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.

Sweet and Hot Pepper Puree

Aldi had a one pound bag of sweet mini peppers for $1.69, so it seemed like a great reason for a puree. The peppers were all reds, oranges and yellows so I knew they would taste great.

I diced some for a broth I made for cooking barley and beans, but that's another post.

I wanted a sauce that I could put on salads, bagels, use for dipping and on sandwiches.

10 sweet mini peppers roasted
5 large cloves garlic roasted
1 cup cilantro leaves
1/2 japalpeno
1 habernero
1 lime - zest and juice
1 tbl canola oil
2 tbls white vinegar
1/4 cup water
salt, pepper

Preheat oven to 400 F. Roast peppers on a sheet tray for 7 minutes. Use a tongs to turn over. Add whole garlic cloves. Roast another 6 minutes.

When peppers have cooled, cut into smaller pieces and discard seeds and stems. Add to blender. Remove cilantro leaves from stems and also add to blender.

Add remaining ingredients.

Puree until smooth. Taste. Add more salt and pepper if needed.

If I had a better blender or a food processor I would omit the water. I might also try 2 limes and no vinegar.

But it turned out great.

You can eat it right away. But it'll thicken up quite a lot if chilled for at least a few hours.  The flavors will also have a chance to marry.