04/18/2012 04:27 pm ET Updated Jun 18, 2012

Plant-Based Meals: A Quick Warm-Weather Recipe Kids Love (Wheat- and Gluten-Free)

How many times have you heard yourself say, "It's too hot to cook"? I know I've said it myself a zillion times, especially in this unseasonably warm weather, or on many a hot and steamy August evening. And let's face it, we all don't live in New York City or Los Angeles, where healthy vegan restaurants are plentiful, so going out to eat isn't always an option. This is when a tried and true recipe can save the day.

My friend and long-time natural foods enthusiast, Amy Rolnick, of Portland, Maine, recently shared her "15 minutes max" plant-based recipe. Amy wrote, "You can use corn and edamame from the freezer, roasted peppers from a jar, and celery and onion are kitchen staples. My 18-year-old son saw me making this dish and said it looked good, took a serving and ate it up in seconds. This is a kid who wouldn't touch my vegetarian cooking for the past six years."

Colorful Corn and Edamame

1 medium red onion, diced
*1/2 teaspoon extra virgin olive
pinch sea salt
1 red pepper, diced (or 1 small jar water-packed roasted red peppers, diced)
1-2 stalks celery, diced or sliced
2-3 cups of corn (frozen and thawed or fresh, shaved from cob)
1-2 cups shelled edamame (frozen and thawed)
Generous pinch of dried basil
Splash of umeboshi vinegar (rice or other vinegar can be substituted)
* Oil may be omitted for oil-free diets and water can be substituted for the oil.

Saute onion in oil (or water) with a pinch of sea salt for 1 to3 minutes. Add the red pepper and celery and another pinch of salt and continue stirring for a few more minutes. Add corn and edamame and a generous pinch of basil. Add a few drops of water if needed but continue stirring until everything is warmed, about 5 minutes. Sprinkle with a few drops umeboshi (or other vinegar) vinegar to taste.

Makes 4 to 6 servings.

This could be served as is, or on a bed of Ready Pac salad greens. In hot weather I'd serve this with a slice of whole-grain bread -- or, if it's not too hot to cook, a small dish of quick-cooking quinoa would be a perfect grain to complement this meal.

Note: Quinoa also cooks in 15 minutes, so if you start cooking it just before making the Colorful Corn And Edamame, they would both be ready to serve at the same time.

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