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.

Bread Protein Balls Recipe

I love a good bread. It's absolutely one of my favorite things. Bread can deliver amazing flavor when done correctly. It can also provide exciting texture and plenty of protein.

The more you knead bread, the more gluten you create. Those already familiar with seitan know that wheat gluten is total protein.

When you add nutritional yeast, flax or other nuts/seeds,  now you have a bread that is also a complete protein.

In the interest of doing things a little differently, I decided to do little bread balls because I figured they would offer a unique textural experience to other forms of bread. I also figured they'd make a nice little snack size bite. They're easier to shape than a flat bread, can bake in the oven, and take much less time to cook than rolls or loaves. They're great for dipping into hummus too.

As you can see, they're very cute as well.

Bread Balls Dough Recipe
2 1/2 cups all purpose unbleached flour
3 tbls nutritional yeast
2 tbls ground flax seed
1 tbl olive oil
1 tbl salt
2 tsps baking powder
2 tsps ground garlic
2 tsps crushed pepper flakes
2 tsps aleppo pepper flakes
water as needed

Combine all the dry ingredients. Add the oil. Add 1/2 cup water at first. Mix to form a dry dough. Add more water a tablespoon or two at a time until a slightly sticky dough just barely comes together. Knead the dough for at least 5 minutes until it is firm. The more you knead, the more gluten you create. The more gluten, the more protein. More gluten also creates a chewier finished bread. So it is personal preference.

Set aside

2 tbls olive oil
1 garlic clove
1 tsp crushed pepper flakes
1 tsp salt

Microwave the drizzle components for 45 seconds on high. Discard garlic clove. Set aside.

Shape dough into 3 inch diameter balls and place them on an ungreased baking sheet. You should wind up with about a dozen little balls.

Bake at 400 F for 25 minutes.

Remove from oven and immediately drizzle each ball evenly with the oil mixture.

Allow to cool a few minutes before enjoying. These little bread balls have lots of flavor, protein and nutrition. They also taste great!