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.

Creamy Tomato Tofu Puree

I love tofu. Those that don't love it, don't understand it.

If you're looking for it to add flavor you're fighting a losing battle. Tofu is for texture and protein. Nothing else.

In this case, we'll use it to create a creamy texture.

Ingredients
1 pint grape tomatoes
1 block, silken firm tofu
3 tsps salt
3 cloves garlic
2 jalapenos
2 tsps itallian seasoning
2 tbls olive oil
2 tsps black pepper
2 tsps harrisa paste
2 tbls hot sauce
1 tsp cayenne powder

For current or would be vegans who are confounded by how to replace heavy cream or milk in recipes, tofu is your answer. But it has to be silken or silken firm. Coconut milk can also replace milk or cream with amazing results. But if you need a protein bump, then tofu is the way to go.

Add all ingredients to your food processor and puree until a smooth emulsion is formed.

Chill in the fridge a few hours and then enjoy.

Tofu is a stellar thickening agent and provides that creamy texture in purees. Use it well and you will be rewarded with that same unctuousness you get from dairy based sauces and purees. You'll also get a nice hit of protein to power your muscles.