Here’s Every Vegan Option at Noodles & Company (2020)

Noodles & Company is one of the better chain restaurants for vegans. They have a wide range of vegan pasta dishes (especially if you customize them).

Vegan options at Noodles & Company:

  • Baguette
  • Tossed Green Side Salad
  • Japanese Pan Noodles with Tofu
  • Penne Rosa (Without Dairy)
  • Spaghetti (Without Meatballs & Cheese)
  • Lo Mein (Without Chicken)
  • Spicy Korean Noodles (Without Beef)
  • Zucchini Rosa (Without Chicken & Dairy)
  • Cauliflower Rigatoni Fresca (Without Shrimp & Cheese)
  • The Med Salad (Customized)
  • Veracruz Salad (Customized)
  • Applesauce
  • Build Your Own Vegan Pasta
  • Beverages

Below, I’ll share how to order all these items vegan. I’ll also share which menu items are surprisingly NOT vegan! Then I’ll end with a whole-food plant-based (WFPB) menu—for vegans who want to avoid processed foods, too.

Noodles & Company Vegan Menu

This vegan menu was compiled with the help of the Noodles & Company website. I was honestly impressed by how much they share about their ingredients and allergens.

You can actually ask for a vegan menu in person at Noodles and Company. They’ll give you a sheet that shows all the allergens and veggie options.

That said, they could still have more dishes that are designed to be vegan from the start. Right now, most of their dishes require modification to make them vegan.

Menu items may change or vary by location. I suggest double-checking everything with staff at your local Noodles and Co.

1. Baguette

Gotta love when pasta restaurants offer vegan bread! Here it’s not free (like at some Italian restaurants)… but you can order a baguette as a side. And it’s vegan—no milk or eggs involved!

2. Tossed Green Side Salad

This is just their basic side salad, and it comes vegan. You get romaine/spring lettuce with roma tomatoes, cucumber, and the Balsamic Vinaigrette dressing.

See below for the actual salad entrees. None of those come entirely vegan in their standard preparation—but you can custom order them.

3. Japanese Pan Noodles with Tofu

This dish comes vegan in the standard preparation, too. It has udon noodles in sweet soy sauce, plus seasoned tofu, broccoli, mushrooms, carrots, and black sesame seeds. It’s topped with cilantro.

4. Penne Rosa (Without Dairy)

This is a simple pasta and veggies dish. To get it vegan, just order it:

  • Without light cream
  • Without parmesan cheese

You’ll be left with wheat penne noodles, spicy tomato sauce, white mushrooms, roma tomato, and spinach.

5. Spaghetti (Without Meatballs & Cheese)

This is listed on the menu as “Spaghetti & Meatballs,” but it’s easy to order it without the meatballs. The only other ingredient you need to ask to remove is the parmesan cheese.

If you get it without those ingredients, you’re left with a simple meal of spaghetti noodles and crushed tomato marinara sauce.

6. Lo Mein (Without Chicken)

This is on the menu as “Grilled Orange Chicken Lo Mein.” But if you just ask to get it without chicken, it’s fully vegan.

You get lo mein noodles, snap peas, cabbage (napa and red), green onions, and black sesame seeds in orange sauce—topped with cilantro.

7. Spicy Korean Noodles (Without Beef)

This is on the menu as “Spicy Korean Beef Noodles.” All you need to do to make it vegan is ask them to exclude the Marinated Steak.

You get lo mein noodles with cabbage blend (napa and red), spinach, cucumber, green onions, and cilantro with a Korean BBQ sauce, which is both sweet and spicy.

8. Zucchini Rosa (Without Chicken & Dairy)

This is one of Noodles & Company’s “paleo-friendly” dishes with zucchini noodles (zoodles). But you can make it vegan-friendly, too, with customizations. You need to ask for it:

  • Without grilled chicken
  • Without light cream
  • Without parmesan cheese

What you have left is zucchini noodles, spicy tomato sauce, mushrooms, tomato, and spinach.

9. Cauliflower Rigatoni Fresca (Without Shrimp & Cheese)

This dish features “cauliflower-infused rigatoni” for a healthier option than wheat noodles. To make it vegan, order it:

  • Without shrimp
  • Without parmesan cheese

You’ll be left with the cauliflower rigatoni, red onions, tomato, spinach, and roasted garlic in a fresca sauce, which seems to be a combination of balsamic vinaigrette and olive oil.

10. The Med Salad (Customized)

This is a Mediterranean salad that you can customize to be vegan. You’ll need to order it:

  • Without the Mediterranean spicy yogurt dressing
  • Without grilled chicken
  • Without feta cheese

For the dressing, you could potentially get the Balsamic Vinaigrette Dressing. That’s likely the only vegan option they will have.

What you have left is romaine lettuce, mixed greens, tomato, Kalamata olives, cucumber, red onion, and cavatappi pasta.

11. Veracruz Salad (Customized)

This is on the menu as “Chicken Veracuz Salad,” but you can get it without the chicken and other animal products. You’ll want to order it:

  • Without grilled chicken
  • Without bacon
  • Without any dressing

As mentioned above, you can potentially get the Balsamic Vinaigrette Dressing. It may be the only vegan option.

What you have left is mixed greens, red onion, tomato, corn, crispy jalapeno peppers, avocado, and cilantro.

12. Applesauce

You should be able to get applesauce as a side at most Noodles & Company locations. Looks like it doesn’t have added sugar or corn syrup, either—just apples.

13. Beverages

There are a bunch of vegan drinks to choose from:

  • Bottled Honest Tea – Half & Half
  • IZZE (Blackberry, Grapefuit, Clementine)
  • Spindrift Seltzer (Orange Mango, Blackberry, Raspberry Lime)
  • Smartwater
  • Coke de Mexico
  • Dasani Bottled Water
  • Honest Kids Organic Apple Juice
  • Honest Kids Organic Fruit Punch

Build Your Own Vegan Pasta

There are thousands of potential vegan meals you could have at Noodles & Company. This is because they basically let you substitute in (or out) any ingredients you want.

So let’s look at what your vegan options are for each type of ingredient overall. Then you can substitute these in/out of the above dishes as you please.

Vegan Noodles:

  • Spaghetti Noodle
  • Rice Noodle
  • Lo Mein Noodle
  • Penne Noodle
  • Cavatappi Noodle
  • Elbow Noodle
  • Cauliflower Rigatoni Noodle
  • Udon Noodle
  • Zucchini Noodle
  • Animal Pasta Shapes
  • Gluten-Free Pipette Noodle

Vegan Sauces:

  • Penne Rosa Sauce
  • Korean BBQ Sauce
  • Orange Sauce
  • Fresca Sauce
  • Japanese Pan Sauce
  • Marinara Sauce

Vegan Protein:

  • Seasoned Tofu

Veggies:

  • White Mushrooms
  • Roasted Mushrooms
  • Spinach
  • Cabbage Blend (Napa and Red)
  • Diced Cucumber
  • Julienned Cucumber
  • Snap Peas
  • Roma Tomatoes
  • Broccoli
  • Carrots
  • Kalamata Olives
  • Red Onion
  • Roasted Zucchini
  • Sweet Corn
  • Crispy Jalapenos
  • Avocado
  • Green Onion

Vegan Toppings, Seasonings, and Extras:

  • Red Pepper Flakes
  • Fresh Cracked Black Pepper
  • Asian Seasoning
  • Italian Seasoning
  • Smolder From Boulder
  • Black Sesame Seeds
  • Cilantro
  • Buffalo Sauce
  • Barbeque Sauce
  • Sriracha Sauce
  • Soy Sauce
  • Spicy Peanut Sauce
  • Granulated Peanuts
  • Oyster Crackers

But What About…

Here are some of the menu items at Noodles & Co that you might hope would be vegan—but they’re not:

  • The Paid Thai Sauce is not vegan, as it contains fish sauce.
  • The Breadcrumbs topping is not vegan, as it contains milk.
  • The Potstickers are not vegan, as they contain chicken.

Now let’s answer some common questions about the vegan options at Noodles & Co.

Is Noodles and Company Pesto Vegan?

Noodles and Company pesto is not vegan, as it contains parmesan cheese. Here are the full ingredients of the Basil Pesto Sauce:

INGREDIENTS: “Basil, Canola Oil, Water, Parmesan Cheese (Pasteurized Part-Skim Cows’ Milk, Cheese Culture, Salt, Enzymes) Salt, Granulated Garlic, Spices.”

Is Noodles and Company Tomato Basil Bisque Vegan?

Noodles and Company Tomato Basil Bisque is not vegan, as it contains heavy whipping cream made from cow’s milk. Here is the full ingredients list for the Tomato Basil Bisque:

INGREDIENTS: “Water, Heavy Whipping Cream (Heavy Cream, Grade A nonfat Milk Powder, Carrageenan), Tomato Paste (Tomatoes), Ground Tomatoes in Puree (Tomatoes, Citric Acid), Onion, Diced Tomatoes in Juice (Diced Tomatoes, Tomato Juice, Naturally Derived Citric Acid, and Calcium Chloride), Natural Vegetable Base (Vegetables and Concentrated Vegetables [Carrots, Celery, Onion, Tomato], Yeast Extract, Salt, Sugar, Maltodextrin [from corn], Dried Onion, Dried Potato, Dried Garlic, Natural Flavor), Sugar, Soybean Oil, Garlic, Seasoning Blend (Salt, Spices, Dehydrated Garlic, Lavender), Sherry Wine, Basil, Extra Virgin Olive Oil, Salt, Annatto Extract (Propylene Glycol, Water, Polysorbate 80, Annatto [color] Potassium Hydroxide) and Parsley.”

Is Noodles and Company Spicy Peanut Sauce Vegan?

Noodles and Company Spicy Peanut Sauce is confirmed vegan. It contains an ingredient called “Wow Butter,” but this is made from soy and palm oil, NOT real butter or dairy. (source) There are no other suspicious ingredients.

Here are the full ingredients for the Spicy Peanut Sauce:

INGREDIENTS: “Wow Butter (Whole Toasted Soy, Pressed Soy Oil, Cane Sugar, Palm Oil [Sustainable], Sea Salt), Sweet Cooking Rice Wine (Glucose Syrup, Water, Alcohol, Rice, Corn Syrup, Salt), Rice Vinegar Dressing (Rice Vinegar, Water, Sugar, Salt), Sweet Chile Sauce (Sugar, Water, Pickled Red Chilli, Vinegar, Garlic, Salt, Stabilizer: Xanthan Gum), Garlic, Molasses, Soy Sauce (Water, Salt, Sugar, Soybeans, Wheat, Molasses), Apple Juice (Filtered Water and Apple Juice From Concentrate), Lemon Juice (Water, Lemon Juice Concentrate and Lemon oil), Sriracha (Red Peppers, Distilled Vinegar, Water, Sugar, Salt, Garlic, Contains 2% or Less of the Following: Natural Flavor, Maltodextrin, Xanthan Gum, and Citric Acid), Ginger, Water, Salt, Modified Food Starch, Hoisin Blend (Sugar, Soy Sauce [{Wheat, Soybeans, Salt}, Maltodextrin, and Salt], Rice Vinegar Powder [Maltodextrin {Identity Preserved}, Rice Vinegar], Dehydrated Garlic, Chili Pepper, and Spices [Ginger, Black Pepper]), and Seasoning Blend (Salt, Yeast Extract, Dehydrated Vegetables [Mushroom, Garlic, Onion, Tomato], Maltodextrin, and Spice).”

Is the Tofu at Noodles and Company Vegan?

The tofu at Noodles and Company is confirmed vegan, as it contains no dairy, egg, honey, or any other animal products.

Here is the full ingredient list for the Seasoned Tofu:

INGREDIENTS: “ORGANIC TOFU (Water, Organic Soybean [Non-GMO], Calcium Sulfate, Calcium Chloride), Water, JAPANESE PAN SAUCE (Water, Soy Sauce [Water, Salt, Sugar, Soybeans, Wheat, Molasses], Molasses, Rice Vinegar Dressing [Rice Vinegar, Water, Sugar, Salt], Lemon Juice [Water, Lemon Juice Concentrate and Lemon Oil], Sesame Oil, Sriracha [Chile, Distilled Vinegar, Water, Sugar, Salt, Garlic, Natural Flavor, Maltodextrin, Xanthan Gum and Citric Acid], Ginger, Natural Vegetable Base [Vegetables and Concentrated Vegetables {Carrot, Celery, Onion, Tomato}, Yeast Extract, Salt, Organic Cane Sugar, Maltodextrin {from corn}, Natural Flavor, Canola Oil, Barley Malt Extract {gluten}, Dried Onion, Dried Potatoes, Dried Garlic], Modified Corn Starch, Garlic and Citric Acid as a preservative), SOYBEAN OIL (Soybean Oil), ASIAN SEASONING (Salt, White Sesame Seed, Dehydrated Garlic, Sugar, Spices [Black Pepper, Ginger], Black Sesame Seed, Paprika [color], Chili Pepper, Dehydrated Onion, Torula Yeast, Extractives of Celery Seed, and Extractives of Black Pepper), VEGETABLE BROTH (Salt, Sugar [Beet], Maltodextrin, Natural Flavors, Onion, Caramel color, Garlic).”

Whole-Food Plant-Based Options

What if you’re not just vegan, but you’re on strictly whole-food plant-based (WFPB) diet? Can you eat a full WFPB meal at Noodles & Company? This means excluding processed sugar, oils, and white flour.

I’d start with the Tossed Green Side Salad. But you’d have to have it without salad dressing. The only vegan dressing here is Balsamic Vinaigrette, and the top ingredient of that is soybean oil—one of the least healthy oils. (source)

Zoodles! Gotta love eating pasta that’s actually veggies! (Picture is not from Noodles & Co.)

Then you could have zoodles (zucchini noodles) with a bunch of vegetables.

If you want a sauce for your zoodles and veggies, there are none that are 100% WFPB.

But if you’re willing to be flexible and you want a pasta sauce, I’d go with the Penna Rosa Sauce or the Marinara Sauce. They both have canola oil and olive oil—but they’re further down the ingredients list, and there’s no added sugar.

Other sauces have sugar or soybean oil as top ingredients. Also note: The Cauliflower Rigatoni is not totally WFPB—it contains white flour and soybean oil along with the actual cauliflower.

Oh, most people would count the applesauce as WFPB, too. It doesn’t have added sugar—just apple puree and apple puree concentrate.

So, overall, this is much better than a lot of other chain restaurants. But there’s room to improve, too!

Noodles & Company’s Animal Welfare Commitments

Noodles & Company has a pretty lengthy animal welfare statement on their website.

As an ethical vegan, I typically see “animal welfare” measures as not nearly enough. Most of the cruelties of dairy farming, for example, are just as bad on organic and “humane” farms.

That said, it’s nice to see that Noodles & Co actually seems to be taking substantive steps to reduce animal cruelty in the food they source. They’ve committed to cage-free eggs, group housing for pigs (no gestation crates), and a bunch of other steps.

So that might be a little bonus for vegans to favor Noodles & Co, at least compared to other chains run by people who seem directly opposed to vegan values—like, for example, Jimmy John’s.

Two More Recommendations for Your Vegan Journey

1. This is the best vegan multivitamin I’ve found in 13 years of being vegan. It has vitamin B12, vitamin D, omega-3—and nothing else. Translation: It only has the nutrients vegans are actually low in. Read my full review of Future Kind’s multivitamin here (with 10% discount).

2. This is the best vegan starter kit I know of. It’s a bundle of 9 beautiful e-books that help you transition to a healthy plant-based diet—the right way. The advice is spot-on, and it has print-outs and checklists that make it easy to implement. Read my full review of Nutriciously here.

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