Happy Halloween everyone! Can you even believe it? This year has blown by at warp speed! Wow! Well, I dunno about you, but I’ve welcomed the fall season with open arms & have been all about the pumpkin this year. Pumpkin smoothies, pumpkin granola, homemade pumpkin spice lattes, you get the drift. I’ve been putting a few spoonfuls of pumpkin in the dog’s bowl, too! When I was sent a few boxes of Banza’s new chickpea pasta, it wasn’t much of a surprise that I would come up with something pumpkin-inspired! Mmmmm, mmmm… gluten-free pasta smothered in a rich, creamy, pumpkin-y sauce? Yes please!
“Banza,” launched only a few months ago, & the founder is “on a mission to change pasta forever!” Banza is the first pasta made from chickpeas— making it a great source of protein, especially for vegetarians & vegans! It’s also gluten free, grain free, heart healthy, non-GMO, vegan, low glycemic, & allergen safe.
I think it’s pretty awesome & here is why you should think so too:
- Protein: Nearly two times regular pasta! One serving of Banza has nearly double the protein as regular pasta. You’re getting more protein than a protein bar in your pasta. Protein helps speed recovery after exercise, & will help keep you fuller for longer.
- Net Carbs: Nearly half regular pasta. It’s all about balance. Regular pasta is mostly carbohydrates. Because Banza has more protein & more fiber, it has nearly half the net carbs as regular pasta.
- Fiber: Over three times regular pasta. Banza has more than three times as much fiber as regular pasta per serving. Seven grams is as much fiber as a bowl of bran cereal.
I received a few boxes of the rotini to test out. Out of the box it looked just like regular pasta, & I was curious how it would “cook up.” The version I received came with “no boil” instructions, which to be honest, really didn’t work well for me. I ended up having to bring the water back up to a boil & let the pasta “cook” for several minutes to get the desired consistency. The folks at Banza found the no boil instructions were causing some confusion, so they are working on some updates to the product so it “cooks more like regular pasta,” which I think will be helpful! I am really looking forward to trying out the new product!
This pasta definitely has a bit more “bite” to it than your traditional semolina pasta, & the texture reminded me of whole wheat pasta, with just a bit more heartiness & a subtle chickpea flavor. It definitely had it’s own distinct texture & flavor, & could take some getting used to if you’ve been eating a particular type of pasta for a while.
So where does the pumpkin come in? Well, I had a few boxes of Banza to try, the season had changed, & I was craving fall flavors. I had a can of pumpkin puree on hand & thought a creamy pumpkin sauce would pair nicely with the rotini. Luckily, this pasta’s heartiness did lend itself nicely to holding up to this rich & creamy pumpkin sauce!
I took inspiration from all around the web to create the perfect sauce ~ from Oh She Glows & Vegan Richa to Martha Stewart. I wanted something rich & creamy with a hunt of both sweet & savory. With this sauce you’ll find a mild sweetness from the pumpkin, a cheesy bite from the nooch, creaminess from the coconut milk & cashews, full-bodied flavor from the addition of tomato paste, & an in-depth flavor profile from the fresh herbs & spices. My landlord lives next door to me & thankfully has the greenest thumb. He planted a wonderful herb garden for the residents to share & the sage has been growing like wild. Sage & pumpkin go together like PB & J, so naturally I infused this sauce with a lot of sage, & it turned out so delicious. Perfect fall flavors!
- 1 tsp. olive oil
- 1 small white onion, finely chopped
- 3 cloves garlic, minced
- ¼ cup white wine
- 1 cup vegetable broth
- ½ cup unsweetened coconut milk
- 1 cup organic canned pumpkin
- 1 Tbsp. tomato paste
- ⅓ cashews, soaked for 4-6 hours
- 2 Tbsp. nutritional yeast
- ⅛ tsp. ground cinnamon
- ¼ tsp. ground nutmeg
- Sea salt & freshly ground black pepper to taste
- 2 Tbsp. chopped fresh sage leaves.
- 12 ounces pasta
- ½ cup toasted walnuts
- Cook pasta according to package directions
- While pasta is cooking, heat a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add olive oil & onion. Saute until onions are translucent. Add garlic & saute for a few more minutes. Remove from heat.
- In a high speed blender, combine onion & garlic, wine, broth, milk, pumpkin, tomato paste, cashews, nutritional yeast, cinnamon, nutmeg, salt & pepper. Blend until smooth & creamy. Adjust seasonings if desired.
- Pour sauce into a pan, add the sage, & bring to a low simmer. Simmer sauce for 5 minutes to thicken.
- Add cooked pasta to the sauce & toss. Garnish with sage, walnuts, vegan parmesan & sprinkle of nutmeg.
My “Raw Pepita Parma” is the perfect topping, along with some chopped walnuts & a garnish of herbaceous sage. This pasta is decadent, creamy, & satisfying without having even the smallest ounce of cheese, yogurt, dairy milk, cream or buttermilk. And this could really work on any pasta of your choosing. But I do hope you consider giving Banza a try as an gluten free alternative.
Oh & yes, it’s Halloween! I’ll be keeping it mellow this year. A good friend is visiting from Australia & we plan to carve pumpkins, hand out some candy & check out the decorations throughout the neighborhood. Just a few blocks away it goes off with theatrics, haunted houses & movie set decorations. I didn’t have much time for costume planning this year, but I realized that I have everything needed to pull off a pretty authentic Margot Tenenbaum should we decide to dress up! So fun!
How will you be celebrating?