Replacing chickpea pasta for regular pasta in any Italian household is a feat in itself because after you add the sauce, (some say gravy), Italian spices, meatballs, and let’s not forget the Parmesan cheese on top, you‘ve pretty much reached euphoria. Put aside the calories and the fact that you can’t eat anything afterwards for at least twelve hours because your stomach is so full; now you’re being asked to cast tradition aside and go with the trend.
Chickpea pasta has hit the stores and has been a best seller in many major grocery stores for years now, climbing up the charts more and more. Though it doesn’t have zero calories, it certainly is healthier for you but can it replace your grandmother’s pasta?
I guess that’s up to the individual and this individual is going to be a hard sell, but I thought I’d give it a try. I liked the fact that it is 40 per cent fewer carbs than traditional pasta and it is also gluten free. It has a low glycemic index and has half the carbs of both regular and wheat pasta products. Average pasta has 13 grams of protein, 3 grams fiber; 71 grams net carbs compared to chickpea pasta, which has 25 grams of protein, 13 grams fiber and 43 grams net carb. It’s also a plant-based protein with no GMO’s.
It can also appeal to a wide range of dietary needs; those with gluten allergies, vegans, those watching their weight, especially since you can eat twice as much for the same amount of carbs. You can go back for that second bowl if you want too, guilt free!
I choose two brands to test- Banza and Barilla. Banza rotelle had a cooking time of 7-9 minutes. Barilla’s casarecce pasta was the same. Barilla’s brand was made with one ingredient- chickpea flour while Banza’s ingredients were- chickpea, tapioca, xanthan gum and pea protein. Banza rotelli was lighter in color than the Barilla when cooked. I boiled the pasta then mixed it in with frozen broccoli rabe and some cut up sausage. I sautéed it in a frying pan with olive oil and garlic and added Parmesan cheese on top. (You can also make the dish using chicken instead of sausage.) Unbeknownst to my husband, I served it up for dinner to see if he would taste any difference. He was surprised. It tasted the same as regular pasta to him. Banza also carries chickpea pasta in elbows, shells, penne, spaghetti, and spirals.
Already wanting to give it thumbs down before even trying it, I have to admit, it wasn’t at all bad and one could very well get used to grabbing the chickpea pasta over the regular pasta, especially if it’s a healthier choice.
As for the Barilla pasta, I made it the traditional way with sauce and used it as a side dish. Though darker in color, it still went down well. There was no overbearing different taste from the chickpea’s, so it was easy to replace; and yes, it can be overcooked, though I like mine a little al dente.
It seems like other companies have jumped on the bandwagon of health. Other brands offer organic Edamame spaghetti, red lentil penne pasta, organic black bean pasta, and homemade flaxseed pasta. If you can’t find it in the regular isle at the store, try the organic foods section. You can also find these products on Amazon.
All in all, I would have to say I would definitely give both these products thumbs up. You can’t go wrong with plant- based food!