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.

The Magic of Nutritional Yeast

The conundrum with veganism is the fundamental lack of cheese. Let's face it, even if we find cow's milk utterly repulsive, most of us have a weakness for cheese. With an endless array of varieties, textures and flavors cheese is one of those foods that most people adore. Creamy and rich and melty good. No doubt the reason many vegetarians don't make that leap is because of cheese.

Here are some simple substitutes which may satisfy that craving.

Hummus. Straight from the package this stuff is delicious. Creamy, silky, rich and flavorful. Not only does it pack exceptional taste, it's also has practical applications. It keeps the beans from rolling off the bread on a bean sandwich.

Peanut butter or almond butter. Much like hummus it too, can help make a vegan sandwich structurally sound. It lends a smooth, rich texture and tons of flavor. Nut butters also play well with stimulating counterpoints like garlic faux bacon.

Nutritional yeast is often touted as the vegan cheese. There are numerous vegan mac and cheese recipes which utililize it as the main ingredient. Sprinkle it on chili for a cheddar like topping. Add some hot sauce for kick. Mix it with dill pickles on a sandwich for a tart and cheesy goo. Combine it with hummus for an indulgent cheese like sauce. Go nuts and use yeast, hummus and pickle. It's amazing.

Mix peanut butter, garlic powder and yeast for an out of this world toast topper. Combiine spicy mustard, yeast, olive oil and hot sauce for an awesome awesome dressing.

Add it to polenta for a new dimension. Mix it in black bean burgers. Nutritional yeast is that one ingredient that goes in almost anything and never fails to make to it that much better.

Experiment with various flavor profiles. Go crazy. Let us know your favorite.