Your Pasta Might Not Be Vegan If It Has This One Ingredient

Vegans sometimes have fairly limited options when dining out, despite over 9.5 million Americans labeling themselves as such (via Vegan News). One saving grace for vegans on many menus is pasta. Most chefs can prepare a vegan version of any pasta dish on an existing menu if requested via a server or manager, allowing many vegans to feel fairly confident when ordering the food and not fear an accidental encounter with animal products. However, not all pastas are created equal.

According to Health Digest, there are unfortunately many everyday foods that are mistaken for being vegan-friendly, when they, in fact, often contain some form of animal products — pasta is one such food. The mystery non-vegan ingredient that can appear in pasta? Eggs. While the large majority of dry pasta is perfectly fine for vegans, if you're dining in a restaurant that makes its pasta fresh, the chef may be using eggs as a binder in their recipe. The best way to know for sure that the pasta is vegan to ask directly before blindly ordering.

Why eggs are used in pasta and how to best avoid them

If you're concerned about eggs in your pasta, the biggest thing to look out for is if the pasta is fresh or dried. Traditionally, fresh pasta is made by combining flour, salt, eggs, and water; and is usually mixed and cooked right away, not stored on a shelf like dry pasta. Dry pasta, on the other hand, is made from a combination of flour and semolina, and normally uses no eggs in its production (via Veganliftz).

To avoid eggs in your pasta, start by asking your server if the restaurant serves fresh or dried pasta. If it's dried, you're pretty safe in assuming the pasta is egg-free. Veganliftz advises that a bigger concern may actually be the sauce that accompanies your pasta. Most marinara sauces are vegan friendly, according to Vegan Foundry, but if you're venturing outside the confines of marinara's tomato, onion, basil, and garlic combo, you'll want to inquire about cheese, cream, meat broths, or any other animal-based ingredients that the sauce may feature.