gather, offers a variety of vegan pastas, including organic whole-wheat farfalles and dyed vegetable rotinis with spinach, tomatoes and carrots.
A vegan-only ramen noodle maker, try Asian Vegetables or Garlic Pepper for a convenient bowl of flavorful soup.
12 Nissin Top Ramen
The name that is synonymous with instant ramen noodles has two vegan flavors, soy sauce and chili.