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.

Black Bean and Corn Salad (Vegan)

Black bean and corn salad. Not a new concept by any means. But this is streamlined and simplified and 100% vegan. I also added some rice to bulk it up. Veggies are great, but rice costs less. This salad still contains plenty of crisp and crunchy produce. The rice adds filing bulk, saves money and layers on another texture.

Ingredients
1 can black beans well rinsed
1 cup frozen corn niblets
2/3 cups frozen red/green bell peppers
12 cloves fresh garlic
1 cup jasmine rice
1 3/4 cups water
1 lime
olive oil
hot sauce
chili powder, onion powder, paprika, garlic powder, salt and pepper

Cook rice in water. When rice is done cooking add garlic, frozen corn and frozen peppers. Return still hot pot to still warm, but turned off burner on stove, cover and let sit about 5 minutes. When frozen veg are thawed, remove from stove and pour pot contents into a heat/fridge safe storage container.

Add zest from lime and all the juice you can squeeze from it.

Add a drizzle of olive oil - just enough to barely lubricate the entire bowl of salad.

Add hot sauce and spices. Adding slowly and tasting often.

Chill in fridge for at least 4 hours before serving.

Sprinkle individual servings with panko breadcrumbs or imitation bacon bits.