We Tested (and Rated) Three Flavors of Banza’s Chickpea-Based Protein Waffles — Here’s How They Stacked Up
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What We Tested: In this inaugural installment of The Test Kitchn, we’re taking a look at the three new protein waffles from editor-loved pantry brand Banza. Banza makes chickpea- and bean-based products including mac ‘n’ cheese, pizzas, pasta, rice, and, most recently, protein waffles. They’re on a mission to get more people in the States to eat chickpeas and beans, since they’re “Good for your health [and] good for the planet’s health.” You’ve probably seen boxes of Banza’s gluten-free chickpea pasta in supermarket aisles, but they’re constantly expanding with new shapes and products, which is why we’re always excited whenever there’s a launch.
Meet Our Testers:
This week, we have Ian Burke, senior commerce editor for The Kitchn (me); Quinn Fish, cleaning and organizing editor; April Song, co-op partner manager; and Chanel Fetaz, director of product design and UX. I signed up to test these waffles since I’m a huge fan of anything packed with extra protein, while April already liked Banza’s protein pasta. Chanel was curious to try something that “sounded unique yet familiar,” and Quinn loves chickpeas and waffles, but hadn’t had waffles since she was a kid. “I’m also always looking for ways to add more protein to my diet (sans meat),” she explained.
Banza Protein Waffle Variety Pack: These gluten-free protein waffles have 10 grams of protein per serving (which is two waffles), and contain egg but are free from all other major allergens. They’re also vegetarian (but not vegan) and you can cook them in a toaster, oven, pan, or air fryer. The variety pack comes with a box of each flavor — Homestyle, Blueberry, and Chocolate Chip — however, it’s important to note that all the waffles are available separately, too.
How We Tested: We fired these bad boys up per package instructions in our office kitchen’s toaster oven — and only managed to blow a fuse twice because our outlets are fussy — and tested them all plain and with a little maple syrup. Since we wanted to make sure we got to taste the actual waffles, we skipped any more complicated toppings that might have masked the waffles’ flavors. We also didn’t give them any slack just because they’re made with chickpeas — in other words, we judged them just like any other frozen waffles and didn’t hold back.
Homestyle Protein Waffles
The Homestyle Protein Waffles were our combined favorite by far, which we gave an almost perfect rating. These were easy to eat and tasted the most like the frozen waffles we grew up eating, and were pleasantly crispy on the outside and soft in the center. They’re a little darker than the neon-yellow frozen waffles you might be used to but tasted just as good. (Chanel even thought she picked up a hint of coconut with these!)
Blueberry Protein Waffles
Next up were the Blueberry Protein Waffles, which were our least favorite. The blueberry flavor didn’t exactly come through in spades here — in fact, April felt that she couldn’t even taste blueberries at all. Our combined rating was two stars, mostly because we felt there wasn’t enough blueberry flavor. However, they were similar to the Homestyle waffles, so if plain is what you’re looking for, these might be for you.
Chocolate Chip Protein Waffles:
Last up were the Chocolate Chip Protein Waffles, which were our second favorite of the three. While these weren’t the most chocolatey waffles we’ve ever had, the flavor came through a lot more than the Blueberry ones, and even for someone like myself who doesn’t like chocolate (I know, I know: How could anyone not like chocolate?), I found them pretty tasty and not overly sweet. Plus, with the addition of some syrup and chocolate chips from a bag, a stack of these could make a pretty solid — and protein-packed — dessert-for-breakfast situation.
Quinn: “These were definitely drier and a little less rich [and] flavorful than regular frozen waffles, but tasty — and they would be great loaded up with toppings! I like the Homestyle best, followed by the Chocolate Chip and then the Blueberry. I could taste the chocolate and the blueberries but there wasn’t as much as there was in, say, Eggos. But I love that they have lots of protein!”
Chanel: “I love that these are high-protein and an easy vehicle for toppings! There was a slight nutty flavor that I couldn’t put my finger on, and I knew I wasn’t having a classic Eggo, since it tasted a bit more ‘adult.’ My preference is the Homestyle — the others didn’t have enough flavor-forward moments for me. But the Homestyle was crispy, simple, and would pair great with maple syrup, yogurt, and coconut chips!”
April: “These were a little drier than Eggos, and I thought the Chocolate Chip didn’t have enough chocolate. The Blueberry ones kinda just felt like a sweeter version of the Homestyle, since I couldn’t taste the blueberry.
Ian: “I actually liked the Homestyle waffles way more than I thought I would since I’m usually not a fan of chickpea-based foods like these. However, I would definitely add them to my morning routine. I think they’d be perfect with some banana slices and some melted butter, too!”
Good to Know: These took a touch longer in the toaster oven than the package instructions suggested, but that probably has to do more with individual ovens than anything else. Our advice? Err on the side of under-toasting them while you dial your time and temperature in, because you can always toss them back in to finish crisping — but you can’t unburn a charred waffle.