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.

Cuban Vegetarian/Vegan Sandwich

Here is my recipe for the perfect vegetarian Cuban sandwich. Picture to come as soon as I get around to extracting it from the camera and adding it to my PC. (Update: I forgot to take a picture of the vegan version. But I found some pics of the vegetarian version with a slice of borden sharp cheese food singles on whole wheath bread.)

One sesame seed bun from the supermarket grocery or your local bakery. It needs to be a fresh bun that's big and covered in tasty sesame seeds.

Layer the bottom with rinsed canned black beans. While buying dried beans may seem more economical, the amount of cooking required negates any savings you might reap. Lentils are the exception. Since lentils only take 20 minutes to cook, the dried kind really do save you money. Anyway, canned lentils are rare in the first place, because of that. Although I did see a can in the market the other day. Food is always evolving.

So you layer the bottom of your fresh sesame seed bun with a small bunch of black beans. About 2 tablespoons worth for an average size bun. Sprinkle beans generously with nutritional yeast flakes. About 1 tablespoon worth. A few grinds of black pepper. Then layer with half a kosher pickle spear worth of slices. I like Mount Olive zesty garlic spears. But whatever you prefer. The acidic juice from the pickles mixes with the yeast to make a great dressing. Then sprinkle with imitation bacon bits. Great crunch and good flavor. Finish with some raw white onion slices. A truly delicious sandwich if ever there was one.

You've got to try it. Whether you are vegetarian, vegan or otherwise culinarily inclined. It's really, really good sammie regardless.