Ah, rice. The trusty sidekick to beans. The base that holds stir-fries together. An essential ingredient in your sushi. Cheap and satiating, what’s not to love about it? Oh yeah, the carbs. Sure, rice is healthy in moderation, but veggie rice is lower in carbs and calories, which prompted the rise of cauliflower rice. But that’s no longer the only option in town. (And by town I mean Whole Foods.) On Tuesday, Banza‘s chickpea rice moved into the neighborhood.
According to Banza, a company beloved for its chickpea pasta, chickpea rice offers double the fiber and a much lower percentage of carbs as compared to brown rice. Not unlike its pasta product, the ingredients list is minimal. Ninety percent of Banza’s chickpea rice is chickpeas with the other 10 percent comprised of a mixture of potato starch, xanthan gum, and sea salt.
How does it compare to cauliflower rice, you ask? Well, there’s an obvious difference in taste, so depending on whether you like the taste of cauliflower versus chickpea, that plays a role into what you’ll like better. But there are some big differences in terms of nutrition. In a half-cup serving, Banza’s chickpea rice contains 22 grams of protein compared to the less than one gram of protein in its cauliflower counterpart. But it also has more calories: Cauli-rice only has three calories while the chickpea rice has 340 calories per half cup. When it comes to fiber, chickpea rice wins out with 10 grams versus cauli-rice’s less than one gram.
Ultimately, it seems, the “healthier” option depends on your overall wellness goals. If you’re having a post-workout recovery meal or follow a vegetarian diet, the added protein in the chickpea rice may work in your favor, but if you’re looking for a low-cal snack or meal—or if your meal already has enough protein from, say, chicken, the cauli-rice might be the way to go.
Regardless of which one you favor, the benefit of having more healthy options could spark a major revolution in the rice aisle.
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