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.

Leftover Tomato Sauce Uses

Here's a dilemna I often find myself in. I use half or 3/4 a jar of tomato sauce and don't know what to do with the rest. Freezing it has pretty unsavory results. It loses all flavor.

It's not a bad idea to use it as a sandwich condiment. Spread it on bread like you would mayo or mustard. Then add your other sandwich fillers. I find tomato sauce works best with kaiser rolls or toasted wheat bread. Generously lather both sides. Add black beans or kidney or pinto. Season with garlic powder. Drizzle with hot sauce. Finish with lettuce and any other fresh produce you have on hand. Corn, onion, pepper. You can't go wrong with fresh crunchy vegetables to top your sandwich.

Another interesting use for left over pasta sauce is to use it as a salad dressing. Assemble your salad as you nomrally would. Crisp lettuce, bell pepper, crunchy carrots, rich olive.s Or whatever makes a good salad in your mind. Add a teaspoon or two of the jar sauce. Then dilute with some hot sauce and vinegar. All kinds of vinegar play nicely. Red, white, balsamic, apple cider. It makes a really nice salad dressing that both sweet and savory.

One more great use for that left over tomato sauce is to dress potatoes and beans. If I have a batch of nicely roasted or sauteed potatoes I really enjoy smothering them in some pasta sauce. It's a really nice combination. I might add other things. Like broccoli or sauteed garlic or beans. But a lot of folks don't realize how nicely potatoes pair with tomato sauce.