I was recently approached by a company called Banza to test their pasta product. The timing was fortuitous, as it coincided with the start of what I call Operation Lower Cholesterol. Other than free product, I have not been compensated for this post. All opinions are of my own, and I happen to love this product! Banza pasta is made from chickpeas, and contains twice the protein, four times the fiber and almost half of the carbohydrates of regular pasta. Chickpeas are naturally gluten-free, low on the glycemic index and low in fat.
One of my goals is to eliminate refined carbohydrates from my diet, which means I should forgo pasta unless it is made from brown rice or some other whole carbohydrate. This makes Banza a wonderful option for me. It cooks in less than 5 minutes, tastes great, and (ultimate litmus test) the kids love it.
You can find Banza on Amazon (of course!) and most stores, like Safeway, Fry’s, Walmart, Target, and Whole Foods, where, according to Business Insider, it has become the best-selling pasta. A box of Banza sells for approximately $3. Add some veggies and a protein, and you could prepare a meal for 4 people for under $15/20.
I received three boxes from the company and played around with a couple of recipes. I started very simply by preparing some Rotini according to the instructions on the package, then tossing it with EVOO, cherry tomatoes, basil from my garden and freshly grated Parmesan cheese. It was easy and delish, so I ventured out from there to try a couple more recipes that I am sharing with you. Be sure to message me below if you have tried Banza or something similar! Also, in my next post, I will have an update to share with you regarding Operation Lower Cholesterol. xoM
Rather than cooking the pasta in the soup, I prefer to prepare it in advance and set it aside to add to the soup at the end. So, prepare the pasta according to instructions on package and rinse with cold water.
For soup you will need the following:
- Extra virgin olive oil, about 3 tablespoons
- 1 small onion, peeled & diced
- 2 small carrots, peeled & diced
- 2 stalks of celery, diced
- 1 tsp dried oregano
- 3 cloves of garlic, peeled & minced
- 2 medium sized zucchini, diced
- About 5 ounces kale, chopped
- 1 T. tomato paste
- 2 cups vegetable stock
- 14 ounce can of diced tomatoes
- 14 ounce can of cannellini beans
- Salt, to taste
- A small handful of chopped flat leaf parsley for garnish
In a large pot, heat olive oil over high heat. Add onion, carrots, celery and oregano and sauté for 3-5 minutes, until the onion appears to be translucent. Add garlic and zucchini and sauté for 3 more minutes. Next add the kale, tomato paste, vegetable stock, canned tomatoes and canned beans. Bring to a boil. Cover and simmer for 30 minutes. Season the soup with salt and pepper. Add prepared pasta wheels, and top with chopped parsley and nutritional yeast (for vegans) or grated Parmesan cheese (for vegetarians). Serve with crusty bread for dipping.
Ziti with Spicy Lentil Tomato Sauce (Vegan)
Prepare Ziti according to instructions on package. Rinse with cold water and set aside.
For the lentil sauce, you will need the following:
- 3 T. EVOO, plus more for drizzling
- 1/2 small brown onion, peed & diced
- 2 cloves garlic, minced
- 1 T. tomato paste
- 1 tsp ground cumin
- 1 quart vegetable broth
- 2 cups water
- 1 cup red lentils, washed
- 1 carrot, peeled & diced
- Juice of ½ lemon
- 1 tomato, diced
- 1 chipotle chili pepper in adobo sauce, chopped
- Salt, to taste
- A small handful of chopped cilantro or kale for garnish
In a large pot, heat 3 tablespoons oil over high heat. Add onion and garlic and sauté 3-5 minutes, until the onion appears to be translucent. Stir in tomato paste and cumin, and sauté for 2 more minutes. Add broth, water, lentils and carrot. When boiling, partially cover pot, lower heat and simmer for 30 minutes, or until lentils are soft. Add tomato and season with lemon, salt and preferred amount of chipotle chili. Add some chopped cilantro or kale. Top ziti with lentil tomato sauce and enjoy!
All photos by Marci Symington for texAZtaste.com.