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.

The Frugal Vegetarian

I recently did a price comparison on vegetarian eating versus meat eating. My mom and I went to the supermarket together and we each bought the foods we wanted to eat. I got a bag of dry lentils for $1.45. She got a tub of turkey cold cut for $2.68. My immediate savings: $1.23. But it's also of note that the bag of lentils will provide roughly 10-12 servings and will not go bad for several years. While the tub of cold cut will only provide about 4-6 servings and will go bad in about a week.

I got two cans of beans. One of black and one of garbanzo at $0.83 each. She got a package of perdue breaded chicken cutlets at $2.98. My initial savings: $1.32. Beyond just the dollar outlay, she got 4 servings of chicken. I got about 8 servings of beans.

I purchased two bags of store brand frozen vegetables at $1.68 each. One bag of 16 ounces of peas and one of broccoli. She opted for a package of turkey sausage at $3.99 for 16 ounces. I only saved 63 cents over her purchase, however I came home with roughly 10 servings and she got only 3.

She bought 2 crab cakes at 98 cents each. I got a package of cheese at $2.48. Her initial monetary outlay was 52 cents lower. But I got 8 servings of cheese while she came home with just 1 or 2 servings of crab cakes depending on your appetite.

She bought a rotisserie cooked chicken breast at a very fair price of $1.69. I chose a jar of peanut butter at $1.99. She saved 30 cents on the purchase price. But she got only just 1 serving of food while I came away with at least a dozen.

So don't fall into that trap where you think eating vegetarian is more costly. Quite the opposite is true. It's good for your body. It's good for the animals. It's good for the environment. And it's good for your budget too.