Noodles are one of many products that one might be surprised to find do not necessarily fit a vegan lifestyle. Vegans do not eat any animal products, including meat, eggs, or any form of dairy, and some packaged noodles in the pasta aisle at a grocery store do contain eggs. There are many alternatives that qualify as vegan noodles, including homemade noodles and pre-packaged products that are specifically designed with vegans in mind or that are made solely from wheat or flour.
Many forms of pasta sold at supermarkets do not contain eggs or other animal products, making them suitable for vegans. The packaging on these vegan noodles will sometimes disclose that they are made in a factory that uses eggs in other products or that the noodles have come in contact with egg residue during some stage of the preparation process. Vegans can decide if this meets their nutritional criteria or not, depending upon how strictly they have eliminated animal products from their diet. Whole wheat pasta is most likely to be free of eggs.
When it comes to other kinds of non-Italian pasta, the noodles vary between vegan and non-vegan. Most forms of Ramen noodles contain animal products, but some basic-flavor varieties do not. Labels should be read carefully to make sure that only vegan noodles are being purchased. As some noodles contain egg and others do not, eating at restaurants can be trickier. Ask about the use of animal products in noodles or avoid ordering noodles altogether if other choices are appetizing and obviously vegan.
Making pasta at home is a guaranteed way to ensure that one is preparing vegan noodles. There are numerous ways to prepare them, including using flour, semolina flour, and olive oil or water in place of eggs as a binding agent. Semolina flour simply uses a different, texturized part of the wheat and is used in addition to or in place of regular flour in many dishes. Once prepared, homemade vegan noodles can be boiled and served like regular pasta.
Preparing vegan noodles at home can be time-consuming. The dough for the noodles must be kneaded and then formed into pasta, most often using a pasta maker for thin, spaghetti-like noodles. In lieu of a pasta maker, the dough can be rolled thin and flat and then cut into fettuccini-type pieces. The vegan noodles must then be dried for up to 30 minutes before they can be cooked so that they retain their shape.