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.

Saffron Rice and Red Cabbage

Here's something I've enjoyed on several occasions that's all easy and replete with simple variations.

The base is yellow saffron rice. I get mine for $0.95 for 5 ounces. However, instead of just cooking the rice as directed I like to change things up a bit.

I'll start with an onion broth. I'll save my onion skins, roots and left over pieces. I'll simmer them in 2 cups water for 15-20 minutes.

Then remove the onion bits so only the broth is left. Add dried lentils and the rice packet. Continue cooking untils lentils and rice are tender. Making sure to add more water as needed. During the last 5 minutes of cooking add some frozen or fresh spinach and minced garlic.

The rest is even easier. Spoon your yellow lentil/rice mix onto a plate.. Top with a small handful of shredded raw red cabbage. Then a spoonful of rinsed canned kidney beans.

Drizzle with balsamic vinaigrette if desired.

This is also great inverted. Where you have a big bunch of red cabbage on the botom and a smaller pile of the lentils/rice on top of that. Then your garnish of beans.

Hot sauce is also a welcome addition.