There’s a great new vegetarian product that’s made right here in Detroit. It’s called Banza, and it’s a gluten-free pasta that’s high in fiber. After Banza co-founder Brian Rudolph graduated from Emory University in 2012, he moved to Detroit as part of the Venture for America program with the goal of being part of the revitalization of the city through entrepreneurship. He had the idea of making a healthier pasta that people could enjoy without gaining weight or spiking blood sugar.
In early 2014 he began developing his healthy chickpea-based pasta, making it by hand in his home in Detroit’s Midtown. The result was a vegan, gluten-free, soy-free, nut-free, high protein, high fiber, low glycemic, non-GMO pasta containing no artificial ingredients. Last year Brian and his brother Scott ran a successful crowd funding campaign to launch Banza Chickpea Pasta. A year ago the brothers were featured on the reality show “Restaurant Startup,” where they won investment money from restauranteur/entrepreneur Joe Bastianich, son of famed Italian cookbook author, TV chef, and restauranteur Lidia Bastianich.
The Rudolphs then partnered with a local manufacturer to make the product and, by October 2014 Banza Pasta was in 200 Meijer stores. The pasta has since been featured on the Dr. Oz Show, and in March of 2015 Banza won the Nexty Award at the Natural Products Expo East. The pasta has received rave reviews for taste and texture.
Banza Chickpea Pasta comes in penne, rotini, shells, and elbows. It has 14 grams of protein per serving, 8 grams of fiber, and 24 grams of carbohydrate. It contains no grains and is rated very low on the Glycemic Index. Standard pasta is made from wheat, so it has gluten. Per serving, standard pasta has 7 grams of protein, 2 grams of fiber, and a whopping 40 grams of carbs, and it’s rated medium on the Glycemic Index. It’s a bit lower in calories than traditional, 190 calories per two ounce serving, but it packs a nutritional punch that regular pasta doesn’t.
Banza cooks up faster than traditional pasta, perfectly al dente in 5 minutes. The texture is exactly the same as regular pasta. When looking for Banza in the store, it might not be in with the other pasta, the Meijer store had it in the special gluten free aisle. The price at Meijer was $3.99 for an eight ounce box. Banza is an excellent product for diabetics, those with food allergies, and sensitivities, and for anyone trying to get more protein and fiber in their diets.
Banza Pasta is constantly expanding into more markets across the U.S., and will be available in all 50 states soon. In the Detroit area Banza can be found at Meijer. It’s also available for purchase on the Banza Website. For more information follow Banza on Facebook, Twitter, or visit their official website.