Noodles & Company is heaven for pasta lovers. Known for its expansive menu that brings you scrumptious pasta dishes from all around the world, Noodles & Company can satisfy even the most adventurous eaters.
It is undoubtedly one of the best places to get your pasta fix. But, this goes for regular eaters. What about plant-eaters? Does Noodles & Company have vegan options?
In honor of vegan pasta lovers, today I will dig into Noodles & Company’s menu and scoop out some non-meat, non-dairy options that they can enjoy here. Keep reading to get a complete list of Noodles & Company vegan options.
What’s Vegan at Noodles & Company?
Noodles & Company doesn’t have too many vegan options; they have quite a few vegetarian options, though.
However, the best thing about the restaurant is that they clearly highlight which of their food items are vegan or can be customized according to a vegan diet.
This saves us, plant-eaters, from the struggle of checking the ingredients list of every plant-based food item and confirming their preparation method with the server to get ourselves something to eat.
It’s important to note here that while the restaurant marks only a few dishes as vegan-friendly, several other reliable online sources revealed that you could actually get some more customized too.
The fact that Noodles & Company also provides a list of ingredients for all their foods (another thing I found impressive) also made it possible for me to cross-check every item mentioned on third-party websites and make sure they are customizable.
This increases our vegan food options at Noodles & Company (good for us).
To make things easier for you, I am listing down all the vegan options at Noodles & Company below, so you already know your options when you head to the restaurants.
Here’s what vegans can eat at Noodles & Company:
- Tossed Green Side Salad
- Veracruz Salad – requires customization
- The Med Salad – requires customization
- Penne Rosa – requires customization
- Zucchini Rosa – requires customization
- Lo Mein – requires customization
- Cauliflower Rigatoni Fresca – requires customization
- Spaghetti – requires customization
- Spicy Korean Noodles – requires customization
- Japanese Pan Noodles
- Build Your Own Vegan Pasta
- Vegan Sauces
As you can see, the majority of these items require customizations. So, let’s quickly go over each of them separately to learn how to order these Noodles & Company foods vegan.
After that, I will also share Noodles & Company menu items that may appear to be vegan-friendly, but are actually not vegan along with answering some of your common questions about Noodles & Company’s vegan menu.
Keep reading to learn how to eat vegan at Noodles & Company.
Noodles & Company Vegan Options – A Detailed Breakdown
Here’s what and how to order vegan at Noodles & Company:
Noodles & Company Vegan Sides
Vegans can rarely get a side of bread with their meal when dining out, as most restaurants do not offer vegan bread options. But, luckily, Noodles & Company is not one of them.
The baguette they offer is made without milk and eggs, and hence, is safe for vegans. You gotta love Noodles & Company for it!
Here’s the list of Noodles & Company baguette ingredients for your reference:
While Noodles & Company’s bread doesn’t have milk or eggs, it contains palm oil, a controversial ingredient in the vegan community.
In case you’re not aware of the ethical debate in the vegan community about the use of palm oil, check out one of my previously written articles, Are M&M’s Vegan, to find out.
▪ Tossed Green Side Salad
If you haven’t guessed its name already, this is just the basic side salad you get at most restaurants. Nothing exciting about it, but it was worth mentioning because it is completely plant-based and is the only salad on Noodles & Company’s menu that comes standard as a vegan.
You just have to make sure that you choose a vegan salad dressing with it.
Noodles & Company’s Tossed Green Side Salad features a healthy and nutritious mix of spring lettuce, romaine lettuce, cucumber, and Roma tomatoes.
▪ Noodles & Company Vegan Salads
Now that we have talked about the boring salad at Noodles & Company let’s come to a little more interesting options. Noodles & Company offers a few different salad entrées. Although all of them are non-vegan, you can get a couple of customized options.
Salads may not be the best vegan options on Noodles & Company’s menu, but it’s healthy, nutritious, and filling. So, it’s good to know your options.
Here’s how to order a vegan salad at Noodles & Company:
▪ Veracruz Salad
Appearing on the menu as Chicken Veracruz Salad, this is a low-calorie option at Noodles & Company for health enthusiasts or those watching their calorie intake.
If you happen to be one of them, you can get this low-calorie salad customized for your vegan diet by asking them to hold the chicken, bacon, and dressing.
The salad comes standard with jalapeno ranch dressing, which (as evident from the name) is not vegan. You may ask if they can swap the dressing with a vegan alternative or order it separately.
With these alterations, you’ll get a Noodles & Company vegan salad with red onions, Roma tomatoes, fresh avocado, fresh-cut corn, crispy jalapenos, and cilantro over a bed of Tuscan greens and kale mix.
▪ The Med Salad
ThisNoodles & Company low-calorie Mediterranean salad comes standard with grilled chicken. Skip the meat and the spicy yogurt dressing and feta it is topped with to make this Noodles & Company salad vegan.
You will be left with a healthy mix of Tuscan greens, kale, red onions, tomatoes, cucumbers, Kalamata olives, and cavatappi pasta.
▪ Noodles & Company Vegan Noodles
As mentioned earlier, Noodles & Company offers a wide range of noodles and pasta dishes from all around the world. While most of them are not vegan, a few can be customized. Read on to find out how to order vegan pasta at Noodles & Company.
▪ Penne Rosa
A classic pasta and veggie dish, Penne Rosa is made with wheat penne pasta, which is vegan-friendly. The pasta is tossed with spicy tomato-based Rosa sauce, spinach, Roma tomatoes, and white mushrooms and topped with parmesan cheese.
When it comes to making this pasta dish vegan, you’ll have to order it without cheese and cream, as per Noodles & Company’s official vegan guide.
Wondering where did this cream come from? According to the restaurant’s website, Rosa pasta is tossed with spicy tomato cream sauce. However, the cream isn’t mentioned in Noodles & Company’s Penne Rosa Sauce ingredients list.
It seems they add cream to the sauce afterward, making it possible for them to omit it from the recipe.
When eating vegan at Noodles & Company, simply ask for Penne Rosa pasta without cream and cheese. Leave the rest to them.
This is the ultimate classic pasta dish, listed on Noodles & Company’s menu as Spaghetti & Meatballs, and is clearly a non-vegan option. However, it is easy to customize.
Simply ask them to hold the meatballs and parmesan cheese that they sprinkle on the top.
You will get a simple noodle dish with spaghetti tossed in crushed tomato marinara sauce with these customizations. Unlike some other restaurants, Noodles & Company doesn’t add dairy in their marinara sauce; it’s vegan-friendly.
Love Asian flavors? Noodles & Company has a few of Asian noodle dishes that plant-eaters can enjoy. One of them comes standard as vegan-friendly, while the others are easy to customize.
So, if you like spicy Asian flavors, go all out with these options when eating vegan at Noodles & Company.
▪ Spicy Korean Noodles
This appears on the menu as Spicy Korean Beef Noodles. You know what you need to omit just by seeing the name, don’t you?
But, let’s take a look at what else it has to make sure there is no other non-vegan ingredient in it.
Noodles & Company’s Spicy Korean Beef Noodles feature Lo Mein noodles tossed with Gochujang/Korean BBQ sauce, spinach, and red and napa cabbage.
The dish comes topped with cucumbers, cilantro, and green onions. The freshness of vegetables perfectly balance out the sweet and spicy flavors of the sauce and make this noodle variety a dish that you’ll thoroughly enjoy, i.e. if you like Korean or Asian flavors.
It’s important to note here that Noodles and Company’s allergen menu indicates that the Spicy Korean Beef Noodles contain eggs. However, they are neither listed in Lo Mein noodles ingredients nor in the ingredients list of the Korean BB Sauce. While many may presume that the egg comes from the beef, it isn’t even listed in the Marinated Steak ingredients (the beef variety used in this dish).
This bit of information has left me in a quandary. Where do the eggs come from in this Korean noodles dish? I was unable to figure it out, so your best option is to confirm with the server at the time of ordering. Or you can just trust PETA and order this dish without beef, as they say it’s the only customization it requires to be made vegan-friendly.
▪ Japanese Pan Noodles
The only noodle dish that is classified as vegan-friendly in its standard form by the restaurant itself, Japanese Pan Noodles feature udon noodles caramelized in sweet soy sauce and tossed with carrots, mushrooms, broccoli, cilantro, and black sesame seeds.
Packed with Japanese flavors, these noodles are simple yet delicious. If you like Japanese flavors, this Noodles & Company dish is a must-try.
▪ Lo Mein
This dish appears on Noodles & Company’s menu as Grilled Orange Chicken Lo Mein, so we all know what the main non-vegan culprit here is.
Apart from the grilled chicken, this Asian-inspired noodle dish contains Lo Mein noodles sautéed in vegetable broth and orange sauce with red and napa cabbage and snap peas. It is topped with black sesame seeds, green onions, and cilantro for garnishing.
All of these ingredients are vegan-friendly, including the orange sauce.
I have specifically mentioned orange sauce here because its list of ingredients shows one item that can be mistaken as non-vegan at first glance.
However, when you look closely, you’ll find out that it’s 100% plant-based. The ingredient we’re talking about is a Vegetarian Chicken Flavor Base. For reference, here’s the list of orange sauce components that also clearly highlights what is used to make this chicken-flavored base:
▪ Zucchini Rosa
This pasta variety is marked as ‘paleo-friendly’on Noodles & Company’s menu. However, it can be made vegan with a custom order.
According to Noodles & Company’s website, the dish comes standard with zucchini noodles tossed in spicy cream sauce, grilled chicken, spinach, tomatoes, mushrooms, and parmesan cheese on the top.
When ordering it vegan, you will have to surely skip the parmesan cheese; no two views about it. However, there’s a little confusion with regards to the sauce.
Noodles & Company has two tomato-based sauces – Penne Rosa Sauce and Rosa Cream Sauce. As per the description of the dish given on the website, it seems that it contains the Rosa Cream sauce, which is non-vegan.
However, a few online sources tell that you can get Zucchini Rosa without dairy, i.e., cream and cheese. This make it seems that the dish may contain the other non-dairy Rosa sauce.
Do you find all this information a little confusing?
Your best bet is to confirm the vegan status of this Noodles & Company’s zucchini noodle dish with the server.
If it contains the cream sauce, you may try requesting if they can make it for you dairy-free, i.e. with the Penne Rosa sauce.
▪ Cauliflower Rigatoni Fresca
Made with cauliflower rigatoni, this dish comes standard with two non-vegan ingredients – shrimp and parmesan.
Order it without them, and you’ll have a healthy vegan cauliflower pasta dish with roasted garlic, spinach, tomatoes, red onions, and Fresca sauce that has olive oil and balsamic vinaigrette as core ingredients. Simple and delicious.
Fresca sauce is vegan. But, in case you don’t want to take my word for it, here’s the complete list of Noodles & Company’s Fresca sauce ingredients:
Regardless of which of these pasta or noodle dishes you choose to eat at Noodles & Company, you can make your meal healthier, more nutritious, filling, and flavorful by asking for extra veggies.
You can also try requesting if they swap the meat with tofu (they have tofu available, so they may cater to your request).
Alternatively, you can get just the kind of pasta you like made from scratch by placing a custom order. Refer to the next section to learn how to place a custom order for vegan pasta at Noodles & Company.
▪ Build Your Own Vegan Pasta
With this option, you can put together countless different pasta dishes even when eating vegan at Noodles & Company. Let’s take a look at all the vegan options you have for each component of a pasta or noodle dish, so you can get a pasta dish made just how you like it.
Vegan Pasta and Noodles at Noodles & Company
- Lo Mein Noodles
- Cavatappi Noodles
- Pipette Noodles
- Rice Noodles
- Udon Noodles
- Elbow Pasta
- Penne Pasta
- Cauliflower Rigatoni
- Zucchini Noodles
- Animal-Shaped Noodlemals – pasta variety used in most kids meals
Vegan Protein Options at Noodles & Company
- Seasoned Tofu
Vegetable Options at Noodles & Company
- Cabbage blend, contains red and napa cabbage
- Roma Tomatoes
- Red Onion
- Cucumber, diced and julienned
- Kalamata Olives
- Snap Peas
- Roasted Zucchini
- Roasted Mushrooms
- White Mushrooms
- Sweet Corn
- Crispy Jalapenos
- Green Onion
Vegan Pasta Sauces at Noodles & Company
- Penne Rosa Sauce
- Marinara Sauce
- Korean BBQ Sauce
- Japanese Pan Sauce
- Orange Sauce
- Fresca Sauce
Choose your favorite items from each category to place a custom order for vegan pasta at Noodles & Company.
Noodles & Company has a dedicated guide for those with specific dietary concerns or restrictions. It lists all the menu items that meet various dietary limitations, such as low-calorie dishes, gluten-free options, and, of course, vegan foods.
There are two dishes mentioned on that guide that, according to the restaurant, can be made vegan with a few modifications. These include Spicy Chicken Adobo and Thai Green Curry. However, I couldn’t find these dishes on Noodles & Company menu given on their website or on the Ingredient Statement.
It seems that these dishes have either been discontinued or only available at selected locations. But, the only way to confirm it is to ask your server at the time of ordering.
▪ Vegan Sauces, Dressings, Seasonings, and Condiments at Noodles & Company
Whether you choose to order a pasta or salad, you can make your vegan meal at Noodles & Company more flavorful by getting any of the following dipping sauces, dressings, seasonings, and condiments on the side:
- Soy Sauce
- BBQ Sauce
- Buffalo Sauce
- Spicy Peanut Sauce
- Sriracha Sauce
- Potsticker Sauce
- Balsamic Vinaigrette
- Italian Seasoning
- Asian Seasoning
- Smolder from Bolder – a proprietary spice blend/ seasoning of Noodles & Company
- Black Pepper
- Red Pepper Flakes
- Black Sesame Seeds
- Granulated Peanuts
- Focaccia Croutons
- Oyster Crackers
- Applesauce – from kids’ menu
▪ Vegan Beverages at Noodles & Company
- Fountain Drinks
- Freshly-Brewed Iced Tea
- Orange Juice
Noodles & Company Menu Items That May Look Vegan, But Are Not
Like most other restaurants, Noodles & Company also has a few items on its menu that may appear vegan-friendly, but a closer look at their ingredients tells that they are not.
I am listing all of them down below for your convenience. Take a look and make sure to avoid them when ordering vegan at Noodles & Company.
- Flatbread – Unlike baguettes, Noodles & Company’s flatbread is not vegan. It contains dairy in the form of Non-fat Dry Milk.
- Potstickers – Potsticker sauce is vegan, but potstickers are not as they contain chicken
- Pad Thai Sauce – It contains fish sauce
- Basil Pesto Sauce – It has parmesan cheese
- Med Dressing – It contains dairy in form of milk, yogurt, and sour cream
- Scampi Sauce – Contains butter and cream
- Stroganoff Sauce – It has sour cream and heavy whipping cream
- Tomato Basil Bisque – This great tasting soup has heavy whipping cream added to it
- Rice Crispy – There’s milk in it
- Snoodle Doodle Cookies – They have dairy
FAQs about Noodles & Company Vegan Options
Let’s answer some common questions people ask about the vegan status of various Noodles & Company food items, so you have a clear understanding of what you can and cannot eat at the popular pasta place.
▪ Are Noodles & Company’s noodles vegan?
Thankfully, all of Noodles & Company’s noodles are vegan-friendly with just one exception, and that is the Egg Noodles.
▪ Is Noodles & Company Cauliflower Gnocchi vegan?
No. Cauliflower Gnocchi at Noodles & Company is not vegan. It contains both eggs and dairy.
▪ Is Noodles & Company Pad Thai vegetarian?
Although Pad Thai at Noodles & Company doesn’t contain meat, it is not even vegetarian friendly, let alone vegan. This is because the Pad Thai sauce used in this noodle dish is not vegan. It contains fish sauce, which has anchovies.
▪ Does Noodles & Company have vegan desserts?
Noodles & Company doesn’t have very many dessert options to begin with. The few options that they have contain dairy and/or eggs. None of them is vegan-friendly.
Craving for something after having a delicious vegan meal at Noodles & Company? Make your vegan dessert at home. Check out the following video for quick and easy vegan dessert recipes. They are also healthy!
Conclusion – Is Noodles & Company Vegan-Friendly?
Noodles & Company is a good dine out place for vegans. There are quite a few customizable options available. Moreover, the restaurant also allows you to build your own pasta dish from scratch by choosing component according to your choice.
There are only so many places that gives us (or anyone per se) this option, so it’s a blessing for plant-eaters.
Having said that, there is plenty of room for improvement in Noodles & Company’s vegan menu. There are many more dishes that can be offered in vegan versions as part of the standard menu. This would make the ordering process a whole lot easier for vegans.
Lastly, it wouldn’t be fair to end this article without appreciating the thoughtfulness of Noodles & Company’s owners and managers.
They provide the most exhaustive ingredients list for their menu items, enabling their customers, vegan or those following any other kind of limited diet, to pick out suitable options.
Did you find this article helpful? I am positive you did! Interested in getting a similar vegan breakdown for other popular restaurant menus too? Well, that’s what I have been doing for quite some time now. Check out my article The Cheesecake Factory Vegan Options to begin with, and find out what this food industry giant has for vegans.