Up until four years ago, the heat-and-eat pizzas in the frozen food section remained largely unchanged. But then cauliflower crust pizza came along and completely disrupted the space. Caulipower was the first brand that launched back in 2016, but now the number of cauliflower pizza options is almost reaching that of traditional crust. But now, you’re about to see a completely different substitute taking over grocery freezers.
Today, Banza (known for its chickpea-based pasta and rice) launches its own chickpea pizza crust. (Yes, you read that right.) Their new frozen pizza line includes four different pizzas, all selling for $9: four cheese, roasted veggie, Margherita, and plain crusts. For each, chickpeas make up more than 90 percent of the crusts. (The other ingredients are yeast, oregano, garlic powder, salt, date powder, sunflower lecithin, xantham gum, and baking powder.)
You might be surprised at the brand’s jump from pantry staples to freezer goods, but it’s all part of Banza’s larger mission. “Pizza is right in our wheelhouse,” says Banza co-founder and Well+Good Changemaker Brian Rudolph. “It’s a delicious and beloved American staple, making it a perfect vehicle for bringing more beans into the American diet.”
Watch the video below to learn more about why chickpeas are so good for you:
Rudolph says it wasn’t easy to get the chickpea crust’s texture and taste perfect; the recipe took a year for his team to perfect. “The biggest challenge was creating a [crust] that was both nutritious and had an authentic pizza texture,” he says. “We kept hearing from consumers that they were looking for a pizza that not only tasted good but made them feel good. With chickpeas at the center of our recipe, we tested many different ingredients in order to find that perfect combination of a crispy crust and chewy center. We went through dozens of different recipes before we found the one that we were proud of.”
The Banza team generously sent me the new pizzas to try, and, I can tell you first-hand that these pizzas are good. Like, really good. (If I’m being honest, I had pizza for dinner three nights in a row after I got mine in the mail.) The crust tastes exactly how you’d want it to—crispy and doughy, sans any funky bean aftertaste. It’s also sturdier than many of the cauliflower pizzas I’ve tried.
Banza sent a few others their new pizza line for a first taste, including health coach and chef Koya Webb. We asked her to come up with a fun recipe exclusively for Well+Good readers using the plain crust, and she came up with a vegan BBQ supreme that looks absolutely delicious. Check out the recipe below so you can make it at home.
Koya Webb’s BBQ Supreme with Banza Chickpea Crust
Makes 1 pizza
1 Banza pizza crust
1 cup marinara sauce
1 cup cashew nuts (soak for 2 hours)
1/2 cup water
1 cup mushrooms
1 cup sun-dried tomatoes
2 big garlic cloves
2 Tbsp liquid aminos
1 Tbsp liquid smoke
1/2 tsp sea salt
1 handful fresh basil leaves
1 handful fresh spinach
Pinch of ground black pepper
1. In a blender, combine the cashew nuts, garlic gloves, basil, water, and salt. Blend until the mixture is creamy.
2. Wash and chop sun-dried tomatoes, mushrooms, and spinach to your desired consistency.
3. In a skillet, warm and stir the marinara sauce, liquid smoke, and liquid aminos for five minutes on medium heat.
4. Pour half of the marinara mixture and half of the cashew cheese onto the crust and generously place vegetables on top. Be generous because veggies tend to shrink in the oven. Sprinkle sea salt, the remainder of the cashew cheese, marinara sauce, and black pepper on top and pop it in the pre-heated oven. Bake for 15 to 20 minutes at 400°F, until the crust turns golden brown. Enjoy!
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