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.

Vegan Celery Root Puree

I've heard a lot about celery root and its puree on various cooking shows. I'd never tasted it or tried it or even seen it in real life. I wasn't even planning on purchasing it when I went to the store. I just wanted something new to try. I saw turnips and was going to give those a go. Right next to them I noticed the celery root and because I'd heard so many good things about it I was swayed to go with that.

I briefly googled recipes. Lots of milk, cream, potatoes. Wasn't into that. I did notice a few incarnations using cauliflower. So I decided that since cauliflower and cabbage are in the same family and I had lots of cabbage that would be the main pairing.

For flavor without the use of cream or butter I went with an onion based broth. I went with a fairly light, weak broth as to not overtake the celeriac.

Broth Ingredients
Small sweet onion skin and 1/4 cup of the flesh diced
3 cloves garlic roughly chopped
2-3 ribs/seeds jalapeno and 1 tbl of the diced flesh
2 tbls dill pickle juice
1/4 cup dry white wine
1 cup water
1/4 tsp each salt and black pepper

Bring all elements to a boil and then lower heat and simmer for 5 minutes.

Puree Ingredients
1  peeled, chopped celery root, 1/4 inch pieces
1/2 cup roasted white cabbage
1 tsp olive oil
1 tsp turmeric
salt and pepper to taste

To roast the cabbage heat oven to 450 F. Have a rack one step up from the bottom of the oven.

Fill a sheet pan with roughly chopped cabbage. Drizzle with olive oil and sprinkle with salt and pepper. Stir to coat.

Roast for around 15 minutes. Stirring halfway through. Roasting until at least 1/4 of the cabbage has charred and all of it has wilted.

Peel and chop the celery root into small pieces. Add to simmering broth. Continue simmering for about 7 more minutes until celery root is tender. Simmer with no lid on the pot to allow the broth to reduce. Once the liquid has reduced by half, add a lid to the pot  for the rest of the cooking time.

Add all contents of broth and celery root, including hot liquid to a blender. Also add your roasted cabbage, and your 1 tsp of olive oil.  Season with salt, pepper and turmeric. Puree until smooth. Taste. Adjust spices if needed.

Careful with the salt. The dill pickle juice added some extra salt already.

Serve warm or let cool in the fridge for a slightly thicker consistancy.

It has a similar taste to pea soup. It's good straight up. Also on salads, roasted potatoes, sandwiches.

Photo is the celery root puree, a salad of kale, charred cabbage and red beans, spicy marjoram lentils and barley and a hot chile de arbol and roasted tomato sauce.