I’m a Trained Chef and Pasta Snob, and This New Gut-Friendly, Bone Health-Boosting Alternative Pasta Changed My Life

Photo: Stocksy/Marija Kovac
It seems like every time I visit the grocery store, I come across a new alt-pasta brand featuring nutrient-rich ingredients that go way beyond your standard durum wheat semolina (chickpea, brown rice, soy, lupini bean, or sorghum pasta, anyone?). Of course, as a big fan of both pasta and the wonders of a well-balanced gut microbiome, I’m always eager to check out the newest kid on the shelf—which has led me to Solely’s brand-new organic green banana fusilli pasta. And I must say, it definitely exceeded my expectations.

Full disclosure, I’m kind of a snob when it comes to boxed pasta—especially ones made with a not-your-average list of pasta ingredients (namely, green bananas). For boxed pasta to get my seal of approval, it has to meet a few key standards: cook to a perfectly al-dente texture, can hold sauce well, and taste great (obviously!). And, believe it or not, Solely’s green banana pasta does all that and more. That’s because this new variation of pasta is also loaded with gut health benefits, thanks to its star ingredient—green bananas, aka slightly under ripe bananas—that taste great and offer loads of nutrition perks. Here, a few reasons why I’ll be making dinner with this boxed pasta until further notice.

Why Solely’s organic green banana fusilli pasta is worth trying

Just a few weeks ago, Solely—the organic food brand that makes other products like spaghetti squash pasta, fruit gummies, and fruit jerky—launched a first-of-its-kind healthy pasta alternative to the market, aka their new organic green banana fusilli pasta. Upon first impression of the pasta's packaging, I was startled to see that it has a ridiculously short ingredient list. It's comprised of just one item: organic green banana, which is shocking considering how similar its taste and texture are to traditional pasta.

This fusilli-style pasta is ideal for making savory pasta dishes, is paleo-friendly, gluten-free, vegan, and certified organic, and it's loaded with iron and potassium. Each box of this green banana pasta—which has about three servings per container—is made with five organic green bananas. (And! Nothing! Else!)

Per serving one cup, it packs about four grams of fiber, two grams of protein, 65 milligrams of calcium (six percent daily value), five milligrams of iron (30 percent daily value), and a whopping 1040 milligrams of potassium (20 percent daily value). Bananas, am I right? Potassium is, after all, one of the most critical minerals the body needs to function: It helps regulate the body’s fluid levels and blood pressure and can help lower your risk of stroke and heart disease.

Meanwhile, iron (which is one of the most common minerals people are deficient in) is essential for making hemoglobin, which carries oxygen via your red blood cells through the body. Keep in mind that the high iron levels in this vegan-friendly pasta also make it ideal for those that follow a plant-based, vegan, or vegetarian diet—or anyone that doesn't consume iron-rich, animal-derived foods like red meat, oysters, and fish.

green banana pasta packaging
Photo: Solely
Solely, Organic Green Banana Fusilli Pasta — $3.99

Currently only available in some locations.

My honest thoughts on Solely's green banana pasta

As a lover of all-things pasta, this alternative version made with green bananas really blew my mind. For starters, its taste and texture are just like a wheat-based box of pasta. Ready in just three to four minutes, this fusilli pasta comes out perfectly al dente every time. On its own, it has a slightly cooked-veggie aftertaste, which totally disappears when slathered with a little bit of your favorite sauce or condiments. And unlike ripe bananas, this version—made from green (unripe) bananas—isn’t sweet whatsoever.

Of course, despite its startling similarities to traditional boxed pasta, Solely’s green banana pasta is, well, green. Or rather, a very dark green, almost black color that’s perhaps one of the only visual differences between traditional pasta and this new alt-version. The pasta gets its rich black color as a result of the natural process used to dry the green bananas. And although the color might seem a little puzzling at first, it definitely won’t influence your opinion upon the first bite... i.e. when you immediately realize how darn good it tastes.

After cooking, straining, and rinsing the pasta, I decided to season it with a bit of salt, pepper, butter, and parmesan to make it cacio e pepe style using a little bit of Churn's Cacio E Pepe Butter. And let me tell you, it was so good. Seriously, aside from tasting so great, this pasta is loaded with tons of health benefits (gluten-free, grain-free, dietary fiber, iron, potassium, organic…the list goes on and on), which is why this alt-pasta will have a permanent residency in my pantry year-round. BTW, it's currently available nationwide at Whole Foods Market for $3.99 (or on Amazon) and on their website, coming soon.

This three-ingredient banana ice cream recipe will make you go b-a-n-a-n-a-s:

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