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.

Bagel Croutons

I'm a fan of Thomas' Bagels. I don't think that they are actually bagels or should legally be allowed to be called bagels. They are not bagels. This much is clear. They are however, pretty tasty rolls.

They also feature a lot of calories. So in my effort to keep my caloric consumption low I decided to toast one and remove the innards.

I was left with a crispy shell of bread on which to enjoy my sandwich and a handful of toasty bread chunks to save for later. I used them as croutons on a salad.

It all worked out very nicely.

Rather than waste your time with bagel thins or lite bread I recommend modifying ordinary bread products. Bagel thins are just awful. They are not good at all. However hollowing out a toasted packaged bagel yields similar calorie savings with a much better taste. And you get some nice croutons for your efforts.

The problem with lite bread is that it's just smaller bread. Stick with normal bread and make a less dense sandwich or eat less sides with it.

The perfect sandwich is as follows.... One toasted Thomas's onion bagel hollowed out inside. One Tbl roasted garlic hummus spread inside it. 1/4 Tsp hot sauce spread into the hummus. Two spoonfuls of rinsed black beans on top of that. 1 sliced clove of roasted garlic. One slice pepper jack cheese.  3 rounds raw sweet onion. One generous clump of iceberg lettuce to top it all off.

Best sandwich you'll ever experience.