Photo by MaharaMK via Getty Images

Chickpea pasta may be gluten free, but it’s full of flavor

Rebecca Firkser
July 17, 2018

Here’s a secret: I don’t love breakfast pasta. Don’t get me wrong, I have been known to go to town on a container of leftover pasta from dinner the night before. I like to eat it cold, with my fingers, fridge door still open (it’s less of a commitment that way). When I feel the urge to actually make pasta for breakfast, I only sort of do it. I make chickpea pasta.

Banza, my preferred brand of chickpea pasta, has a sort of nutty flavor, like whole wheat pasta or soba noodles. Made of chickpeas, tapioca, pea protein, and xanthan gum, Banza doesn’t have the weird gummy quality that most gluten-free pastas have, and it can actually get nicely al dente.

If Banza could talk, it would not shout, “I’M MADE FROM OTHER STUFF, NOT WHEAT, I TASTE SORT OF WEIRD,  SUCKS TO BE YOU, MWAHAHA,” as I’ve imagined would be the case with some pastas made with quinoa, corn, black bean, and edamame. Chickpea pasta is actually the ideal breakfast pasta, as it slants more toward the legume-y flavor than the blank canvas of wheat pasta.

I’ve found that when I make these five dishes with chickpea pasta for brunch, they hold their own. Though Banza makes all shapes and sizes of pasta, when using it for breakfast I like to stick to the bite-sized shapes, like penne, shells, or Cavatappi.

Quiche or Frittatas

I’m a big fan of tossing in a handful or two of cooked chickpeas into my quiche and frittatas for a bit of extra texture and protein. A ½ cup of cooked chickpea pasta acts in a similar manner, but actually holds together much better than the individual chickpeas, making for more neat slices of quiche or frittata.

Egg or Tofu Scrambles

I don’t know about you, but I feel like when I scramble eggs for a group there never seems to be enough, even if you add vegetables. This does not apply to making any other style of eggs for a crowd, it’s simply the scramble’s cross to bear. To stretch scrambled eggs (or scrambled tofu, for the vegans), I like to toss in a cup or so of cooked chickpea pasta to the mix. A few scoops of that kind of scramble and no one leaves the table hungry.

Israeli Salad

One of my favorite savory breakfasts is Israeli salad, a mixture of roughly chopped cucumber, tomato, onion, and parsley tossed in a lemon juice vinaigrette. To stay full til lunch, I’ll usually have Israeli salad with an egg on the side, but I’ve recently started tossing a handful or two of cooked chickpea pasta directly into the salad, and presto: a one-bowl meal.

Chana Masala

Leftover chana masala, a dish of stewed chickpeas in tangy tomato sauce, is one of my favorite breakfasts. Swapping in chickpea pasta for the legumes is simply another way to enjoy the flavors of the dish with a new texture. Don’t underestimate the power of a plop of Greek yogurt on top right before serving.

Shakshuka

A bubbly pan of shakshuka, eggs poached in spicy tomato sauce, only gets more hearty with the addition of some chickpea pasta. Pro tip: Undercook the pasta by several minute, then let it finish the boiling tomato sauce.

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