Happy first day of spring! Are you ready for some sunshine?
Spring is always that season that we love, but it passes so darn quickly. In DC, springtime is absolutely magical. I love how the city comes alive with cherry blossoms and cherry or blossom flavored everything! Seriously, if you have had cherry blossom kombucha or cherry blossom donuts, you are missing out! It is just the best time of year! The worst thing about spring is how fragile it is. Yes, I used the word fragile because it is so true. One minute it is winter (cue today’s Nor’ Easter and 6 inches of snow) and the next, it is blazing hot! The worst last year was when all of the cherry blossoms froze and died RIGHT before peak bloom.
It was devastating.
I think I can say with FULL confidence that I have a polenta addiction. It is pretty bad. I have made polenta into tamale burrito bowls. I have made it into breakfast. I’ve even used it as the base for curry. And, time and time again, I have cooked polenta on the stove like a heathen! Well, now, I have to tell y’all that I have a new favorite method for making polenta. And it involves our old friend the Instant Pot.
Can you have a love affair with a kitchen appliance? Well, with my Instant Pot, that is a resounding YES!
Cooking polenta via the Instant Pot is a game changer. I know a bunch of you have told me you are scared of cooking polenta (this is the brand I use), afraid that you are going to burn it. If you are one of these types of people, you should try cooking polenta this way! GOODBYE having to stand over the stove, worrying if the polenta is lumpy or burning. You just whisk the polenta into the water, add seasonings, and go! You have perfect polenta in 15 minutes. Feel free to add whatever buttery/creamy/cheesy things your heart desires. However, I find just a pat of butter and a ton of black pepper work wonderfully.
I then top the polenta with these insanely good BBQ chickpeas. Growing up in Arkansas, I have always had a knack for BBQ flavored anything. There was this little BBQ shack near our house that used to make the BEST pulled pork. But of course, the star of the show, was the sticky, sweet sauce. And BBQ sauce is honestly what makes these chickpeas so darn good. I douse them in some delicious smoky seasonings, roast them until they are nice and toasty, and then smother BBQ sauce all over them. And trust me, the sweetness of the BBQ sauce with the sweetness of the polenta is a total mouth pleaser! Because doesn’t BBQ just feel like summers out at the pool? You betcha!
And here we go again… skipping seasons.
15 minPrep Time
30 minCook Time
45 minTotal Time
- 1 can chickpeas, drained and rinsed (or 1.5 cups cooked chickpeas)
- 1 tablespoon avocado oil
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- 1/4 teaspoon pepper
- 1 teaspoon smoked paprika
- 1 teaspoon garlic powder
- 1/3 cup BBQ sauce
- 1 cup polenta (not quick-cooking)
- 1 teaspoon salt
- Freshly ground black pepper
- 1 tablespoon unsalted butter
- 1 bunch arugula
- soft boiled eggs
- pickled onions
- roasted veggies
Preheat the oven to 425 degrees F. Line a baking sheet with foil or parchment paper.
Place the chickpeas on a paper towel and pat the as dry as you can.
Put the chickpeas on a baking sheet and drizzle with avocado oil or the oil of your choice. Sprinkle on the salt, pepper, paprika, and garlic powder, and toss well to coat. Make sure the chickpeas are in a single layer. Bake for 15 to 20 minutes, toss well and flip, then bake for another 15 to 20 minutes
Remove the chickpeas and lightly toss in 1 to 2 tablespoons of BBQ sauce.
Whisk polenta and 4 cups water in Instant Pot until combined. Season with 1 tsp. salt and several grinds of pepper. Bring mixture to a simmer over medium-high, whisk again, then seal pressure cooker according to manufacturer’s directions. Cook at high pressure for 9 minutes. When timer goes off, manually release pressure. Carefully open lid and whisk polenta until homogenous and creamy.
To serve, portion polenta into bowls. Top with greens and BBQ chickpeas. Add whatever additional toppings suit your fancy. EAT