Gluten-Free Product Review: Banza Pasta

Banza Chickpea Pasta, Gluten-Free Rotini

As you know, I’m not huge on most gluten-free speciality items. They tend to be overpriced, and, often, just not that good. I do make exceptions for pasta as it can’t be beat for fast weeknight meals. And gluten-free pastas tend to be reasonably priced and reliable.

Okay, that final statement was a bit of lie. You have to buy quality gluten-free pasta. I cannot count the number of times I’ve had cheap pastas — often made from rice (white or brown) — go from not-quite-there to well-it’s-time-to-fall-apart in a blink of an eye. Bad gluten-free pastas give the whole genre a bad name.

I’ve had better luck with corn- and legume-based GF pastas, and, given my adoration of chickpeas, it was a no-brainer to try Banza pastas when I discovered them. Though they are pricier than other brands, I think the quality makes them worth the investment.

(I will note that my household tends to treat pasta as a side dish rather than main course, so a little goes a long way for us.)

Banza doesn’t have what I can only describe as a “beany” flavor. If you’ve tasted it in other pastas, you know what I mean. I like the flavor of Banza very much, and it hasn’t overpowered the three sauces I’ve tried so far: tomato, pesto, and olive oil with garlic. I count that as a huge win! The biggest test will be macaroni and cheese — I’ll update this post after I make a big batch for my book club.

Banza also holds its shape, even if I overcook it a bit. This is a huge bonus! Unlike my experiments with some other pastas, I’ve been successful with cooking, draining, and then reheating Banza pastas in sauce. No little pasta pieces instead of whole pasta pieces. It also reheats very nicely.

Shapes? Well, as far as I can tell, Banza doesn’t make a spaghetti or linguini shaped pasta. They do have shells, penne, elbow, and rotini styles. The lack of a long, thin pasta is a bit odd, but not earth-shattering for me.

Since this pasta is made from chickpeas (or garbanzo beans, if you prefer), it’s high in protein and fits very well in my husband’s low glycemic/low carb diet. The fiber from the chickpeas is also a bonus.

I’m happy with Banza pastas, and they definitely have a place in my kitchen! Have you tried them?

Tip of the Week

When I’m on my game, I remove my pasta from the cooking water, reserving about a cup in case I need to loosen the sauce, about a minute before it’s fully cooked. I then toss the pasta into a pan with the sauce, heat through, making sure the pasta is fully cooked, and season.

Gluten-Free Meal of the Week

I love making macaroni and cheese — it’s a great party food, especially if you’re feeding a mix of young and old. Most gluten-free pastas are cheese sauce sponges, so I go heavier on the sauce, and find baked mac and cheese dishes come out a bit more like a casserole.

A really good casserole. Just saying.

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