Sweet and Spicy Tomato and Kidney Bean Salad

One of the best things about not eating meat is that you can make meals without having to actually cook anything. Just cut, combine and stir. Whether you're in a hurry, feeling lazy or just want that fresh crunch, a plant based diet gives you the freedom to cook without literally cooking. 

Especially as the weather gets warmer, it's convenient to just cut and combine. It's also surprisingly tasty to keep those fresh ingredients in their natural state. 

The textures and flavors are vibrant and exciting. 

A little salt, a little acid, some  fat, a spice or two and you're all set with a delicious meal. 

1 can dark red kidney beans
1 pint cherry tomatoes, halved
1 poblano pepper, diced
1/2 yellow onion, diced
1 long hot pepper, diced
1 serrano, minced
3 cloves garlic, minced
2 tbls olive oil
2 1/2 tsps salt
1 1/2 tsps crushed pepper flakes
1 tsp black pepper

Toss all ingredients together in a large bowl. 

That's it. You're done. Enjoy your not so hard work.

Low Fat Hummus

It's not traditional hummus as it doesn't use tahini. It's a great chick pea spread that can be eaten on bread by itself, as a sandwich enhancerTM or as a healthy dip.


1 can chick peas drained and rinsed
low fat or fat free italian salad dressing
1/2 a small onion finely diced
2-3 cloves garlic finely chopped
garlic powder
salt and pepper

optional: 1/2 tsp dijon style mustard for more kick

First thing you need to do is mash your chick peas. If you have a food processor, good for you! Grind your peas that way.

If you are poor, frugal or otherwise kitchen appliance challenged pour your chick peas into a plastic zipper baggie. MAKE SURE THE BAG IS FULLY SEALED! Use a heavy, blunt object (rubber mallet, hammer, meat tenderizer, can o potatoes) to pound your chick peas until all are mush.

Relocate your now mashed chick peas to your mixing bowl. If you can, use a covered mixing bowl so you can just store your finished faux-hummus right in the mixing container.

Add your onions and garlic. Now's also the time to add your optional mustard. Now begin adding your salad dressing. Add several big squirts and mix well. Slowly add a few more squirts until you've achieved the desired consistently. Ideally, you want a creamy consistency, but a little bit lumpy. You want the onions and garlic to kinda cling to the chick pea mash. Try not to exceed 2-4 tablespoons of dressing.

Adding spices is very much determined by personal taste. Add a few pinches of each spice, stir lightly and test to see if it's too your liking. If it suits you add a little more spice.

Optional: Chill before eating. I find this stuff tastes way better chilly. Plus a few hours in the fridge allows the various flavors to mingle and enhance one another.

Spread your faux-hummus on any kind of bread for a delicious sandwich enhancer for your faux meat sandwiches. It also makes a great sandwich by itself - enhance with tomato, lettuce, pickles, avocado or any veggies you prefer on your sandwiches. Use as a dip for veggies or healthy chips.

* Sandwich Enhancer is a trademark of someone somewhere I'm sure.