Banza Bacon Ranch Pasta Salad
I’ve been hearing great things about Banza pasta for a while but hadn’t yet given it a try, so I was excited when Banza sent me a box of goodies to try out. If you’re not familiar with it, Banza is made of chickpeas, packed with a serious amount of protein and fiber and clocking in with far fewer carbs than regular pasta. It’s also gluten-free. Now, I have to admit, I’m a bit of a skeptic when it comes to “alternative” pastas…I have yet to find one I truly like. My hubby is probably triple the skeptic I am, so I was very curious to see how Banza held up in terms of the taste test for us both. Of course, bacon makes everything taste good, so I figured I’d ease my hubby in with a pasta salad featuring two of his faves: bacon and ranch. BUT— I lightened up a typically rich dish with a little Greek yogurt and added in some peas for a pop of green and veggie fix.
I always cook my bacon in my Cuisinart Air Fryer/Convection Oven (which you may have seen me present on QVC), which also reduces some of the greasiness that you would get from frying it. It comes out perfectly crispy in about 8 minutes with zero mess. I’m telling you— game. changer. Okay, back to the Banza. I followed the box directions to a t, to ensure the best possible texture once cooked. While the pasta was cooking, I thawed the peas a bit in a colander and made the dressing, which came together in just a few minutes. Once the pasta was done, I let it cool a bit before throwing it all in a big bowl, crumbling the bacon and adding in some diced cheddar cheese and scallions.
I have to say, even my not-so-sure-about-this hubby was impressed with the taste of the pasta. It wasn’t gummy or gritty, as some other alternative pastas I’ve had have been. And in a dish like this, packed with flavor, we honestly couldn’t tell the difference! Our boys gobbled this up on the back deck on a hot night— it really was an ideal summer side to some grilled shish-kebabs. We also had tons leftover and this was great for lunch the next day.
2 boxes Banza chickpea pasta
8-9 slices bacon, cooked and crumbled
1 block of cheddar cheese, cubed small (about 8 oz)
1 bag frozen peas, thawed
1 small container fat-free Greek yogurt (I like Fage)
1/3 cup low-fat sour cream
1/3 cup mayo
1 package ranch dressing (I used Hidden Valley)
3 scallions, white and light green parts, chopped
1) Follow directions on Banza box to cook pasta
2) While water is boiling/pasta is cooking, cook bacon, chop scallions and cheese
3) In a small bowl, combine Greek yogurt, sour cream, mayo and ranch dressing packet, whisk until smooth (if it comes out too thick, you can add a splash of milk or water to thin out a bit)
4) Drain pasta and let cool
5) In a large bowl, mix pasta, crumbled bacon, peas, cheese and scallions
6) Toss with dressing and serve
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