Noodles are one of the oldest foods in the world. Historical records show that humans around the world have been eating noodles for thousands of years, and archaeologists recently unearthed four-thousand-year-old noodles in China!
The real question that most of my readers are wondering, though, is, “Are noodles vegan?”
Yes! Almost all noodles are vegan. They’re made using dough from flour and water and may contain a bit of added salt. The one exception is egg noodles. Egg noodles are the only non-vegan noodles, as they’re made with whole eggs.
Navigating the wonderful world of noodles as a vegan can be a bit difficult. Although most traditional noodle recipes are 100% vegan, many of the dishes made with noodles are not.
In today’s post, I’m going to break down some of the different ingredients in eggs, explain what types of noodles are vegan, and answer some of the most commonly asked questions about vegan noodles.
Let’s take a look!
Do Noodles Have Egg?
Traditionally, most noodles don’t contain eggs. Of course, the exception to this rule is egg noodles. Most historians believe that egg noodles originated in Ancient China around two thousand years ago.
Egg noodles use the same dough base as regular noodles but also contain added whole eggs.
The added egg makes for a more filling, protein-rich noodle and gives the noodles a bouncy, slippery consistency that many people find enjoyable. Unfortunately, this makes them non-vegan.
If you’re eating out and worried about accidentally eating egg noodles, you’ll find that almost all dishes that contain egg noodles are clearly defined.
Egg noodles are typically only found in Chinese cuisine, so you shouldn’t have to worry about them being used in pasta or most Asian food.
If you look at most Asian and European noodle recipes, you’ll see that they’re all made using a simple recipe that consists of unleavened dough with a bit of salt.
Noodle consistency, taste, and texture vary considerably depending on the type of dough used to make them.
While most European noodles are made from wheat, many Asian noodles are made from rice flour, which is more readily available on the continent.
How To Tell If Noodles Contain Eggs
Egg noodles are the only type of noodles in the world that contain eggs. As such, the packaging will be clearly labeled as “Egg Noodles.” Additionally, the ingredients section will always specifically list eggs if they’re used in the recipe.
Are Instant Noodles Vegan?
It depends. While some instant noodles are 100% vegan, others may contain non-vegan additives. Often, instant noodle packages may contain meat-derived flavor or seasoning.
It’s also common to find ingredients like dried shrimp, fish sauce, egg noodles, and other non-vegan ingredients.
The best way to tell if the instant noodles you’re looking at are vegan or not is to read the ingredients label. Look for common meat-derived additives, such as butter, cheese, gelatin, eggs, casein, whey, or egg noodles.
Many vegan-friendly noodles will also be clearly branded with the vegan symbol to distinguish them from other non-vegan brands. The best places to find vegan instant noodles are on Amazon and at specialty health food stores like Whole Foods Market or Trader Joe’s.
Is Barilla Pasta Vegan?
For the most part, Barilla pasta and noodles are vegan-friendly. Barilla specializes in making Italian-style noodles, which rarely ever contain egg.
That being said, Barilla pasta does sell a couple of different varieties of egg noodles. To be sure, I always recommend double-checking the ingredients label.
Are Noodles From The Chinese Vegan?
Chinese noodle dishes tend to be the riskiest for vegans to consume. This is because egg noodles are very common in Chinese cuisine. Some of the most common egg noodle dishes in Chinese cuisine are lo mein and chow mein.
After I first went vegan and was learning about food, I made the mistake of ordering vegetables lo mein. I didn’t know it had egg noodles and incorrectly assumed that it was a vegan-friendly dish.
If you’re ever unsure, it’s always best to ask your server.
Although Chinese cuisine often uses egg noodles, rice noodles are used as well. Many restaurants that sell egg noodles may also offer rice noodles, so you might be able to substitute rice noodles for egg noodles in a dish!
Are Ramen Noodles Vegan?
Although ramen noodles are typically associated with Japanese cuisine, the dish actually originated in China and wasn’t imported to Japan until later.
By themselves, ramen noodles are 100% vegan. Unlike most Chinese cuisine that uses egg noodles, ramen noodles are made using wheat dough that’s mixed with kansui, strongly alkaline water that gives the noodles the firm, slippery texture that they’re best known for.
They’re actually pretty easy to make by yourself from home:
That being said, most ramen noodle dishes are not vegan. This is because the noodles are often boiled in pork or chicken broth. Additionally, ramen dishes often contain pork boiled eggs, pork belly, and other types of meat.
Because of this, vegans should avoid store-bought instant ramen noodles or ramen dishes that come from non-vegan restaurants.
If you have a real hankering for ramen, though, a number of vegan and vegetarian restaurants are serving vegan-friendly ramen that’s meat and egg-free. Vegan ramen is also cooked in a savory vegetable broth instead of meat-based broth.
Are Japanese Noodles Vegan?
Although some Japanese cuisine uses egg noodles, rice noodles are far more common. This gives you a lot more flexibility if you’re trying to find vegan-friendly Japanese food!
You may also find “glass noodles” in Japanese and southeastern Asian cuisine as well.
These transparent noodles are made using water combined with starch, which makes for light, semi-transparent noodles that look like glass!
What Are Vegan Noodles Made Of?
As I mentioned, most noodle recipes are made sans egg, which makes them 100% vegan. No matter what type of vegan noodles you’re eating, they’ll always be made using three simple ingredients:
- Flour (usually rice or wheat flour)
Sometimes starch is added alongside the flour to create a unique consistency in the noodles. Vegetable noodles are another common type of vegan-friendly noodles.
In addition to wheat or rice flour, veggie noodles often contain added vegetable flour, such as chickpea flour, potato flour, or something similar.
Vegan Noodle Types Listed
Here’s a quick table detailing some of the most common vegan and non-vegan noodle types, so you can tell which popular dishes might be vegan:
|Vegan Noodles||Non-Vegan Noodles (Contain Egg)|
|Rice vermicelli noodles||Wonton noodles|
|Glass noodles (or “cellophane noodles”)|
Conclusion – Are Noodles Vegan-Friendly?
Noodles are usually vegan-friendly and are a dietary staple for me! Noodles are incredibly versatile, which means that you can use them to create a wide variety of delicious vegan dishes.
I cook veggie stir fry or vegan spaghetti at least once a week!
To learn more on the topic, check out my next post that answers, “Is Pasta Vegan?” next!