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 Seasoning Quick Broth

Here's a nifty trick I use when I want the flavor of broth, but don't have any on hand. Vegetable broth is mostly salt with a few other spices thrown in. It's nothing all that special and isn't usually worth the price they charge. But it has a lot of flavor to impart to bland foods like lentils, barley and rice.

When I want the taste of broth without the expense I reach for montreal seasonings. Montreal steak or chicken seasonings by McCormick or a knock off brand are an easy way to create an instant broth. Just add a few teaspoons to water and you're good to go. They seem overpriced and they are, but there are many many servings in that little jar.

You could save even more by mixing your own. Just read the ingredients on the jar and replicate it.

It's a great way to cook lentils and barley. Really adds a lot of flavor. I like to use some additional spices and stuff too. I try to create a kind of cajun dirty rice flavor. Some mustard greens. Paprika, chili powder, cayenne powder, onion powder, garlic powder, dry thyme, fresh garlic, a little lousiana hot sauce.

I sprinkle with soy bacon bits just before eating.

Really good. Really cheap. Really easy.