Spaghettios first came out in 1965, which means that most people alive today grew up with them. They were the first company to sell spaghetti in a can, which is why they’re still just as popular sixty years later! The only problem is that spaghetti isn’t always vegan…
So, are Spaghettios vegan?
Unfortunately, Spaghettios are NOT vegan. Even though the tomato sauce and pasta are vegan-friendly, Spaghettios contain several dairy ingredients, such as butter, cheese, and skim milk. With three separate animal-derived ingredients, Spaghettios aren’t vegan-friendly.
Below, I’ll give you a full rundown of the ingredients, so you can see exactly why Spaghettios aren’t vegan. While I’m at it, I’ll also answer a few of the most commonly-asked questions about spaghetti and Spaghettios!
Are There Vegan Spaghettios?
Today, more and more companies are offering vegan-friendly alternatives. Even Burger King, whose entire business model is based on selling non-vegan food, has started offering vegan plant-based burgers!
Over the past couple of years, I’ve reviewed hundreds of vegan alternatives to traditional non-vegan foods. I’ve seen vegan sausage, vegan eggs, and a lot more.
Sadly, though, there are no vegan Spaghettios on the market. At this time, the company only offers its traditional non-vegan options.
Additionally, I haven’t seen any competing companies offering their own variety of vegan spaghetti in a can. So, if you’re an entrepreneurial vegan, this would be a great niche to slide into before anybody else takes the idea!
Otherwise, you’ll have to stick to making your own homemade vegan spaghetti.
Are Spaghettios Suitable For Vegetarians?
A lot of first-time vegans tend to confuse the vegetarian diet with the vegan diet. However, the two diets are actually quite a bit different from each other.
While vegans don’t consume any animal products, vegetarians are okay consuming some animal products.
Vegetarians don’t eat meat. However, they consume a wide variety of animal-derived foods, such as milk, cheese, butter, yogurt, honey, eggs, and more. Some vegetarians even wear leather or wool products that have been taken from animals.
If you look at the ingredients in the original Spaghettios, you won’t find any meat ingredients. The only non-vegan ingredients in Spaghettios are cheese, butter, and milk. These are all dairy products that are acceptable on a vegetarian diet (just not a vegan diet).
Since the only non-vegan ingredients in Spaghettios are dairy-based, Spaghettios are 100% vegetarian-friendly.
That being said, some flavors of Spaghettios also include pieces of meat. So, if you’re a vegetarian, make sure to avoid these!
Is Spaghetti Vegan?
While Spaghettios may not be vegan-friendly, there’s nothing wrong with spaghetti!
Spaghetti, by itself, is often vegan. As long as no animal by-products are used in the recipe, then spaghetti can be a purely plant-based meal.
If you break it down, spaghetti is just made with pasta noodles (which are usually vegan) and tomato sauce (which is also usually vegan).
The problem typically arises from other ingredients that are added to spaghetti. Often, restaurant-style spaghetti may include added ingredients, such as:
- Parmesan cheese
- Cream or milk
That being said, none of those animal-derived ingredients are necessary!
Spaghetti is one of my favourite go-to vegan meals. I just make sure that I used a vegan pasta brand, and I usually make my own tomato sauce from scratch using tomato puree mixed with my favorite vegetables and seasonings!
You can also kick it up a notch by making your own vegan meatballs.
Here’s a great vegan-friendly spaghetti recipe to try if you’re craving Italian food:
What Are Spaghettios Made Of? Ingredients Analyzed
Have you ever wondered what exactly Spaghettios are made of? I’ll give you a hint, they’re not quite as “natural” as they may seem. While the popular canned dish is based on a traditional spaghetti recipe, it contains some highly-processed ingredients, sugar, and chemical preservatives.
Here’s a quick look at the label:
Now, let’s take a closer look at the ingredients…
Surprisingly, water is the main ingredient in Spaghettios. I guess that’s because it’s used in both the tomato sauce and the noodles. Water, of course, is always a vegan-friendly ingredient. It’s essential to all life on earth!
That being said, if you really want to get nitty-gritty, there are certain brands of drinking water that are more sustainable than others. Check out my list of the best vegan water brands here to see for yourself!
2) Tomato Puree
It’s not spaghetti without tomato sauce! Unlike homemade spaghetti which typically has a more involved tomato sauce, though, Spaghettios are just made with pure tomato puree.
Tomato puree is just pure blended tomatoes mixed with water. As such, it’s a vegan-friendly ingredient and is used in vegan foods.
3) Enriched Pasta
Next up, we have enriched pasta. This pasta is made from enriched wheat flour, which is like normal wheat flour but contains added vitamins and minerals.
Enriched flour is generally considered vegan, as wheat flour is a plant-based baking additive and the added vitamins are all vegan-friendly.
4) High-Fructose Corn Syrup
If you ever ate Spaghettios as a kid, then you may remember that they taste a bit sweet. This is because the food is primarily marketed toward kids (and parents looking for fast kid-friendly meals).
It’s a bit messed up, but sweeteners like sugar and high-fructose corn syrup are often added to children’s food to make it more addicting. It’s one of the best ways to ensure that the child is always excited to eat their dinner.
While high-fructose corn syrup certainly isn’t very healthy, it is a vegan product that comes from corn.
Without salt, Spaghettios would probably taste rather bland. Even though Spaghettios aren’t vegan, the salt in them is vegan-friendly. It’s either lab-made or comes from oceanic salt deposits.
6) Enzyme-Modified Cheddar Cheese
As I mentioned, cheese is a common additive used in spaghetti. Spaghettios are made with a highly processed cheese called enzyme-modified cheddar.
This is cheddar cheese that has been broken down using chemical enzymes to make a more concentrated form of cheese flavouring.
Obviously, this is a non-vegan ingredient, as it’s a dairy product that comes from cows. Additionally, many of the enzymes used to break down the cheese comes from the inside of animal stomachs, which is another reason to not consume this product!
7) Vegetable Oil
A bit of vegetable oil is used to provide consistency within the mixture. According to the label, Spaghettios are made with either corn, canola, or soybean oil.
Sometimes, a combination thereof is used. These are all sustainably-sourced cooking oils and are used in a number of vegan products.
8) Enzyme-Modified Butter
Again, we have another enzyme-modified dairy product. Just like the enzyme-modified cheese, this butter has been treated with enzymes to break it down further, turning it into a super-concentrated blend of butter.
Since butter comes from dairy, this is another non-vegan ingredient in Spaghettios.
9) Skim Milk
Skim milk is pure dairy and comes from cows. The entire dairy industry is very cruel to female cows and their young, so all vegans boycott all dairy products.
10) Citric Acid
Citric acid is a natural acid that’s found in citrus fruits. Today’s citric acid is typically lab-made and is used as a mild preservative and flavour additive. In this case, it’s used as a preservative to increase the acidity of the food and prevent bacteria from developing.
11) Paprika & Onion Extract
The original Spaghettios are flavoured with a bit of onion and paprika extract. These all-natural spices are perfectly fine for vegans to consume.
Last but not least, the label mentions that some form of “flavouring” is also added to Spaghettios. This is rather vague and uninformative. However, I wouldn’t be surprised if the food was made with some meat-derived flavorings to simulate the taste of spaghetti and meatballs.
The Verdict – Are Spaghettios Vegan-Friendly?
While regular homemade spaghetti can be made vegan, Spaghettios are NOT vegan. They contain a number of dairy products and possibly even meat-derived seasoning.
If you’re looking for some great crumble to make your own vegan spaghetti and meatballs with, be sure to check out my list of the best vegan meat crumble next!