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.

Salad Wonders

I've been eating super light over the last month or two. Trying to shed a few unwanted pounds. When I lost my job I kinda went into binge mode. It's a good lesson in even if it's vegetarian that doesn't mean you can pig out. Calories are calories regardless of the source.

What's been working for me is a big breakfast, followed by lighter lunch and dinner.

To that end I've been incorporating a lot of salad into my daily food intake. I've discovered that a hearty salad can be quite filling without the burden of as many calories as other meal choices.

A really big salad of romaine, carrots and broccoli will fill me up for hours and hours, yet I've eaten far less calories than I normally would

I'll usually sprinkle the salad with some beans or diced roasted potato or vegetarian chili.

For dressing hot sauce and vinegar are great. A little sprinkle of nutritional yeast ties it all together.

But don't let your salad stagnate. Mix it up. The romaine base is open to so many possible additions. Red pepper, cucumber, jalapeno, red cabbage, tofu, apple, avocado, mango, the list can go on and on.

A great dessert for dieting is peanut butter on whole grain bread. Peanut butter is incredibly delicious on a slice of rye bread. I try to use way less than the serving size on the jar. A teaspoon or maybe 2. Just to lightly cover the surface of the bread.

It's funny how gaining weight is so easy, yet losing it so difficult. Some strange Darwinism at work in that respect.

But what I've learned is the salad done right can be quite satisfying. I didn't think it was possible, but with the right lettuce and the right additions and a careful eye toward restraint, a lunch or dinner of mostly salad can be more filling than you've ever imagined possible.