Mexindian Summer Salad

While I love to cook, the summer heat causes me to avoid using the the stove and oven as much as possible. Instead, I opt for fresh produce that I can chop and mix without applying heat. This isn't too difficult when you cook with mostly beans and vegetables.

This one has a really nice sauce that has two of my favorite spices: paprika and turmeric. I love this combination. It's a really accessible way to quickly introduce heaps of flavor and depth. Especially if you're not that comfortable with combining a lot of spices. This simplifies it, but still keeps it interesting. 

It's easy to put together too. Just combine all ingredients and let rest in the fridge overnight. This allows time for the tomatoes to release their juices, the acid to wake up the spices and the starches from the beans to thicken the sauce. 

Vegan cooking is a unique situation. Traditional techniques don't necessarily work. We have to approach the ingredients from a different perspective in order …

Good Veggie Prepared and Junk Foods

All prepared and junks food are not necessarily bad. In fact, some are pretty darn good for you. The trick is to know which ones. It's not hard to figure out. Just read the ingredients and nutritional info. Look for short ingredient lists that consist only of things you can pronounce. Look for low sodium and fat contents. And of course looks for flavors you know you'll enjoy and fair prices on the things you want to buy.

Favorite healthy convenience foods I've discovered so far in no particular order.

Seapoint Farms Edammame. Dry roasted soy beans are the snack that kicks all other snacks to the curb. Full of protein, a complete amino profile and lots of iron. They crunch like nuts, but have very little fat. They satisfy better than chips. They taste great, especially the wasabi flavor if you like heat. The small package is a fooler. A handful at a time is all it takes. There is at least a weeks worth of snacking inside that little pouch.

Near East rice and couscous mixes. They generally have very short ingredients lists and are mostly vegan or vegetarian. The flavors are great. You can be couscous on cooking time (about 10 minutes total).

Kitchens of India pouches are a small, but very tasty two serving of wholesome Indian flavor deliciousness. Their ingredients lists are super brief. All the ingredients are wholesome and simple. They are mostly vegetarian or vegan and packed with healthy beans, protein and iron. They are a little high in sodium, but served over plain rice that shouldn't be an issue.

Believe it or not, Lays Lightly Salted Potatoes Chips makes my list. With just a few simple ingredients and not that much fat if you don't eat too many they offer some respectable nutrition. Vitamins E and C, iron and a little bit of protein. Choosing the lightly salted will save your body a lot of sodium and they actually taste better. There's a better balance between the salt, potatoes and oil - each component shines.

Hormel Vegetarian Chili with Beans is so convenient and boasts a lot of protein, tangy chili flavor and a pretty low price. There aren't too many ingredients and most are authentic.

Lightlife brand makes a wide variety of convenience foods that are environmentally conscience, low fat, delicious, fair priced and free of most mystery ingredients and preservatives. Their soy based 'hamburger' patties are to die for. Their faux cold cuts and hot dogs contain no nitrates and use cane juice in place of refined sugar.

Canned beans are the world's cheapest, healthiest convenience food. Just open the can, rinse and eat. Rinsing 3-4 times will cut down on the sodium. You can eat them straight out of the can. You can add them to virtually anything. They also make phenomenal sandwiches. Garbanzos in a salad. Black beans in a stir fry. Pinto beans in mashed potatoes. There is nowhere you can't add beans and enjoy them.