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.

Romaine and Yellow Rice

I made a really beautiful and delicious dish today. As per my usual modus operandi it was mostly from scratch, but not entirely so. The base was Carolina rice yellow rice. It was on sale for 68 cents for the 5 ounce packet. It is vegan as far as I can tell. Just rice and some spices.

Then I went nuts in the produce section as there were a lot of great sales. A head of romaine for just 75 cents. Jalapeno pepper for 9 cents. Head of garlic for 30. Yellow onion for 40. And a sweet orange bell pepper for only 80 cents. A lime for only 33 cents.

I made a traditional salad with most of the romaine, some of the orange pepper, a little onion and garlic. Make sure to slice the garlic very thin if you're going to leave it uncooked. Or dry roast it in a frying pan for about 3 minutes for a wonderful flavor.

I used the lime in some faux hummus that I made with chickpeas, peanut butter, garlic and spices. Lime zest and juice really makes a great hummus.

The rice mix dish was a vehicle for trying out cooking romaine lettuce. I had heard that it cooks up pretty nicely, but had yet to try it. Now that I had so much I figured what the hey.

So I cooked the yellow rice mix according to the package directions adding about 1/3 cup of lentils to the equation and extra water to compensate.

When the rice/lentils were nearly done I added a minced jalapeno, a few cloves of slice garlic, 1/3 of the diced orange pepper and a handful of onion slivers.

I did a chiffonade on the darker, outer leaves of the romaine and added them and 1/2 cup frozen broccoli to the pot after everything else had finished cooking. Stirring them into the hot mixture, covering the pot and then removing it from the heat.

It turned out really beautiful and very tasty.

When I ate the traditional salad I topped it with some of my lime hummus, a spoonful of the cooled rice mixture and tiny drizzle of balsamic vinaigrette. It was awesome.

The yellow rice mix was also great on a Italian spiced tofurky sandwich made on toasted rye bread and enhanced with some of the lime hummus and a few leftover sprigs of romaine and onion.

No cheese was harmed in the making of any of these dishes.