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.

Green Pepper Tofu Puree Vegan Recipe

Longing for something a little different I decided to try using a green bell pepper in a tofu puree.

I've already espoused the merits of using tofu when composing vegan purees. It's just such a natural substitute for dairy in this case. It creates a smooth and creamy texture. It's also a great source of complete vegan protein. 

Puree Ingredients
1 large green bell pepper
1 jalapeno
1 serrano
1 green habanero
1 garlic clove
2 tbls olive oil
1/2 package silken firm tofu
2 1/2 tsps salt
2 tsps celery seed
2 tsps oregano
1 tsp cayenne powder

I didn't want to turn on the oven for a single bell pepper, so I used the microwave. You can microwave a potato, so why not a pepper?

I cooked it that way for 5 minutes and it smelled like cooked green pepper, but it was still pretty firm. It was probably cooking from the inside out; internally steaming itself. So I forged ahead and set it aside. .

I also microwaved all the smaller chile peppers and garlic clove together in a bowl for a minute.

In an effort to make them taste as if they had not been microwaved, I used one of the burners on my gas stovetop to char the everything.

Put each pepper directly over the flame and use tongs to turn to char evenly. Char the garlic a little bit too. If you don't have a gas stove you could use your broiler or a chef's blow torch.

Cut each little pepper open. Remove the seeds and cut into a few small chunks. Cut garlic clove in half.

Add 1/2 tbl oil to a frying pan and cook the pepper pieces and garlic for a minute or two on each side. Then add to your food processor.

Cut into bell pepper carefully. Drain the liquid inside into the food processor. That's flavor we don't want to waste.

Deseed and cut into chunks. Fry off for 2-3 minutes per side in the same pan. Add to food processor.

Add remaining ingredients and puree until smooth.

Chill in fridge for at least 4 hours.