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I am looking to make pasta at home, but all the classical pasta dough recipes I know of are egg-based. While I have no problem with eating meat and animal products from time to time, I would like to avoid eggs here.

Could somebody guide me to good vegetable-based substitutions to eggs (Oil?) that might work just as well in this context?

I would also like to experiment with adding vegetables to the dough (e.g. Spinach or carrots) - I'm not sure whether there may be additional issues with the dough's stability when not using eggs.

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6 Answers 6

up vote 7 down vote accepted

Here is a complete flax seed pasta dough recipe for you (on

It uses the only egg substitute I've used: ground flax seeds and water. I've used it in several breads and cookies, but not pasta. I've found several different ratios online, you so may need to play with them, depending on the flax you use, but basically:

To replace one egg: In a blender, blend 1 Tbsp flax seeds with 3 Tbsp water until thick and creamy.

You want the flax to be freshly ground, and it will add a nutty flavor.

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Sounds great, I've never heard of this! I will try it out and leave feedback. Thanks! – Pekka 웃 Oct 3 '10 at 19:36

I have had great results just leaving the eggs out of the recipe, which seems to be common, see here, for example. Keep in mind that most commercial pasta is just water and flour, so it's not too surprising that you don't need eggs.

That said, I don't doubt that flax meal would be good in the dough also, it's just not necessary in my experience.

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The eggs are not strictly needed for the home made pasta.
It has to be underlined however that the taste, the colour and texture of the food will be different.

About the taste
Nothing to say or to do about it, with eggs and without eggs simply are two different things.

About the texture
I can suggest to try the durum wheat semolina (in original [1,2] the "farina di gran duro rimacinata").
It will give a different sensation when you will eat (different texture); moreover it will facilitate the task to obtain a better coloured pasta.

Around 70 g of semolina and 40 g of water (plus salt of course) per person, meanwhile the proportion for the egg version is of 100g of wheat flour for each egg...

About the colours
There are many choices that will enrich the original flavour, and that almost always have to be related with the sauce you intend to use with.

  • red: tomato concentrate, 1 tbsp each 100g of flour. It's a classic, almost neutral. Good with everything.
  • orange: 50g of carrots (boiled and pureed) of 100g of pumpkin for each 100g of flour. Note the result should be sweeten.
  • yellow: saffron (around 0.6g) for 100g. One coffee spoon (a little less then a teaspoon) of Curcuma can be used instead. It will mark the taste.
  • green: 10g of boiled spinach, (or of basil leaves) for 100g of flour. But even lettuce [3] or broccoli. Another classic, almost neutral.
  • blue It's possible to try to boil the Red cabbage for some minutes and to add one teaspoon of sodium bicarbonate to make it blue: it's used for cakes [3], you can try with pasta too.
    Two spoons of liqueur similar to the blue Curaçao is a quick solution, but the blue comes from a food colouring (usually E133).
    Nice the match with white sauces as the ones based on cooking cream, bechamel or mild cheeses.
  • violet to pink: beet, 30g for 100g of flour for the violet, less for a colour more close to pink. Again nice the coupling with white sauces.
  • black: squid ink. It gives a dark black colour. I report since it is another classic and you said to have no problem to eat meat and animal products from time to time... Strictly for fish sauce of course.
  • brown: 1 teaspoon of cocoa (with no sugar!) each 100g of flour. It is suggested with (hunting) game, for the colour and the stronger taste that can cover the cocoa aftertaste.
    Dried Porcini Mushrooms 25g for 100g of flour,rehydrate in hot water [4], strain and blend.
    It will mark the final taste.
    Often in cooking when you mix more colours together it comes out brown: give it a try.

Interesting lectures:

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There are several things you can use for substitution.

  • yoghurt - 2 tbsp yoghurt for one egg
  • tofu - cut it, use 2 tbsp per egg, blend it well [I assume this means you have to make the dough in the food processor - ed.]
  • vegetable oil
  • buttermilk
  • pure water
  • gelatine. Dissolve 1/2 tbsp gelatine in 2 tbsp water and put in the dough.
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I edited these suggestions, preserving the author's original meaning, but I must say that I don't agree with most of them. Oil or yoghurt will produce a very different noodle from an egg noodle. But I am curious what would happen if you use gelatine. – rumtscho Apr 29 '12 at 18:44

Here in China, I have had gorgeous little ravioli -called jiaozi (jyow dzuh)- that are just a flour-and-water dough. One great variation is to add spinach or carrot juice for color. Advantage is knowing what lurks inside by the color-code!

Eggy rubbery fettucine is hard to replicate; perhaps softer flour? For anything else that can be a bit bite-ier: good 00, basta.

If mocha color belongs on your palate, a small amount of buckwheat flour makes a tender springy noodle. Look up Northern Italian recipes for this.

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Not all fresh pasta has to have eggs, for instance, orrechiette, pici or umbricelli are made with durum wheat flour and water alone.

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