I'm probably not alone in saying that I could easily and happily eat pasta three times a day for the rest of my life. In the interest of adding some more nutrients to my diet, I dabbled in low-carb pasta alternatives like zoodles and spaghetti squash only to be left unsatisfied and still craving carbs. But a few years ago while browsing the aisles of Whole Foods, a bright orange box labeled "Pasta Made From Chickpeas" caught my eye.
Admittedly, the idea of eating pasta made from chickpeas sounded less than appealing at first. I figured it would probably get mushy and leave me just as unsatisfied as the other pasta alternatives I'd tried, but I couldn't help but be lured in by the fun shell and alphabet shapes (don't say you wouldn't feel the same way, too).
I am now delighted to say that I was completely wrong. Banza's chickpea pasta ($3, Amazon) is delicious, versatile, and even easy on my wallet. Here's why it's a staple in my pantry:
The texture is great.
As a lifetime carb lover, this tasted more like traditional pasta than any other alternative I've tried (and trust me, I've tried them all from quinoa to cauliflower and black bean-based noodles). Given the fact that this is actually just made of chickpeas, I have no idea how, but this retains the gummy, chewy taste of real pasta. I even got my Italian best friend to start loving this.
You might feel like because you've been cooking pasta your whole life, you can throw out the box as soon as you toss the noodles in some boiling water, but learn from my mistake and don't do that. Make sure to follow the instructions—especially the part about rinsing the pasta with water after straining it. That's the key to making sure this doesn't get mushy, even when you're eating leftovers for days.
It has a short ingredients list.
This isn't one of those gimmicky foods that touts a healthy ingredient, then has just a tiny bit of it on the end of the ingredients list (haven't we all been burned by that?). The first ingredient in this really is just chickpeas. The only other ingredients in this are pea protein, tapioca, and xanthan gum for that chewy flavor that really makes this taste like pasta.
A lot of "healthier" pasta alternatives out there cost about $5 per box, but this is closer to $3. Available in fun shapes like wheels, cavatappi, and casarecce to traditional noodles like spaghetti and penne, the options are endless—though I'm a personal fan of the shells. Plus, this pasta is super filling. One box with sauce and veggies will typically feed me for about five to six meals, so it makes prepping food for the week a total dream.
Banza's chickpea pasta has been a staple of mine throughout the years, and I've gotten almost all of my friends and family hooked, too.
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