Did you know that Thomas Jefferson was the first person to bring pasta to America?
Another fun fact about pasta is that it was first recorded in 5,000 B.C. in ancient China, long before Italians became known for it! Today, pasta is one of the most-loved dishes in America and around the world.
If you’re reading this post now, though, you’re probably wondering, “Is pasta vegan?”
If you love Italian food, then you’re in luck because most pasta is vegan-friendly! Pasta is typically made using two simple ingredients: flour and water.
That being said, some pasta may include eggs, which would make it non-vegan. To ensure that your pasta is vegan and egg-free, your best bet is to check the ingredients label to make sure.
Today’s post is going to be all about pasta! I’ll start by breaking down the key ingredients used to make pasta and explain why some pasta recipes call for eggs. Then, I’ll answer a few common questions about eating Italian on a vegan diet and explain whether or not pasta sauce is vegan.
Does Pasta Have Eggs In It?
Most pasta does not have eggs in it. When store-bought pasta does have eggs in it, the product will usually be labeled as “egg noodles.” In general, most dried store pasta is completely egg-free. However, you should watch out for fresh-cooked pasta.
Eating at an authentic Italian restaurant is an experience like no other. You can’t beat the fresh sauces, herbs, and delicious home-cooked, never-dried noodles.
The only problem is that some authentic Italian pasta recipes use eggs. So, before you order pasta off of the menu, it’s always a good idea to verify with your server that the pasta is vegan-friendly.
Why Are Eggs Used In Noodles?
The main reason why some manufacturers and restaurants add eggs to noodles is to provide added flavor and texture. When you add eggs to pasta, it makes the noodles smoother and firmer. The noodles also adopt a richer, more savory flavor that many people enjoy (just not us vegans!).
Egg noodles aren’t quite as common in Italian cuisine as they are in Asian cuisine, so you shouldn’t have to worry about eggs too much when you’re cooking or eating Italian food.
What Is Pasta Made From?
Pasta has been an Italian staple for hundreds of years thanks to Italy’s rich farming culture and the country’s abundance of wheat fields. This led Italians to be incredibly innovative with wheat.
They’re known for creating pizza dough, baking great bread, originating pastry dough, and of course various types of pasta like spaghetti, linguine, penne, and more!
Most pasta is made with an incredibly simple recipe: flour and water. Here’s a closer look.
Durum Wheat Flour
Durum wheat is a unique species of wheat that originated in Italy. It’s the second-most-consumed type of wheat in the world (besides common wheat) but only makes up for around 8% of global wheat production and sales.
This is because durum wheat is really only used to make pasta noodles.
Durum wheat is known for having a richer, more complex flavor than traditional wheat. When used in dough, durum wheat makes for a soft, malleable dough that’s perfect for rolling and stretching into long strands of noodles.
While durum wheat dough’s softness makes it great for pasta, it’s not optimal for bread baking, which is why you’ll never find it used in bread, crackers, and other snacks.
Another fun fact about durum is that it’s incredibly healthy for you. Durum wheat is high in:
- Dietary fiber (good for digestion)
- B vitamins (good for your metabolism, immunity, and energy levels)
- Antioxidants (good for your immune system and anti-aging)
Durum is also a rich source of trace minerals, such as copper, iron, and zinc!
Enriched Wheat Flour
Enriched wheat flour isn’t as commonly used in homemade recipes, but it’s almost always found in store-bought pasta.
The addition of enriched wheat flour helps make for stronger noodles, which prevents the dried noodles from cracking or breaking as easily.
Additionally, enriched wheat flour includes added vitamins and minerals, which make the pasta healthier, and give it a better nutritional rating.
Without water, you could never make dough! The water helps to disperse the flour and activates the yeast, which is responsible for turning the dry flour mixture into delicious dough.
Note: The yeast used for baking pasta is different from nutritional yeast, which is a common vegan seasoning.
Is Dry Pasta Vegan?
Most store-bought dry pasta is perfectly safe for vegans to eat. Pasta is always sold dry, as the drying preserves the pasta and stops the dough from fermenting. Properly dried pasta has a long shelf life and can often last up to a year when stored properly.
Pasta is dried using a dehydration machine that simply removes moisture from the noodles. So, you don’t have to worry about any added chemicals or animal by-products used in pasta production.
Before buying dry pasta, just be sure to double-check the ingredients label to ensure that you’re not accidentally buying egg noodles instead.
Can Vegans Eat Barilla Pasta?
Barilla is one of the most commonly found brands of pasta. Aside from Barilla’s egg noodles, almost all varieties of Barilla pasta are 100% vegan.
Is Pasta Sauce Vegan?
It all depends on the type of pasta sauce you’re looking at. Traditional pasta sauce is made using fresh tomatoes and basil. However, certain sauces contain added dairy or meat-derived products that would make them non-vegan.
Some of the most common non-vegan sauces are:
- Four-cheese tomato sauce
- Alfredo sauce (contains cream and cheese)
- Meat sauce (contains meat flavoring and/or meat-derived products)
My advice is to stick with a simple, high-quality, organic tomato sauce. As always, double-check the label for any unexpected ingredients!
You can also make your own:
Just because you’re vegan doesn’t mean you have to give up pasta! Most Italian pasta is 100% vegan and egg-free.
However, you should be careful when selecting a pasta sauce, as many traditional Italian pasta sauce recipes include cheese, dairy, or meat-derived ingredients.
Pasta is a perfect meal for “HCLF” diets as well. To learn more about the pros and cons of a high-carb, low-fat diet, keep on reading here!