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.

Lemon Garlic Pasta with Peas

This recipe is easy and light and hits the spot when you want something citrusy. Lemon and garlic and wine join forces to make simple pasta shine. I also discovered some new spices which I've added to the mix. New flavors are always exciting.

1/2 box pasta
2 lemons
2 tbls olive oil
1/4 dry white wine
6 cloves smashed, minced garlic
1 cup frozen green peas
salt, pepper, sage

Cook pasta according to package directions. For a one pan dish cook your pasta in an over sized frying pan (sometimes called a chicken fryer pan). They're about 14 inches and have higher sides than a typical frying pan. You can fill them half way with water and cook your pasta in them, amongst other uses.

Set cooked pasta aside in storage container. Retain 1/4 cup of the pasta cooking water in a heat safe measuring cup.

In the same pan add 1 tbl of your oil and heat on medium. When the oil is hot saute your garlic and 1/4 tsp salt. Cook garlic for about 3 minutes.

Add pasta back to garlic/oil pan. Add remaining tbl of oil, pasta water and wine and cook on medium for 3 more minutes.

Remove from heat and stir in your peas. Zest in both lemons and add the juice from both. Add pepper, sage and more salt to taste.

I like to let the whole dish chill in the fridge overnight before eating it. But it can be served immediately while still warm. Season individual portions with marjoram and nutritional yeast.

I also like to garnish each serving with some diced raw white onion, sliced black olives, a few spoonfuls of black beans, a few tsps of nutritional yeast and additional marjoram.