By Kristen Chandler
Occasionally here at My Kids Food Allergies, we spotlight other blogs in the food allergy community or allergy-friendly products that we love. The latest product to come to our attention is Banza pasta. In this post, you’ll find information about the company and their products as well as what we think about them.
Banza pasta was the idea of Detroit native Brian Rudolph. In 2013, when Brian was only 23 years of age, he set out to create a recipe for better pasta. Brian was neither a chef nor a food scientist, but he was passionate about his food. With the help of his older brother Scott, Brian made his idea into a reality. Banza pasta started out in two grocery stores but can now be found in various stores across the country.
One of the most interesting things about Banza pasta is that it wasn’t necessarily intended to be an allergen-free staple. Rudolph wanted to re-create some of his favorite foods so they were healthier but still tasted great. And he succeeded with Banza pasta.
About the Pasta
To eat healthier, many people are trading white pasta for wheat pasta. However, if you have a wheat allergy or a gluten intolerance, this is not an option. There are other non-wheat pasta options, but finding a good non-wheat pasta that has a similar taste and texture to white or wheat pasta can be tricky. So, what is the “secret ingredient” of Banza pasta? Chickpeas.
Chickpeas have a low glycemic index, are gluten-free and high in protein. They’re good for you, and they taste good too.
Banza currently carries five different pastas (penne, shells, elbows, rotini and spaghetti) as well as four varieties of macaroni and cheese (mac and cheddar, mac and white cheddar, mac and deluxe cheddar, and shells and cheddar).
How does Banza pasta and mac and cheese compare to other brands? Their pasta contains twice as much protein, four times as much fiber and half as many carbs as the average pasta. Banza mac and cheese contains eight times as much protein and fewer carbs than average mac and cheese. In addition, Banza pasta is gluten- and soy-free, non-GMO and vegan. Banza mac and cheese is high in fiber, gluten- and soy-free, and non-GMO.
Our Thoughts on Banza
We received a variety case of the pasta as well as a variety case of the mac and cheese. I was really excited about the pasta because my son has an egg allergy. Finding spaghetti and pasta that he can eat is difficult because most of it either contains egg or has advisory labels (“may contain traces of” or “manufactured on the same equipment as”). He also has a milk allergy, so he couldn’t eat the mac and cheese. However, my daughter, who loves mac and cheese, was more than happy to try it. She’s a very picky eater though, so if she had any idea it was healthy, she probably wouldn’t have gone anywhere near it.
My son loved the pasta. He said it he liked it better than the gluten-free spaghetti I’m currently using. The real surprise, however, was my daughter. She is an extremely picky eater and rarely tries new foods. She is a huge fan of mac and cheese, though, so I convinced her to try Banza. She ate a whole bowl of it and said she wouldn’t mind having it again.
As for me, I thought both the pasta and the mac and cheese were delicious, but chickpeas are already a favorite of mine. The texture was good—it wasn’t gummy or mushy like some of the other alternatives. What impressed me the most about Banza was the nutritional value. I eat moderately healthy, and I also try to keep my children on a healthy diet. This is often difficult, between food allergies in the family and having a picky eater. Banza is high in protein and fiber, which is important with one child being on a limited diet and the other being very choosy in what she eats. With Banza pasta and mac and cheese, we can eat a food that we enjoy, and still eat healthy (and safely) at the same time.
Have you tried any of the Banza products? We would love to hear from you, please leave us a comment below!