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.

Secret to Delicious Brown Rice

I'm not a huge fan of brown rice. I know that it's good for you. I know I should eat it over white rice. But I struggle with the flavor. It's just sooo brown. I've tried cooking it in vegetable broth rather than water. Didn't help much. Felt like a waste of the broth because the rice still tasted very brown.

The only remedy I've found for this is tomato. It can be tomato sauce or canned tomatoes. Just something about tomatoes make brown rice taste really good. Other flavors can be added and they are actually discernable. I don't know why, but brown rice loves tomatoes and tomatoes love brown rice. Once you complete that combination anything is possible.

The other day I made spicy brown rice with jalapeno flavored canned tomatoes. I really like the jalapeno tomatoes. Unlike other flavor varieties of canned tomatoes they have no added sugar or corn syrup and a respectably short ingredient list. Basically just tomatoes, chilis and some salt.

Because of the brown rice this recipes takes a little bit of time, but it's still easy, low fat and all takes place in one pot.

1 cup dry brown rice
2 cups water
1 can jalapeno flavored canned diced tomatoes
3 cloves diced garlic
1/3 cup frozen mustard greens
1/2 cup frozen peas
1 packet or 1 tsp soy sauce
2 tbls spicy mustard
1 tsp balsamic vinegar
1 tsp olive oil
juice from one lemon

Add rice and water to a large pot. Cover and bring to a boil. Once it has come to a boil let cook covered at a simmer for 20 minutes.

Add olive oil and mustard greens. Continue simmering for 10 more minutes.

Add tomato. Cook 5 more minutes.

Add garlic, vinegar, mustard, soy sauce, lemon juice. Cook 5 minutes more.

Turn off heat. Leave on hot burner. Add peas. Stir. Cover and let warm for 2 more minutes. Move contents to cool storage container.

It's important to barely defrost the frozen peas. You want bright green, vibrant, crunchy peas. If you let them cook too long they will turn a sickly color of green and be mushy.

This dish is mildy spicy. Packed with whole grain from the rice and lots of protein from the peas. Once taste it, you won't believe it was made with brown rice. The other ingredients really shine through thanks to tomatoes taming properties over brown rice.

Just because we want to eat well, doesn't mean it can't taste great.