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.

Tofu Garlic Vegan Mayo

I don't currently have the luxury of a lot of ingredients lying around. The coronavirus has turned everything on its head. Still, I'm trying to find comfort in familiar hobbies like cooking and origami.

What I did have was half a package of silken firm tofu that needed to be used and a whole head of garlic that wasn't getting any younger. That is the inspiration for this recipe. That, and my love of all things creamy and garlicky.

Ingredients
1/2 package silken firm tofu, drained
8 cloves garlic, stems removed
1 habanero, deseeded
1 serrano
3 tbls olive oil
3 tbls white vinegar
1 tbl salt
1/2 can chick peas, drained and rinsed

Puree all ingredients in your food processor until a creamy mixture is the result.

It's great right away, but you can chill it in the fridge for a few hours to thicken and let the flavors coalesce.

This is extremely garlic forward and also hot from the chiles. Because the mayo is tofu based and tofu has no flavor of its own, the full on flavor of the garlic and chiles is pretty intense.

The chick peas add some needed body and structure. The oil provides the fattiness a mayo requires. White  vinegar gives that acid pop without affecting the color.

Don't skimp on the salt. The salt brings it all to life.

It's a pretty simple set of ingredients, so the main components of garlic and chile really shine.

I could eat this stuff by the spoonful.

A nice variation might be to roast or pan fry the garlic prior to incorporating into the puree.