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.

Vinagrette and Mustard Beans

A delicious vegetarian meal is easy and tasty. Low in fat too.

3 tbls vinaigrette dressing - low fat is better
1 tbl spicy mustard
2 packets soy sauce from Chinese takeout
1/4 cup dry pearl barley
1/4 cup dry lentils
1/4 cup dry white rice
1/3 cup frozen baby carrots
ground pepper, garlic powder and paprika

Pour into large sauce pan 1 cup water, peeper, garlic powder and paprika. Cook lentils and barley in the seasoned water. Bring covered pot to a boil and then lower heat and simmer.

When most of the liquid is gone add dry rice and 1/2 cup more water.

Continue cooking covered for approximately 10 minutes.

Add frozen baby carrot on top on mixture in pot. Add 1/2 cup more water. Cook five minutes more.

In a small bowl whisk together vinaigrette, mustard, soy sauce and a few tsps of each spice.

When there is almost no liquid left in the bot of beans add your vinaigrette mixture. Stir and simmer on low heat for two minutes. Move to cool burner. Add 1 tsp more of each spice. Let sit three minutes before serving. Or store and reheat as needed later.

This meatless delight lasts several weeks in the fridge and packs a wallop of complex proteins.