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.

Hormel Vegetarian (Vegan) Chili

The label says 'vegetarian' and it is, but little does Hormel know that their meat free chili is actually vegan. It's got a pretty short ingredients list (by today's standards) and they all seem pretty wholesome.

Hot peppers, tomato, beans and yummy delicious textured vegetable protein. I'm not kidding. textured vegetable protein is both yummy and delicious. it's not the most eloquent name, but it tastes good and has a nice mouth-feel. they should call it vegetable derived faux meat or just vegetable meat. yeah, i bet people would like that. vegetable meat sounds really good.

Anyway, i cooked and tried hormel brand vegetarian (vegan) chili for the first time today and I thought it was pretty darn good. It was a very mild chili as I expected from a mass produced product. Still it had a nice chili flavor. It was just mild. Easily rectified with a few dashes of hot sauce if you prefer. After tasting it plain over rice, I also added nutritional yeast to mine. Not because it needed the flavor, but just for extra aminos and vitamins. They went well together.

I made mine a complete meal pretty easily. I first began simmering 1 cup white rice in 2 cups water. I let that cook covered until about 1/3 of the water still remained. Then I added some frozen collard greens. Spinach, kale or mustard greens would also work.

I let the rice and greens cook some more. Until nearly all the water was absorbed and then i added the chili into the same pot and continued heating my concoction for approximately 7 minutes longer. Just until any remaining water was gone and the chili contents were thoroughly heated through.

I added my nutritional yeast to my own bowl of chili rather than to the pot. This way individuals can control how much, if any, is in their serving.

It tasted really good. Was very easy to make. Decidely inexpensive. Hormel may say on the label that their meat-free chili is vegetarian and yes, it is, but little do they know, it's also totally vegan.