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.

Houlihans

Here's an interesting factoid about Houlihan's restaurant. Their vegetarian burger actually has more fat and more calories than the regular plain hamburger. Curious indeed. I suspect it's all the cheese and bbq sauce they smother on top of it. But I can't prove it.

As I recall it's a really tasty veggie burger that doesn't really need all the accourtrements they pile onto it. It comes standard with both provolone and cheddar cheese and bbq sauce too. I had it plain... no cheese and no sauce and thought it was very good. An ooey, gooey mess of legumes and veggies that more than satisfied.

I especially like that you can switch out the french fries for baked potato or seasonal vegetables. That's a nice detail.

It's also nice how they illustrate on their menus what is vegetarian and also what can be modified to be vegan. It's considerate.

Their food is more expensive than most chain restaurants, but it also taste better. It should as it features way more calories, fat and sodium than the rest. I was hard pressed to find anything on their mesnu that resemebled a normal human meal.

The jumbo panko fried shrimp was all I could find that had reasonable numbers for the entire plate. A half of a burger qualified. But you only get to eat half at a sitting and the side needed to be light. Half a portion of many items were not too bad. But sometimes it's hard to just eat half.

The veggie club sandwich sounded very good. With its hummus and multi grain bread. I suppose much of the fat and calories were from the cheeses they felt compelled to add to it. And imagine it's much lighter if you leave them off.

Overall, I do appreciate the effort. As small as it may be. Even a few veg choice are nice. Any given restaurant can definitely offer more. It's not so strange.

But lower fat and lower cal would also be nice. If your chefs can't make great tasting food without that much fat, calories and sodium, then it's time to hire new chefs.