Answer: No. Traditionally, it is not considered vegan because of butter and honey.
SpaghettiOs are not fit for vegan consumption at all. They not only contain milk and dairy products, but some of their variants also include animal meat. SpaghettiOs are famous for their ease of use, convenience, and mild but distinct flavor. SpaghettiOs made it easier to have the delicious sweet and tangy sauced pasta without the hassle of long prep time.
What’s more, they let you have a good pasta meal without any mess, especially if kids are involved. They come in standard tins and cans and can quickly be made by warming it up in the microwave or a pan.
That said, even with all their pros, SpaghettiOs are not vegan. All cans of SpaghettiOs contain milk products or meat. The smooth and cheesy taste comes from dairy products, and their cheese itself contains animal-derived rennet.
Aside from the classic version, the meatballs and other varieties also include animal meat, specifically pork, chicken, and beef.
What Are SpaghettiOs?
SpaghettiOs are canned hoop-shaped pasta in tomato sauce. The Os in their name is a relatively clear indication of the pasta’s shape in the can. The reason for its widespread popularity is its incredible affordability and easy-to-make instructions.
Donald Goerke, in 1965, came up with the SpaghettiOs when he faced the challenge of coming up with a pasta dish that could be easy for kids to eat. Not only easy by mess-free, and since the SpaghettiOs come in small circular shapes that you can easily scoop in a spoon, they were an instant success.
SpaghtettiOs come in several added varieties from the classic. That includes meatballs and franks SpaghettiOs along with the SpaghettiOs Opringal A-Z.
While many pasta dishes can easily be made vegan, one might assume that SpaghettiOs, too, are vegan-friendly. But sadly, they aren’t and should be avoided.
Till now, there haven’t been any vegan alternatives from Campbell for SpaghettiOs. While the Heinz spaghetti hoops have a vegan version available in the UK, they also have a version that includes vitamin D derived from lanolin. So, there doesn’t seem to be a commercial vegan SpaghettiOs alternative at present. It would be best to stick to homemade versions, which are a great substitute.
What’s In A Can Of SpaghettiOs?
The classic tin of SpaghettiOs can have the small circular-shaped pasta along with a flavored tomato sauce. The pasta shape is nearly identical to the Anellini pasta.
The pasta itself comprises several ingredients that include semolina and durum to keep the pasta al dente and hard. This prevents it from becoming a soggy mess. The pasta also contains nutrients like iron, riboflavin, folic acid, niacin, and vitamin B1.
The tomato puree comes from farm-grown tomatoes. The cheese sauce that is mixed in is processed using enzymes. This is to increase its flavor, but it makes the cheese entirely unsuitable for vegans. The rennet used in the cheese to make it stiff is also taken from animals, which again makes it a big no-no for vegans.
The other varieties of SpaghettiOs, like the frank SpaghettiOs and the meatballs SpaghettiOs, contain meat products in them. This source of protein is taken from animals and makes it even more unfit for vegan consumption.
Are SpaghettiOs Vegan? Why Not?
As established earlier, SpaghettiOs are not vegan. They have several dairy and animal-derived ingredients peppered throughout the recipe. Their classic version, which may seem harmless and possibly vegan, isn’t.
SpaghettiOs also contain high fructose corn syrup, vegetable oils like canola oil, paprika, and onion extracts. There are also additional flavorings added to give them that classic pasta in tomato sauce taste. Some varieties even include meat.
SpaghettiOs may be a quick and straightforward fix for spaghetti and pasta cravings, but they’re very easy to make at home. And even better, you can customize it with your favorite seasonings and herbs and take your SpaghettiOs one step further.
Ingredients That Make SpaghettiOs Unfit For Vegans
By now, you understand why SpaghettiOs are not vegan friendly. The ingredients and the process both take it far from being a vegan choice. Here are the ingredients to help you understand why SpaghettiOs are unfit for vegan consumption.
Rennet is commonly obtained from the stomach of the animals. Since these animals are slaughtered for the rennet to be obtained, it is a very unethical product for most vegetarians and vegans.
SpaghettiOs contain rennet, which is used to thicken the milk and give their cheese creamy and cheesy flavor. Since coagulation cannot happen with the enzymes or some other ingredient, rennet is often used in the cheese-making process.
There are other options available besides rennet, but commercially, rennet is often preferred over other ingredients when making cheese.
With the meatballs and the franks added to the varieties of the SpaghettiOs, they are rendered unsuitable for vegans. Even though the classic version of the SpaghettiOs does not contain any meat products, it still has dairy products. So all the varieties of SpaghettiOs are a definite no-go.
Are SpaghettiOs Healthy?
So, SpaghettiOs is not vegan, but is it healthy? Like any convenience food, SpaghettiOs contain more unhealthy elements than healthy ingredients. Sure, a lot of it is plant-based, and it even includes animal protein. Still, there’s no guarantee all that is taken from organic and healthy sources.
SpaghettiOs contain wheat and dairy products, so they are not safe for gluten and lactose-intolerant people. It also contains high amounts of sugar and sodium, which are both unhealthy in large amounts. It’s a cheap and convenient alternative to pasta in sauce, so there is not much to expect regarding health benefits.
But they’re popular as comfort food and, like all comfort foods, should only be eaten occasionally. Too much of anything can be unhealthy, vegan or not.
Vegan Alternatives To SpaghettiOs
Since SpaghettiOs themselves aren’t vegan, it is always possible to look for some alternatives. Sadly, there aren’t many available. Nothing that completely substitutes SpaghettiOs in flavor and convenience, anyway.
There are, however, options like Amy’s Organic Alphabet soup that contains 100% vegan, lactose-free plant-based ingredients. Sure, the shape is not the same, but the alphabets shaped pasta is also a fun choice. The sweet tomato soup is flavorful, and the best part is that it is entirely vegan.
Another choice is Heinz’s spaghetti hoops, but they aren’t available in the US. Besides, only one version of their spaghetti hoops is vegan. The other one contains vitamin D taken from lanolin. Lanolin is often derived from sheep wool and is not considered a vegan ingredient.
Since commercial SpaghettiOs alternatives are sparse, the best option would be to indulge in some comfortable home cooking.
Make Your Own SpaghettiOs
SpaghettiOs can easily be substituted with a few ingredients. The tomato puree and sauce of your choice, which you can season and alter based on your taste, should complement your homemade pasta well.
It is ideal for making it at home since you can control what ingredients will go into the recipe, and you can make it completely vegan. To get that creamy and cheesy taste, you could use vegan milk options and satisfy your cravings.
The majority of the pasta available in the market is primarily vegan. You can follow a basic recipe to make your SpaghettiOs or fine-tune it according to your taste. You can even add plant-based meatballs and other vegetables to make it even healthier. Either way, you will get a vastly better version of SpaghettiOs than the one in the tin cans.
A lot of times, going vegan means saying goodbye to previous top picks of snacks. But that is not a bad thing since there are almost always healthier and better alternatives available. SpaghettiOs might not be vegan and not fit for your consumption. However, you can enjoy homemade alternatives which are indeed healthier.