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.

Low Fat Hummus (No Tahini) and Vegan

Here's a really simple hummus recipe that doesn't require tahini, but tastes pretty much like the real deal. It's also way lower in fat than classic hummus, yet nearly as delicious.

1 can chick peas, drained, reserving 1/4 cup canning liquid
2 Tbls white vinegar
1-2 Tbls peanut butter
3-5 cloves roughly chopped garlic
Zest and juice from one lemon
salt, pepper, garlic powder, onion powder and chili powder to season

In a blender, food processor or with a stick blender combine chick peas, canning liquid and vinegar until fairly smooth, but still a little chunky.

Scrape down sides of container and stir lightly. Add garlic, lemon juice and 1 Tbl peanut butter. Blend a little more.

Add a little bit of all the seasonings and the lemon zest. Stir lightly. Taste and add more seasonings and other tablespoon of peanut if desired. Remember, the flavors will taste somewhat different after chilling in the fridge. So keep the seasoning and flavors light. A few hours mingling together in your cold box will brighten them up a bunch.

Blend a little more if not smooth enough for you.

Let chill in fridge for at least 4 hours.

This makes about 2 cups of hummus. So yeah, a lot of hummus. Cut measurements in half if you want less.

Best part is it's really inexpensive and it tastes really good. Very fresh.

For a different dimension use roasted or sauteed garlic instead of raw. Or use a lime instead of a lemon for a little Mexican flare.

Spread your low fat hummus on whole wheat bread and it's great just like that. Use in place of mayonnaise or in place of cheese on sandwiches. Make a sandwich with it as the main ingredient. It's a really tasty and versatile puree that works in so many capacities.