Banza Penne with Sun Dried Tomatoes (Gluten free!)

Banza Penne with Sun Dried Tomatoes (Gluten free!)

We’re Talkin’ Pasta, and Banza is the New Black

I came across a Buzzfeed article the other day titled “How Popular are Your Unpopular Opinions?” Although I consider myself a pretty un-opinionated person (I know, I’m a millennial. I should have a thousand opinions about every topic and should be tweeting about each and every one, RIGHT?) I know that we all have our opinions that many others don’t share. The article went on to list a few popular unpopular opinions, here are a few I found funny and totally relatable:

  • You don’t think Ryan Gosling is the cutest/sexiest/most handsome thing to have ever happened to this world. (did someone say baby face..?)
  • You think yellow Starbursts are the best flavor the candy has to offer. (guilty.)
  • You believe that there is absolutely nothing wrong with the word “moist.” (like, 90% of the tastiest foods are tasty because they’re moist! MOIST MOIST MOIST)
  • You think Beyoncé is HIGHLY overrated and you’ve never understood the fuss about her. (I’ll disagree with this one, but I know many who feel the same)
  • You really enjoy Nickelback and their entire discography. (I will also admit to a terrible taste in music, so I’ll leave this as stands. I have a very neutral stance on Nickelback.)

You get the point. Everyone has their own opinions about different things that they might be afraid to share because it’s “unpopular”. Add one more to the list…

I don’t like pasta.

Creamy Chicken Penne with Spinach and Sun Dried Tomatoes (gluten free!)

To be technically correct, I should change that to I used to not like pasta. I even worked at an Italian restaurant all throughout college and that couldn’t even change my mind! I will admit that a big part of it has to do with the health impact—most pastas served in restaurants come smothered in a cream-based sauce full of saturated fats and sodium, on top of the empty carbs you get from pasta noodles themselves. I couldn’t seem to wrap my mind around the fact that most of the dishes served in my restaurant tipped over 1,500 calories in just one serving. That’s ludicrous! Why can’t I just enjoy pasta without getting brutally smacked with all of the bad nutrients (or lack-of) that come with it?

Banza says I can.

The first time I heard of Banza was when my boyfriend brought home a bright orange box of hard shells from the store. “We’re having pasta tonight!” he said. I laughed, naturally, because he can’t have pasta. He has Celiac’s disease—he’s allergic to wheat. So what was he talking about?

“This company makes pasta shells out of chickpeas! Can we try it tonight for dinner?”

It looks like pasta.. feels like pasta.. and tastes like pasta?? It can’t be true. But unlike pasta, the Banza noodles are made from chickpeas.

And try it right that instant we did.

Creamy Chicken Penne with Spinach and Sun Dried Tomatoes (gluten free!)

Banza pasta was everything I was missing from the regular kind. Health benefits? Certainly. Chickpea pasta contains nearly twice the amount of protein, 4 times the fiber, and ½ the net carbohydrates. But does it taste like regular pasta? You betcha. The pasta game was changed for me. Although the calorie count is about equal to regular pasta, knowing that I was getting nearly the same amount of protein if I’d be eating a steak (similar article here written by Huffpost on that fact!) made me feel like I was making an intuitive decision for my dinner. I’ve been playing around with different recipes using Banza over the past year and a half, and I can’t wait to share some with you as well. Check out my favorite so far below. Enjoy your chickpeas!

Creamy Chicken Penne with Spinach and Sun Dried Tomatoes (gluten free!)

Creamy Chicken Penne with Spinach and Sun Dried Tomatoes (gluten free!)

Creamy Chicken Penne with Spinach and Sun Dried Tomatoes

This gluten free pasta bowl packs a powerful protein punch with added chicken, spinach, and sun-dried tomatoes. All of that for under 20 minutes!

Course Main Course
Cuisine American, gluten free
Prep Time 5 minutes
Cook Time 15 minutes
Total Time 20 minutes
Servings 4 people
Calories 419 kcal
Author cravecolumbus


  • 1 box Banza Chickpea Pasta
  • 1/2 cup sun dried tomatoes
  • 1 tbsp garlic
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 cup chicken broth
  • 1/2 cup half and half (or heavy cream)
  • 2 cups rotisserie chicken (or any other cooked chicken)
  • 2 cups spinach leaves
  • 1/2 cup freshly grated parmesan cheese


  1. Cook Banza pasta according to package directions.

  2. While the pasta is cooking, drizzle olive oil and saute sun dried tomatoes and garlic in a large skillet over medium heat. Saute until fragrant, about 3 minutes.

  3. Add in pasta once fully cooked, then mix in chicken broth, half and half, and season with salt and pepper. Cover and cook on medium heat for about 4 minutes.

  4. Remove cover and mix in shredded chicken and spinach leaves, cooking an additional 3-5 minutes until spinach is wilted.

  5. Sprinkle with your parmesan cheese and eat it up!

(Please note this is a sponsored post but all ideas and opinions are my own).