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Is pasta vegan?

Is all pasta vegan and what to look out for?

Pasta is hugely popular and incredibly versatile. It's low in fat, high in complex carbohydrates, and serves up a good slug of protein and fiber too. What's not to love about pasta? Well, for vegans, the answer, or rather the question, is obvious: Is pasta vegan?

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Is pasta vegan?

The short answer: Some pasta is vegan, and some pasta isn’t.

Most packaged pasta, including spaghetti, rotini, and any other type, is 100% vegan. To know for sure, simply check the ingredients on your package!

Sometimes, you might see “egg” listed as an ingredient in “fresh” kinds of pasta. Avoid those, but generally, pasta contains no animal-derived ingredients.

Is all pasta vegan?

Pasta has been around for a long time. Pasta originated in Italy, where people traditionally mixed unleavened dough of durum wheat flour with water or eggs.

There are now more than 300 forms of pasta. Not all of them are vegan.

Fresh pasta is sometimes made with egg (although oil can be used instead of egg). Most packaged pasta is vegan, but it’s a good idea to check the ingredients just in case.

How is pasta made?

This question must be answered in two parts since there are two distinct ways to make this delicious food staple.

There’s fresh pasta, which is often made and cooked in the same sitting. And there is dried pasta. Dried pasta is usually boxed up for sale in grocery stores to be cooked at a later date.

These two types are very different in their production and if they are vegan.

Fresh pasta

The typical ingredients for fresh pasta include flour, water, salt, and eggs. While some fresh pasta is made with oil instead of eggs, eggs are a widespread ingredient in fresh pasta.

First, the flour and salt are mixed together in a mixing bowl. Next, a “well” is made in the middle of the flour. This is where the eggs come in: they’re cracked, so they go right in the flour well.

The flour is slowly mixed into the eggs until a type of dough forms. Once the eggs and flour are thoroughly mixed, the kneading can begin. The dough is then kneaded until you see no air bubbles upon cutting it.

Once that step is done, the dough should be rested before it’s been cut into the shape of choice: fettuccine, spaghetti, lasagna noodles, you name it. Then, it’s ready to throw into boiling water to cook.

Dried pasta

You can dry pasta that you’ve made fresh, which means that certain dried kinds of pasta can contain eggs.

However, most mass-produced, boxed, dried pasta that you’ll find don’t contain any animal products. In fact, they usually only have two ingredients: flour and semolina.

Commercial production of dried pasta is a long process. First, semolina, derived from a wheat product, is mixed with water. Machines will mix many tons of pasta dough each day. After mixing, the dough is pressed through pasta molds to get the desired shape.

Once the dough is molded and cut, it’s sent off to an industrial dryer that dries the pasta at high temperatures. When the pasta is thoroughly dried, it’s then packaged up in boxes and sent off to shops worldwide.

Ordering vegan pasta in a restaurant

If you’re eating out, we would always recommend checking that a dish is vegan. Animal products, be it a nob of butter to finish a sauce, a few anchovies used to season a dish but barely noticeable otherwise, or eggs in pasta are often “sneaked in” to dishes. Just ask the waiter and request that they check with the manager or chef if they show any hesitancy.

✍️  January 24, 2021
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