Sitting down with family or friends over a huge, heaping plate of fresh pasta is an experience most people have enjoyed, maybe even regularly. Yet if you’re thinking about going vegan, you may wonder, can you still eat fresh pasta as part of your vegan diet?
Vegans can eat most pasta except for that which is called fresh pasta. This pasta typically has eggs in it, which is not allowed on a vegan diet. Beside traditional pasta, vegans can also eat plant-based vegan pasta made from black beans, zucchini, and other vegetables.
In today’s post, we’ll discuss why vegan fresh pasta is a no-no as well as discuss whether vegans can consume bread, rice, and other pasta brands. We’ll even share some plant-based vegan pasta recipes if you feel like cooking up something fun for dinner tonight.
Let’s get started!
What Don’t Vegans Eat?
First, let’s begin with an overview of what vegans cannot eat. The short answer is anything derived from animals, including animal byproducts. Here’s the long answer of what’s excluded from the average vegan diet.
Edible foods that are sourced from bees are not considered veganism food. These are royal jelly, bee pollen, and yes, even honey.
Since eggs come from chickens and are thus an animal byproduct, they’re not allowable for vegans either. Not only are chicken eggs excluded, by the way, by those from quails, ducks, geese, and turkeys as well.
Another animal byproduct, dairy is often replaced in a vegan’s diet by healthier faux dairy sources. All dairy is barred as a vegan, including ice cream, cream, butter, cheese, yogurt, and milk.
Seafood and fish should both be skipped if you’re thinking of becoming a vegan. The world of seafood is a vast one, but it’s all not allowable. That means foregoing lobster, crab, mussels, calamari, scallops, squid, shrimp, anchovies, and any and all fish species. Even products made from fish, like fish sauce, should be avoided as a vegan.
If a bird can produce eggs, then that bird is also crossed off a vegan’s diet. That again includes quail, duck, goose, turkey, and chicken.
Besides going without poultry, a vegan won’t eat meat either. From wild meat to organ meat, horse, veal, pork, beef, lamb, or any other meat source, you’d give it all up.
Besides those foods, as a vegan, you might also opt to skip certain additives and ingredients that might be considered animal byproducts. Here’s a full list for your perusal:
- Lactose, casein, whey, and other dairy ingredients, as they’re sources of dairy
- Vitamin D3, which could come from a sheep’s wool (lanolin), as well as fish oil
- Omega-3 fatty acids, as they’re commonly found in fish
- Castoreum and other natural flavorings, which are considered animal byproducts
- Isinglass, a type of gelatin sourced from the bladders of fish that goes into alcoholic beverages
- Gelatin, which is produced from a pig or cow’s connective tissue, bones, and skin
- Carmine and cochineal, both dye ingredients that come from a bug species
- Additives such as E904, E901, E631, E542, E471, E422, E322, and E120
On top of that, if you want to go vegan, you’ll have to be choosy about the following foods, which can sometimes contain animal byproducts:
- Worchestershire sauce, as some have anchovies in the ingredients list
- Wax-coated vegetables and fruit, as that wax comes from shellac or beeswax
- Dark chocolate with nonfat milk powder, clarified butter, milk solids, milk fat, and whey, which are not vegan-safe ingredients
- Roasted peanuts made with gelatin
- Refined sugar, as it uses bone char from cattle
- Potato chips that are cheese-flavored or have enzymes from animals, whey, or casein as ingredients
- Non-dairy creamer, which has casein in it
- Baked beans with ham or lard used in the cooking process
- Pesto made with Parmesan cheese
- Deep-fried foods, as eggs may be used to make the batter
- Olive tapenade, which typically includes anchovies
- French fries, which may be fried in animal fat
- Candy and desserts that contain gelatin
- Caesar salad dressing if it has anchovy paste
- Alcohol with casein, gelatin, or egg white albumen as ingredients
Do Vegans Ever Eat Pasta?
Okay, so now that you know what vegans don’t eat, let’s get into what’s safe to consume, or at least what could be safe to have as a vegan, beginning with pasta.
If you’re a pasta lover, then you might be a bit depressed about the thought of giving up pasta when you switch to a vegan diet. Do vegans really not eat pasta?
Like we said in the intro, most pasta is perfectly safe for vegans to enjoy. From rotini to spaghetti and many pasta types in between, the regular store-bought pasta shouldn’t contain any ingredients on the list in the section above.
What’s in pasta, anyway? The ingredients list is surprisingly short, usually only water and a wheat source. Wheat flour, also labeled as just flour, is one such source of wheat. Other manufacturers use durum wheat. Do keep in mind that neither durum wheat nor wheat flour is gluten-free. If you can’t eat gluten as part of your vegan diet, you might want to skip the pasta altogether or buy plant-based vegan pasta.
The only type of pasta vegans shouldn’t consume is that what’s labeled as fresh pasta. This name might sound like an indication of the pasta’s freshness, while really it’s referring to is pasta that has eggs in it. Since eggs are not allowable for vegans to eat, fresh pasta is off the menu.
What if you’re shopping around at a specialty market and you find a product called vegan fresh pasta? Is this okay? It can be, but we do caution you to read the ingredients label carefully before tossing the pasta into your shopping cart.
Are there any pasta brands you shouldn’t shop from as a vegan? If the company sells fresh pasta, then skip that. Otherwise, any favorite pasta brand you have should be okay to eat, including Barilla and Ronzoni.
Do Vegans Eat Bread?
Great pasta dishes are never complete without a side of bread. Can vegans enjoy a crusty loaf while they twirl a plate of spaghetti or another type of pasta?
It all depends on what’s in the bread. If you make your own bread from scratch and use only salt, water, flour, and yeast, then yes, that bread is totally appropriate for vegans. The trouble comes once you get into store-bought territory.
Most grocery stores use eggs, whey, and other sources of dairy to either stabilize the bread or fill in some lacking ingredients. You should not eat this bread as a vegan.
As a reminder, bread is generally not gluten-free, even the homemade stuff.
Do Vegans Eat Rice?
Perhaps you’d like to incorporate rice into your vegan diet. It makes a great side dish with many vegan meals, but is it something you can continue to eat?
Rice is considered a cereal grain that’s sourced from grass species like the Oryza sativa and Oryza glaberrima. You have all sorts of rice options, including white, arborio, brown, black, wild, jasmine, and basmati rice. Here’s an overview of what’s in each type of rice and whether it’s allowable for vegans to eat.
Rice is simply a grass seed, and to make white rice, that seed’s germ, bran, and husk all get detached during the production and milling process. This gives white rice a surprisingly long shelf life and a flavor unlike other types of rice. Also, producing white rice like this contributes to its trademark white color.
Vegans eat white rice all the time, so this is one food staple you don’t have to quit, fortunately! Between that and being able to eat pasta, going vegan isn’t so bad.
Arborio rice comes from a region in Italy in which it’s named after. This type of rice has shorter grains and contains lots of amylopectin starch. You use arborio rice for making the Italian dish risotto, as the rice can get very rich and creamy when cooked. If you want to eat risotto as a vegan, we’d suggest foregoing the butter, oil, and cheese. Otherwise, arborio rice is a-okay.
The whole grains in brown rice give it a great nutritional profile. This type of rice contains manganese, vitamin B6, fiber, niacin, thiamine, selenium, phosphorous, and magnesium. Consuming brown rice is a great way for vegans to incorporate these vitamins, minerals, and nutrients into their diet. If you’re thinking of going vegan, you should eat brown rice too!
The distinct look of black rice is due to its high concentrations of anthocyanin, the pigment that gives the rice its color. It has a similar nutritional profile to brown rice, and black rice boasts lots of fiber. It too should be safe for you to cook up and eat as a vegan.
Don’t be surprised if your black rice takes on a purple-ish upon being cooked, as this is just what happens.
Wild rice comes from Zizania grasses, up to four species. It contains very high quantities of manganese, zinc, phosphorus, magnesium, folate, vitamin B6, niacin, potassium, iron, riboflavin, and thiamin. That makes wild rice among the healthiest types of rice.
That goes for vegans too, especially if you’re on a gluten-free diet. Wild rice has no gluten, so eat up!
Jasmine rice comes from south Vietnam, Laos, Cambodia, and Thailand. Although it looks a lot like white rice, it cooks up softer and gentler, not to mention it has an appealing fragrance and a sweet taste. It too is vegan and might help you ward off those sugar cravings.
The last type of rice we want to discuss is basmati rice. This comes in either white or brown varieties; the former occurs in production once the rice’s germ and bran are taken out. The longer grains of basmati rice are one of its trademarks. It too is safe for you to make as a vegan.
3 Great Vegan Pasta Recipes
To wrap up, we thought we’d share a couple of pasta recipes you can eat as a vegan. Some are plant-based, others not, but all are a great way to gain a new appreciation for vegan pasta.
Zucchini Noodles Recipe
“Zoodles” or zucchini noodles have caught on in a big way with vegans and non-vegans alike. This plant-based vegetable pasta is healthier than pasta made from wheat, but it still tastes like the real deal.
To make vegan zucchini pasta, you’ll need at least four medium-sized zucchinis, or the equivalent of two pounds of the vegetable. Having a spiralizer will make it easy for you to cut the zucchini into that zoodle presentation this dish is so beloved for.
Cherry Tomato Pasta Salad
Use standard vegan pasta and some tasty veggies to prep this filling dinner. You also need pepper, salt, vegan-safe olive oil, garlic, and basil.
Start by cooking your vegan pasta. Then, take your cherry tomatoes, as many as you wish, and cut them into thin slices. When your vegan pasta is done cooking, strain it. In a separate bowl, add your pepper, salt, basil, vegan olive oil, and minced garlic. Pour the pasta in, letting it incorporate with the ingredients. Then plate and serve. It’s that easy!
Italian Marinara Spaghetti
Here’s another easy vegan pasta dish to whip up. Grab some salt, dried oregano, vegan olive oil, garlic, canned tomatoes, and vegan pasta.
In a pan, fry your garlic in your vegan olive oil. You may wish to add some chili flakes and diced onion for extra spice and flavor. Let the ingredients cook over the next five minutes.
Next, add a pinch of oregano and a can of tomatoes, stirring. Cook your vegan pasta in a separate pot. When it’s ready, strain your marinara sauce and cover your vegan pasta in it. You can also add some vegan olive oil and more oregano if you wish. This is one dish sure to impress all your vegan friends and family.
Vegans must omit animal products and byproducts from their diet, including meat, poultry, dairy, honey, fish, seafood, and eggs. Pasta is not on that list though, unless it’s fresh pasta. You’re free to sample nearly any pasta brand you want as a vegan and make your own vegan pasta dishes at home.
If you’re going vegan, you can also enjoy homecooked bread and any variety of rice that you most prefer. Best of luck with your vegan diet!