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.

Charred Cabbage

Cabbage was abundant and cheap recently because of St.Patrick's Day. So I found myself with a lot of it to somehow make enjoyable. Normally I'll just use it raw. But I've been watching this show from the UK. Masterchef Professionals UK Season 9 and on it one of the chefs did roasted cabbage.

He quartered the head, drizzled it with olive oil, seasoned and roasted it on a sheet pan in a pretty hot oven. It sounded like a brilliant idea, so I thought I'd give it a try. For the sake of having more charred bits of cabbage I decided to roughly chop it first.

I then tossed it with some olive oil, salt, pepper and paprika. Into a 450 F oven on a rack one step up from the bottom it went.

The first time I tried it I set the timer for 10 minutes. It wasn't really browned much at that point. So stir and return to oven. I let it cook another 7 minutes and it was pretty nicely done. Not every piece with be browned. Some will be really darker, others golden and still more just wilted. It's actually a nice combo of textures and flavors. The darker bits are very nutty.

I love this stuff on sandwiches. I haven't been using cheese on my sandwiches lately and this really fills that void. The less cooked pieces are almost creamy in texture. The darker pieces have a nice carmelized, nuttiness that ranges from mild to deep.