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.

Warm Chick Pea Salad

I've been trying to come up with more meatless dishes. Even though poultry and fish are low fat, I'd still like to consume less meat. Sometimes I just want some veggies and protein without devouring dead flesh.

I don't know about you, but I love chick peas. I pretty much dislike every other bean in the known world, but chick peas are great. Warm, cold, room temp. They are good no matter what. Tasty, full of protein, low fat and freakin cheap!

I've already laid out a nice recipe for faux hummus previously. So here's a new take on the dynamic and frugal chick pea. It's a sort of warm salad or a meatless stew. It can be an entree, side dish or snack. It can be eaten hot or cold. And it tastes great.

Ingredients

1 can chick peas rinsed
1 can diced garlic and onion flavor tomatoes
1 cup frozen baby carrots
1 cup frozen cauliflower
2 garlic cloves minced
1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese


Add your can o tomatoes and frozen vegetables to a warm 12 inch frying. Cover and simmer 10 minutes. Stirring occasionally.

Remove cover. Add garlic. Stir to combine and simmer 2 more minutes.

Add chick peas. Stir to coat everything.

Let simmer 8-10 minutes or until tomato liquid has reduced by 2/3. Move pan to a cool burner. Let stand 2 minutes.

Top with grated Parmesan.

Dish is ready to eat as is or can be chilled.

You'll be pleasantly surprised at how hearty and tasty this is. The carrots are crisp and tasty. The cauliflower is sweetened by the infusion of the tomato sugars. And the chick peas are warm and tender. The garlic adds an extra dimension of flavor and bite.

Other fresh or frozen vegetables can be added to create new tastes. Add fresh onions, peppers. Try some broccoli, potatoes or corn. Chick peas are versatile and go well with many other ingredients. Fresh herbs are great too. They always heighten the flavor. Rosemary, thyme or oregano all sound like promising additions.

You could even puree the whole mixture for a delicious soup.

Whatever you do with it, a few more vegetables and a little less meat can't be a bad thing.