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.

Easy Vegan Mac and Cheese

When I googgled macaroni and cheese vegan style I was overwhelmed. All the recipes were so complicated. They had thousands of ingredients and about a million steps to complete. C'mon people... it's mac and cheese. It's supposed to be simple and easy and quick and just plain tasty. Stop over-complicating everything. Delicious vegan mac and cheese does exists and it tastes great.

1/2 box of pasta cooked
1/4 cup almond milk or other dairy free milk
2 tbls vegan buttery spread
5 tbls nutritional yeast
1 tsp spicy mustard
2-5 tbls white vinegar
some reserved pasta cooking water
garlic powder, paprika, salt and pepper

Cook pasta. Small pasta shapes with hole or indents work better, but any kind can be used. Drain pasta and reserve the cooking liquid. Add drained pasta back to hot pot on hot, but turned down to very low burner.

In a mixing bowl whisk together softened buttery spread, almond milk, nutritional yeast, mustard, 1 tbls of hot pasta water and spices. You can add vinegar and additional pasta water in small doses until you are satisfied with the taste and texture. Use pasta water as a thinning agent. Use vinegar to add tang, depth and to thin the sauce. To thicken a sauce you've thinned to much add a corn starch slurry or additional buttery spread.

Pour nutritional yeast cheesy sauce over pasta and warm everything through over very low heat stirring vigorously to coat the pasta.

Sprinkle individual servings with raw panko and/or soy based bacon bits.

Add green peas or other legumes for even more protein. Add broccoli, cauliflower or greens for fiber, crunch and vitamins c and a.

This yeast based sauce is tasty, easy and versatile. Enjoy its cheesy, tangy, sweet taste over pasta, rice, and vegetable. Try it on everything. You won't be disappointed.