In the nutrition world, new products pop up frequently. While giving a grocery store tour recently, someone pointed out Banza pasta. I hadn’t ever heard of it or seen it before (go figure – turns out my two most frequented grocery stores don’t carry it!). I was intrigued and thought write a product review on Banza pasta for you!
What’s the Story?
Banza pasta is made primarily from chickpeas (90%), while tapioca flour (grain-free flour made from cassava root which can also act as a thickener), xanthan gum (in this case a derivative of corn, acts as an emulsifier and a binder) and pea protein are used to bind the chickpea flour together. The chickpeas make it higher in fiber, higher in protein and lower in net carbs than conventional (and even whole grain) noodles. They’re gluten-free and processed in a nut, gluten, soy and egg-free facility.Find out what a #dietitian thinks of @EatBanza in this #productreview! Click To Tweet
What Kinds Do They Have?
Banza has these regular, plain noodle varieties: penne, rotini, spaghetti, elbows and shells, plus four mac ‘n cheese varieties.
How Does It Compare Nutritionally to Whole Wheat Noodles?
I compared Banza Penne noodles to my current whole wheat penne pasta and here’s what I found:
- It has twice as much fiber (8 g) per serving as a whole wheat noodle (4 g).
- It’s about the same in terms of calories (190 calories vs. 200 calories)
- It has twice as much protein (14 g vs. 7 g)
- It’s higher in sugar (5 g vs. 2 g)
- It’s higher in fat (3.5 g vs. 1.5 g)
- It’s higher in sodium (60 mg vs. 0 mg)
That being said, the significant increases in fiber and protein probably outweigh the relatively minor increases in sugar, fat and sodium.@EatBanza is a good high #protein, high #fiber noodle option, especially for #GF and #foodallergies. Click To Tweet
How Does the Flavor Compare?
I made my Banza pasta into a take on baked ziti (i.e. what you keep seeing pictures of!). In my ziti I used ground turkey, Banza pasta, diced mushrooms, diced tomatoes (which are in season right now – see what else is in season for the summer here), low-fat cottage cheese mixed with mozzarella and Parmesan.
I thought the flavor was good when used in the dish! However, when I ate the noodles plain, I didn’t love the flavor. So, I probably wouldn’t use warm Banza noodles to top off a salad like I’ve done before with my whole wheat noodles, but I’d use them in any other mixed dish, which quite frankly is usually how you use noodles.
How’s the Texture?
The texture is pretty good. They’re a bit chewier than a conventional noodle, but not anything super significant. Meaning, my husband didn’t notice anything, hah! The noodles stick together a little more easily after they’re drained than regular noodles, so keep that in mind. I would suggest rinsing them right away after straining. Overall, I liked the texture.
Final Verdict – Should You Buy Banza Pasta?
It’s up to you! If you already have another protein source at your meal and other significant sources of fiber (e.g. using a whole grain noodle, serving multiple non-starchy vegetables and fruit) then I wouldn’t say it’s totally necessary. However, if you don’t have another protein source and aren’t serving other high-fiber foods then it can definitely be a good way to fill in those nutritional gaps. It’s also a great option for someone who requires a gluten-free diet or for those with multiple food allergies. I could also see using it for a great, Meatless Monday dish. I usually try to limit more highly processed foods, so I might suggest using the mac ‘n cheese varieties less frequently. Otherwise, yes I would say Banza noodles are a nice, healthful pantry option!
At the end of the day, good nutrition can be served up a lot of different ways – literally! Find what works best for you and your family. In my house, I think we’ll add Banza noodles to our noodle rotation, but I don’t particularly plan to replace all my current pastas with it. I find that variety is important – both nutritionally and to keep flavors and textures interesting. Remember, if you don’t enjoy healthful eating it won’t last for long!
I hope you’ve found this honest, product review helpful. Let me know if you try it and what you think! Are there other products you’d like a review on?
Disclosures: None. All opinions are genuine and my own. This post was not created in partnership with any product or brand.