Red beans and rice

I first had red beans and rice in New Orleans. I love legumes, and this is an easy and nutritious meal to prepare. My version is not spicy, as I don’t have a high tolerance for spicy foods, but you can always add as much heat as you like, e.g., cayenne pepper, hot sauce, and so forth.


  • 1.5 cups cooked red kidney beans. I cook mine from dry, but tinned are fine.
  • 28 oz. tin of tomatoes. I used only half the tin. I  use peeled San Marzano tomatoes, as they are far tastier than the standard tinned variety.
  • I sweet pepper, finely chopped. I used a red one for the colour
  • 1 onion, finely diced
  • 3 cloves garlic, finely chopped
  • 1 tsp oregano
  • 1 tsp thyme
  • 1 tsp paprika
  • Salt to taste


  1. Saute the onions and peppers. Add the garlic when the vegetables have softenened.
  2. In a blender or food processor (I used my Vitamix), chop half the beans and the tinned tomatoes (remember use only half a tin).
  3. Add the blended beans, the remaining whole beans, and the herbs and salt to the cooked vegetables.
  4. Simmer on low for about 30 minutes.  Stir often, as the mixture will thicken and might stick to the pot.

20160526_145949Serve over warm cooked rice.  I used brown.



Chickpea avocado sandwich spread

I had a larger lunch yesterday, so I decided to have a sandwich for dinner. I made the following sandwich spread, which would work as well on toasted bread for breakfast, or eaten with some salad greens as a salad. I added a little Vegenaise, too, as I can’t make a sandwich on dry bread. It’s an English thing: I have to butter bread even with peanut butter. As you can see, I added some romaine lettuce in the sandwich. Spinach would work better, but I didn’t have any on hand.



  • 1.5 cups of cooked chickpeas (I cook mine in the pressure cooker)
  • 1 avocado
  • Diced green onions (I used about five)
  • 1 lime
  • Salt to taste


  • I don’t like raw onions, so I sauteed the green onions; I find that sauteeing releases the flavour.
  • I used a potato masher to mash the chickpeas. I didn’t mash too finely, as I like having some whole chickpeas in the spread.
  • Scoop out the avocado, and add to the mashed chickpeas.
  • Add the green onions and the juice of the lime.
  • Season to taste. If you want it spicy, I think cayenne pepper would go well here.



Are vegans right?

Journalist David Macfarlane writes this beautiful reflection on veganism, after a promise he made to his daughter to try a plant-based diet for six months. Macfarlane does an excellent job of explaining the impact of veganism on the environment, our health and, perhaps most importantly, on the lives and well-being of animals. Macfarlane comes to an understanding of why his vegan daughter prefers not to discuss her lifestyle at the dinner table, a sentiment with which I can sympathize:

Vegans know how unpleasant a topic of dinner conversation the generally accepted practices of animal agriculture can be. That’s usually why they’re vegans in the first place. Things can be graphic and disturbing even before they start talking about intentionally broken legs, and injections of antibiotics and hormones, and animals forced to live a life that consists largely of squatting in their own feces. People can get quite churlish about this kind of thing — especially while they are eating capon or calf’s liver.

Macfarlane makes reference to a friend of his: I’m no philosopher. But Adam is. He teaches philosophy at Brooklyn College in New York City. In a letter to his students that was published in The Walrus in October 2014, Adam put his own position clearly and simply: “I believe that I have a moral obligation to reduce as much suffering in the world as I can before I die.” This is not the philosophy to which Ayn Rand subscribed. And that’s one of the reasons it’s good enough for me. Macfarlane clearly feels the same about Ayn Rand as I do; perhaps I should use the “veganism as anti-Ayn Randism” as the explanation for my vegan lifestyle.

Macfarlane has an excellent riposte to the meat-eating impact on the environment: “Because we all liked cheeseburgers so much” is going to sound pretty stupid when humankind is hauled into the principal’s office and asked to explain how the planet got destroyed.”

I wish Mr. Macfarlane all the best in his vegan journey; we need more people with his eloquence and commitment.