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.

Caramelized Mushroom and Onion Stew

I'm gonna call this one a stew. It's an onion and mushroom based broth that's thickened with a little flour.

Why thicken it and not just leave it as broth consistency?

It eats differently than a soup this way. It feels heartier. It has a sauce like viscosity that coats the other ingredients as well as the tongue.

3 medium tomatoes, diced
1 pint white mushrooms, diced
5 cloves garlic, minced
1 green pepper, diced
2 jalapeno, minced
1 medium yellow onion, diced
Skins from the onion
1 can garbanzos, drained and risned
1 can black beans, drained and rinsed
1/4 dry white wine
5 cups water
2 tbls flour
2 tbls olive oil
1 tbl hot sauce
1 tbl dijon mustard
1 tbl dry basil
1 tbl salt
2 tsps aleppo pepper flakes or crushed pepper flakes
2 tsps garlic powder
2 tsps black pepper

Caramelize the mushrooms and onions in a large stock pot with the olive oil and half the salt. When mushrooms and onions are nicely browned, about 20 minutes, deglaze with wine.Cook off wine for 2 minutes.

Add water, mustard, hot sauce, green pepper, tomatoes, jalapeno, garlic, spices, remaining salt.

Place onion skins in a cheese cloth or a tea leaf holder and submerge in the mixture. You just want a porous vessels for it sit in the pot and infuse its flavor where you can later easily remove it.

Whyy use the onion skins? There's huge flavor in there as well as an abundance of nutrients. It's worth the effort.

Simmer uncovered for 20 minutes.

Add beans and simmer 10 more minutes.

Stir in flour. Simmer 5 more minutes.