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.

Montreal Mashed Potatoes and Chili

Mashed potatoes and chili are a great combination. This recipe uses instant mashed potato flakes and almond milk along with Hormel vegetarian chili to create an enticing duality.

To make the mashed potaotes I bring to a a boil 2 1/2 cups water, 1 tbl margarine and a pinch of salt. This will make about 2 1/2 cups of mashed potatoes.

When that boils I remove it from the heat and add 1/2 cup almond milk, 2 teaspons McCormick Montreal Chicken Seasoning (it's just spices, there's no chicken in it), a few turns of fresh ground black pepper and roughly 2 cups potato flakes. I add the potato flakes gradually until I get the consistency I prefer.

My chili is just the Hormel vegetarian canned chili slightly modified. First I make 1 cup white rice, augmenting it with 1 teaspoon of cumin seeds. When the rice is done cooking I add the can of chili to it, 1/2 cup frozen broccoli, 1/4 cup white vinegar, and 1 teaspoon more of cumin seed.

I let that cook for about 3 minutes and then I put in 1/2 cup frozen yellow corn, 1 teaspoon of lousinana hot sauce and 7 cloves of finely sliced fresh garlic. I loweer the heat and allow everything to steep in the pot for about 3 minutes more before removing it to a cool storage container.

I assemble the dish by adding a few spoonfuls of the mashed potatoes to a square bowl and then adding a few spoonfuls of chili alongside it and then add a few shakes of hot sauce to the chili side and lightly sprinkle both halves with nutritional yeast.

To eat it I like to get a little each of mashed potato and chili in each biteful.

The montreal seasoning is so much better than just adding table salt to your potatoes. The chili and potatoes work so well together. They are really a great pairing. Slightly spicy, very filling. The chili is full of protein and a little bit spicy and a little bit sweet too. The yeast rounds things oout with a cheesy kick. The broccoli and corn add a nice crunch and a healthy dose of fiber. Total comfort food that totaly healthy And absolutely vegan.