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Kind of a weird post today.

Spicy BBQ Chickpea and Crispy Polenta Bowls with Asparagus + Ranch Hummus |

And not just because this is one giant bowl of health you are looking at, but more because of that giant scar on the guy in the photo above.

You know how some people hate their scars and try to cover them or do their best to make sure they heel as pretty as possible? Well, I am not like that. Personally, I love scars. I think they tell a story, give you character and memories. Bad or good.

Spicy BBQ Chickpea and Crispy Polenta Bowls with Asparagus + Ranch Hummus |

However, I am in no way a tattoo person. Actually I really do not like them, mostly because I have a fear of getting super old and having this faded + ugly thing on my skin that I totally regret. Not to mention that I am a person who goes through phases and every few weeks I get sick of something. For me that means a food or a bowl or a color,  you get the point.

Scars are different. I promise that this post was not meant to be about scars, but as I was staring at that first photo it kind of got my thoughts turning, so here I am telling you all about why I love them.

Spicy BBQ Chickpea and Crispy Polenta Bowls with Asparagus + Ranch Hummus |

If you have ever met any of my siblings than you know that they have scars on multiple parts of their body, some a lot more than others. Red and Asher are the exceptions. Brendan and Malachi (also known as Kai) take the lead. They are also the two toughest kids I will ever meet.

The arm in the above photo is actually not even a sibling, but more of an adopted one. BUT I was sort of with him when that he got this scar and all I have to say is that it was gross. It had to have hurt like hell and well… bones where showing. Not pretty.

Spicy BBQ Chickpea and Crispy Polenta Bowls with Asparagus + Ranch Hummus |

With every scar there is a story. Like the one above my eyebrow that I got when I was baby or Kai’s scar the size of a large foot running across his hip and up his butt or Brendan’s scars on his knees, his face and… ok, just all over.

While most of the stories are really kind of scary they are still memories that separate you and make you, you. Not sure that makes any sense at all, but it’s the way I think and I personally love hearing about how people got their scars.

Spicy BBQ Chickpea and Crispy Polenta Bowls with Asparagus + Ranch Hummus |

Also, since I am almost constantly around snowboarders that are training for things like the Olympics, I tend to see a lot of crazy scars.

Still though, my younger brother Kai has beat them all out. The whole, having to have his hip replaced at thirteen, kind of takes the cake every time. Hoping it stays that way since the scary stuff is NEVER fun to live through.

Spicy BBQ Chickpea and Crispy Polenta Bowls with Asparagus + Ranch Hummus |

Oh and you should know, that while I can be daring, I have almost zero scars compared to my brothers. Most of the ones I do have are from the oven. It always wins.

Ok, that and I should probably use an oven mitt a little more, but I forget and I sort of have hands of steel now.

Spicy BBQ Chickpea and Crispy Polenta Bowls with Asparagus + Ranch Hummus |

Ok, but let’s talk about pretty things now.

Spicy BBQ Chickpea and Crispy Polenta Bowls with Asparagus + Ranch Hummus |

Like these bowls.

I am in love with these bowls.

Spicy BBQ Chickpea and Crispy Polenta Bowls with Asparagus + Ranch Hummus |

Alright fine, obviously I am in love with the food in the bowls, but I know you guys know that by now.

Spicy BBQ Chickpea and Crispy Polenta Bowls with Asparagus + Ranch Hummus |

This is everything I could want in a meal. It’s colorful, easy, quick, ridiculously healthy, a little spicy and I mean… there is pan-fried polenta going on. So good.

The BBQ sauce is heavy on the Cajun spices because lately I am really feeling those, but if you want to tone down the heat just a tad, reduce the spices a bit. If chickpeas are not your thing, shrimp would be so good, as would chicken. I gave the chicken version to everybody who does not eat beans, which is basically everyone but me. The ranch hummus adds the perfect bit of coolness to the bowls and the asparagus? Well, I am just really feeling springy these days. Like all I want is Spring. Spring colors, spring food, spring weather!

Bring it on… too bad it won’t actually be HERE for 3 more months.

Spicy BBQ Chickpea and Crispy Polenta Bowls with Asparagus + Ranch Hummus |

BBQ Chickpea and Crispy Polenta Bowls with Asparagus + Ranch Hummus.

Prep Time 5 minutes
Cook Time 25 minutes
Total Time 30 minutes
Servings: 4 Servings
Calories Per Serving: 829 kcal

Nutritional information is only an estimate. The accuracy of the nutritional information for any recipe on this site is not guaranteed.

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Ranch Hummus

  • 1 1/2 cups cooked cannellini/great northern beans (or 1 can drained and rinsed)
  • 2 tablespoons tahini sesame paste
  • 2 tablespoons greek yogurt or sour cream I like greek yogurt, leave out for vegan version
  • 1 lemon juiced
  • 1 clove garlic minced or grated
  • 2 teaspoons dried parsley
  • 3/4 teaspoon dried dill
  • 1/2 teaspoon onion powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried chives
  • 1/2 teaspoon pepper
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/3 cup olive oil


  • 1 bunch asparagus ends trimmed
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil divided
  • Good pinch of salt and pepper
  • 1 1/2 cups of [your favorite BBQ sauce |]
  • 1 tablespoon rounded creole seasoning
  • 1 tablespoon rounded cajun seasoning
  • Pinch of cayenne pepper
  • 1 pound tube polenta cut into 1/2 inch slices (use 2 tubes for a hungrier crowd), 1
  • 1/4 cup parmesan cheese grated (leave out for vegan version)
  • 3 cups cooked chickpeas or 2 cans of rinsed + drained chickpeas
  • 4 cups fresh arugula spinach or your favorite greens
  • 1 pint grape tomatoes halved
  • 1 avocado sliced
  • 2-4 ounces sharp cheddar cheese shredded (leave out for vegan version)


  • To make the hummus add the beans, tahini, greek yogurt, lemon juice, garlic, parsley, dill, onion powder, chives, pepper and salt to the bowl of a food processor. Puree the mixture until smooth, scrapping down the sides if necessary. With the machine running stream in the olive oil until smooth. Taste and season with salt and pepper if desired. Place in the fridge until ready to use.
  • For the bowls, preheat the oven to 400 degrees.
  • Place the asparagus in a roasting pan or on a baking baking sheet and toss with the 1 tablespoon olive oil, salt and pepper. Roast in the preheated oven for 25-30 minutes or until tender and crisp. Remove and chop into thirds.
  • While asparagus are roasting, add the BBQ sauce, creole seasoning, cajun seasoning and a pinch of cayenne to a glass measuring cup. Place the chickpeas in a medium bowl and toss with half the BBQ sauce or enough to completely coat the chickpeas. Reserve the remaining sauce.
  • Heat a medium sized skillet over medium heat. Add 1 tablespoon olive oil and the polenta slices. Let them sit undisturbed for 5 minutes. Flip and sear another 5, or until lightly crisped and golden on both sides. Remove and keep warm.
  • To the skillet add the chickpea mixture and cook for about 5-10 minutes or until the BBQ sauce has a thick + sticky coating over the chickpeas. Remove from the heat and stir in one more tablespoon of the BBQ sauce.
  • To assemble place some arugula in the bottom of you bowls. Add the warm + crispy polenta rounds. asparagus, tomatoes, warm BBQ chickpeas and avocado slices. Add a dollop of the Ranch Hummus and sprinkle the cheddar cheese or parmesan cheese on top. Serve with the remaining BBQ sauce.

Spicy BBQ Chickpea and Crispy Polenta Bowls with Asparagus + Ranch Hummus |

So for now, and probably for a while, this is as close as I am going to get. But hey, I’ll take it.

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  1. 5 stars
    This was totally delicious, loved the hummus and the whole concept. The asparagus timing sounds so long to me though, I only roasted mine for 10 mins and it was great for my tastes!

  2. Well, here I was looking for polenta recipes and I got to read about scars! that was unexpected. Now I’m thinking about my own unique scars along with planning to make this sometime!

    1. HI Myra! I recommend using the oil for best flavor. Please let me know if you have any other questions. I hope you love this recipe! Thank you! xTieghan

    1. Hi there. No I believe this is the wrong calculation. We are looking into it. Sorry for the trouble.

  3. Just had to say thank you so much for this recipe. I subbed (sautéed then braised) brussel sprouts for asparagus, because thats what is in season, and used the leftover braising liquid (stock) to make the fresh polenta. It was so delicious! Glad I used this recipe to meal prep for the whole week!

  4. Made this tonight for dinner. It was marvelous – and much simpler to make than I anticipated! Excellent recipe, and great instructions!

  5. I made this for my family the other day! It was sooo delicious, especially those chickpeas. Even got my brothers to eat it. Thanks for the awesome recipe!

  6. This is the first time I have been on your blog- what beautiful bowls! I have some pretty weird scars too, and it’s funny because now that I think about it, I don’t really think about my scars that often. They’re more of an occasional ‘oh, that happened’ thing, even if the event was, like you said, something that ‘makes me me’. I have some polenta in my kitchen and this sounds amazing so I think this is what I’m going to make for dinner tonight… 🙂

  7. Hi there! Love the recipe.

    Just a quick question — I don’t know what ‘tube polenta’ is (it might be an American thing?) so would you recommend making up a batch of instant polenta or something else?

    1. Yup! That will work great! Hope you love this and thanks!

      Oh and let me know if you have any more questions.

  8. More vegan friendly recipes please. I really love your cooking style but I am only able to work with a handful of recipes. Everything I’ve made from here has been a hit. I would love to see more easly veganizable recipes like this!

    1. So happy you loved this and I will be adding some more vegan recipes soon (or easily turned vegan)!
      Thanks Ashley!

  9. What a beautiful, delicious meal!! I’m ADDICTED to this ranch hummus! Having it for lunch right now, and I know it will be my go-to hummus recipe from now on! Thanks!

  10. This is without a doubt our new favourite dinner, we are making it right now for the third time in just a few days! Chickpeas are the best!

  11. Hubby made this tonight. Was doubtful about the BBQ garbanzos, loved the hummus and this is SURE to be a household Regular Repeat Performer. Good stuff!

  12. Such a lovely combination of color and texture and flavor. I want this, double the polenta!!

  13. I eat approximately 95% of my meals out of bowls! I’m obsessed with vegan bowls of deliciousness. I’m aways looking for ways to jazz up my “Buddha Bowls” or put an international spin on them.

    This looks awesome. And I love polenta -so underused and underrated!

  14. Scars tell the story of our lives, and our strength 🙂

    My gosh that bowl looks good! I want to jump through the screen and eat it right now!

  15. Wanted to report that I made this for lunch yesterday and it was soooo good. I prepped as much as I could in advance, made the hummus, mixed together the bbq sauce and sauteed the chick peas and broiled the asparagus (to save time). Then went to a spin class. After class I warmed the chick peas and asparagus and fried the polenta and assembled my bowl. YUM!!!!!!!! Love it. Can not wait for lunch today.
    Thanks for posting!

  16. Why have I never thought of chickpeas + BBQ?? Definitely trying this! I always have polenta, BBQ sauce, and chickpeas on hand, so this is one of those “hmmm…I don’t have many groceries…so what can I make?” recipes :-). Will try this soon! I’m going to make your mango salsa short ribs in lettuce wraps next week. My husband loves short ribs…as do I!

  17. They are beautiful healthful bowls! Love it!

    I love your uniqueness of explaining that scars can tell a story versus of judging somebody!

  18. BBQ chickpeas? Count me in! I also agree with your thoughts on scars – they tell quite the story. Thanks for seeing the beauty in that!

  19. So…I know it says ‘Four large bowls’ – buuut do I have to share the bowls, or can I just eat them like a super awesome degustation one after the other?
    I love scars too. We have a plethora of them in my family and each of them definitely tells a story that makes the bearer unique. I think scars and bruises and stretch marks are just our way of writing our life on our bodies.

  20. This might be the greatest thing I’ve ever seen! Since becoming vegetarian one of the things I miss most is barbecue sauce. It’s so hard to know what to put it on without meat! Thanks for the great recipe!

  21. What’s up chickpea twin! Clearly your recipe looks waaaay more divine than mine! I have only one noteable scar but my husband has tons and so do my brothers…. must be a guy thing.

  22. I’m digging so many of the words in the title! BBQ, spicy, crispy, asparagus, ranch…MMMM. And I love your outlook on scars. I used to be more self-conscious about the (albeit minor) ones I have, but I’ve started to realize they’re just a part of who I am and my “story”. Awesome post, Tieghan. 🙂

  23. This looks soo delicious and colourful Tieghan! I will be honest, I am in love with your photography! It’s stunning.

  24. All of my scars are cooking scars. Lots of oven burn marks on my forearm, and one beaut on my left index finger, from slicing an avocado in the dumbest way possible. Right down to the bone, it went. (If it were anything other than the main ingredient for guac, I’d shun avocado forever as revenge. 😉 )

  25. I feel the same way about scars…though none of mine are quite as gnarly as my brother or husbands. I also feel that way about my tattoos, they remind me of where/who I’ve been (but to each their own).

    This looks so good! I love food in bowls too, partially because it’s easy to eat while I catch up on TV shows at night 😉 But also because you always get a good mix of things. I am definitely going to BBQ sauce up my chickpeas, soon!

    1. I can totally see that with tattoos, but I am fearful of getting a stupid one that I would regret. That and my decision making skills are terrible. I love my brothers tattoos that have meaning to them. I think they tell you something about him.

      Thanks Cindy!

  26. Love these bowls, so many awesome colors and flavors going on! Enjoyed reading your thoughts on scars and how the make us who we are. Lovely blog post! 🙂

  27. Holy mouthwatering! Whatever I have for lunch today isn’t gonna hold a candle to these bowls, that’s for sure. Such amazing flavors in this dish, Tieghan! Great job, girl!

  28. First: I NEED that bowl! It looks gorgeous, amazingly tasty and super healthy! just what I´m craving for today.

    Second: I agree wholeheartedly with you about scars, they tell a story, they give the person character like you said. I have a HUGE scar in my shoulder and I love it, it´s really part of who I am, it reminds me every day of how valuable life is, and how lucky I am to be alive.

  29. I cannot wait to make this! I LOVE bbq chickpeas and polenta is one of my favorite things right now!

  30. I feel the same way about freckles why try to hide them they make That scar is huge and does look like it must’ve been painful to get. Love the meatless bowl..looks so yummy with all that bbq sauce.

  31. This looks delicious! I’m tempted to wait until this summer when I have fresh arugula and cherry tomatoes from my garden to use, but I may have to have a “test run” or two before. Thanks for a great vegetarian dish. I’m an omnivore (borderline carnivore sometimes), but I do enjoy vegetarian meals every so often.

  32. I have so many minor scars from cooking, Tieghan, and they always take AGES to fade! Food blogging battle wounds … haha! The healthy food blow looks wonderful …. so colourful apart from anything else. Those chickpeas look heavenly!

  33. I am in love with this meal! Filling and healthy and lots of different flavors mixed in.
    I that way with scars too. I need to know somebody for awhile before I ask them about their scar, but once I do, I feel like I know them even better. I have a handful of weird looking scars, most of them from stuff that I probably shouldn’t have been doing.

  34. I have to try making hummus, for some reason it scares me, but we love the stuff around here. Now I want to know how that person got that scar!

  35. A kid I teach has a scar just like the one in the lead photo… he fell out of a tree and had his bone protruding out his arm. Gross. But these bowls look magnificent! Love them!

  36. That scar is hyooge! My arms hurt just looking at it. But, you are right, scars are a part of who we are!
    Your bowls are always SO gorgeous! The spicy BBQ chickpeas? GENIUS. Pinned!

  37. Love these bowls, what an amazing selection of ingredients! I LOVE roasted asparagus.

    (also, totally with you on the scar thing. They bring back memories!)