Fall Back in Love with Pasta

Banza pasta has been named one of TIME's 25 Best Inventions of 2015.

By Michelle Valigursky

Story Photo

Photo by Gregory Reid for TIME

From a tiny home kitchen in 2013, Brian Rudolph 12B and his brother Scott created the perfect recipe for protein-packed, nutrient rich pasta – made from chickpeas. As a member of the first class of Venture for America— with the goal of revitalizing the city of Detroit, Michigan through entrepreneurship, Banza was born after a successful crowdfunding campaign.

The young company has skyrocketed to success after formally launching in 2014. Banza has released four different pasta shapes sold in nearly 2000 stores across the country, ranging from Shoprite to gourmet destination Eataly, and created 30 manufacturing jobs in Detroit. Brian shares, “The city has fallen on hard times, but we take a great deal of pride in contributing to the resurgent culture of manufacturing and entrepreneurship.”

In fact, last year Banza launched to new heights. In a recent note to family and friends, Brian wrote, “If there's ever been a time for me to express my gratitude, it's this holiday season. In the past two weeks, Banza won a $500,000 check from Accelerate Michigan (Michigan's largest pitch competition), won another check for $100,000 from JP Morgan and a local community college, was featured in Fast Company, and became Fairway's #1 selling pasta,” he writes. “But potentially the most meaningful just happened - we were named one of TIME's 25 Best Inventions of 2015. The story led to a live tasting on the TODAY show and a feature on TIME's Instagram.”

Banza Pasta

Banza pasta has been dubbed
“delicious pasta without the guilt.”

Food Innovation Gets Healthy

When a doctor told Brian to cut gluten from his diet, he struggled to find a satisfying pasta alternative in stores. As a health nut, he searched for a nutrient-rich option that mimicked the taste and texture of pasta. “In 2013, I began experimenting in my Detroit kitchen with a few pounds of chickpeas and a small hand crank. After ten months of trial and error, I made a batch that tricked my roommate into thinking he was eating traditional pasta,” Brian says.

Nutrition plays a very important role in Banza’s game plan. “Banza is the first to crack the code on chickpea pasta,” says Scott Rudolph, Banza’s co-founder. With double the amount of protein as traditional pasta and four times the fiber per serving, Banza pasta is a smart, tasty choice for meals. The bonus? Banza also has a lower glycemic index, half the net carbs, and fewer calories than traditional pasta without grain and gluten. 

Power Pasta

So what is Banza’s promise to its customers? “If we’re all going to eat better, we need to empower everyday cooks by giving them the right tools. It’s about providing regular people a healthy and easy foundation to make a great meal. So that’s our promise to you: to create a new standard for pasta, one that not only excites the taste buds, but also fuels the heart.”

The Rudolph brothers don’t take their success lightly. “My dream for this business is to create incredible, category changing food products that improve people's lives. To make nutritious food that is accessible, affordable, and convenient, so we can all take steps towards eating better. If there's any one victory that validates that thesis, it's this one.”

With a vote of confidence on the television show Restaurant Startup, as Master Chef Judge and New York City’s Eataly founder Joe Bastianich points out, “Do I like the way it tastes? Yes. I believe in this.”

If company growth is any indication, millions more will soon believe in Banza too. 

It's time to change pasta.

The Rudolph brothers enjoying some Banza together.

Editor's Note: Banza pasta is available online, at supermarkets, and specialty stores nationwide. Visit here for more information.

Email the editor

Michelle Valigursky