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.

Vegan Split Pea and Potato Soup

Split pea soup is a hearty and healthy meal and vegan would be glad to eat. It takes a little time, but it's not hard at all. You just have to be patient and your tastebuds will be rewarded.

1/2 dried split yellow peas (soaked at least 24 hours)
1 can vegetable broth
1 can diced potatoes
3 cloves garlic
1/4 cup frozen bell peppers
1/2 medium white onion diced
salt and pepper
1 tsp olive oil

Heat a large sauce pan containing olive oil on medium high heat. When hot saute onions until translucent. Add garlic and cook 1 minute more.

Add broth and soaked peas. Stir. Cover. Adjust heat to medium and simmer for 20 minutes.

Test peas for softness. They should be tender. If not, add a little water and continue simmering until they are.

When peas are tender turn off heat, but leave pan on warm burner. Use a hand masher or a stick blender to puree the soup until only a smattering of lumps remain.

Add pepper and spices. Stir. Cover. Let sit about 3 minutes or until peppers are heated through. Turn heat to low and stir often if neccessary to thaw and heat peppers.

It's delicious hot straight from the pot or served cold. You can add anything else you like and the flavor will still be good. Beans, corn, asparagus, greens, panko, nuts. It's a flavorful yet neutral base. And a great vegan meal.