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.

Garam Masala Lentils

I've always been curious about garam masala. It certainly sounds interesting and tasty.

It's similar to a curry. A blend of spices. But it's less complex than a curry blend. It's usually used as a starting point and additional spices are added.

I got some as a gift and decided to try it with lentils and barley in a curry.

If you like curry and haven't yet tried adding garam masala, you should. It's easy to get online. It adds a whole new level of depth.

I love lentils in a curry because they need a lot of flavor and they bring texture as well as thickening properties. You don't want a loose or watery curry.

I made a huge batch. This yielded 2.5 quarts of food. So you may want to halve the measurements.

1 red bell pepper, diced
2 poblano peppers, diced
2 jalapenos, minced
2 serranos, minced
5 cloves garlic, smashed and diced
2 cups fresh spinach
1 cup fresh kale
1/2 cup dry lentils
1/2 cup dry pearl barley
1 can coconut milk
3 heaping spoonfuls of my harissa 2.0
1 tbl olive oil
3 1/2 cups water

3 1/2 tbls garam masala
2 tbls alleppo pepper
2 1/2 tbls paprika
2 1/2 tbls turmeric
3 1/2 tbls salt

Add all the peppers, garlic, and oil  to a large sauce pot. Add 2 cups water. Cover and bring to a boil. Reduce to simmer and allow to simmer for 10 minutes.

Add lentils, barley, spices, coconut milk, harissa and remaining water. Continue simmering covered for 5 minutes.

Add spinach and kale.

Simmer until lentils and barley are tender.

If you love curry, you will love this.