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.

Garbanzo Bean and Barley Salad with Lime

I love lime. It's the bomb. It's way better than any bottled dressing you can buy. Try it and you'll see. Combine fresh lime juice, lime zest, olive oil, salt and pepper and tell me it isn't the best salad dressing you've ever had. Make sure to let all the combined ingredients chill for a little while. It makes a big difference. Sometimes I also like to add some hot sauce and or some basil. You can also switch things up by using lemon instead of lime. I find the lemon to be just as good, but a milder flavor.

A great way to use your lime dressing is on a chilled bean and barley salad. Here's how.

1 can garbanzo beans rinsed
1 lime
5 cloves garlic
1/2 medium red onion
1 cup lightly sauteed broccoli
1 cup cooked pearl barley
6 black olives sliced
olive oil
salt, pepper and basil
hot sauce (optional)
chopped almonds (optional)

Use a medium sized bowl or storage container to combine your salad ingredients. We will both make and store our salad in this container. So use something fridge safe that has a lid. Combine beans, barley, onion, all juice and zest from one lime and 1 tsp olive oil. Stir to combine and lubricate all ingredients. Use a garlic press to add in your garlic. Pressing the garlic really brings out the flavor and adds to the heat. For a milder garlic flavor saute it first and then slice it in.

Season with salt and pepper. Stir and taste. Add hot sauce and basil if desired. Adjust salt, pepper and olive oil to taste.

Finiish with the sliced black olives and chopped almonds as desired. It's a simple salad that's easy to make and tastes really good and fills you up. I love the tang of the lime and the kick of the garlic. The black olives add richness and the almond give it texture. A hearty and flavorful vegan summer salad.