Eat The Rainbow

A bowl of fresh salad
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16 Gorgeous No-Cook Dinners For When It’s Just Too Hot

Step away from the stove.

People in your family may try to argue that salad is not dinner, but to them I say — add some good bread and butter on the side and plenty of ice cream for dessert and tell me you’re not full. When the temperature is too hot to want to even get near a stove, or the summer days are so full and fun — or gloriously lazy — that you don’t want to spend much time fussing around in the kitchen, you need a few beloved no-cook recipes for summer you can rely on.

Now, some sliced up cheese and a box of crackers is the OG no-cook summer meal and it’s one of my favorites. The kids are happy, grown-ups are decently satisfied (and can fend for themselves), and there are basically no dishes. But, if you don’t mind doing just a little slicing, or maybe even breaking out the food processor, suddenly your no-cook summer meal becomes a feast. Why? Because summer gives us some of the best produce of the year, much of it needing little more than a rinse and a slice. Tomatoes, peaches, berries, salad greens, carrots — and on and on and on. You have to gorge yourself on them while you’ve got ‘em. Grab some bread, and a ball of mozzarella, and let’s dig in. Here are 16 no-cook recipes we’ll be leaning hard on all summer.



Hailing from Spain, Gazpacho is a classic way to beat the heat. Served cold, it’s a refreshing way to celebrate tomato season, and it’s packed with umami goodness.


Italian Chopped Salad

It doesn’t get much more stick-to-your-ribs than this Italian Chopped Salad. Unabashedly loaded with cured meats and cheeses, it’s the main-dish salad to beat all main-dish salads.


Caprese Sandwich

You’ve probably had caprese salads before, but have you ever taken that most-delicious salad and shoved it onto a really great baguette? Meet Cookie & Kate’s Caprese Sandwich. No-cook dinners do not get better than this.


Whipped Goat Cheese Dip With....Everything

You can serve this creamy, fresh, satisfying dip in a lot of ways — and Brooklyn Supper has more than one idea for how to enjoy it here. It’s rich enough to anchor the kind of snacky dinner that is really all most of us are up for when it’s hot out, and how the kids eat all the time anyway.


Tuna Salad Stuffed Avocado

Summer feels like the season for retro fun, and this Tuna Salad Stuffed Avocado recipe is a fabulous rewind to the days when things stuffed into other things was the height of elegance. Also, it’s delicious, indulgent, and requires you to simply open a can and do a little slicing. Sold!


Cold Carrot-Coconut Soup

If you’re worried that the kids won’t go for gazpacho — it is a little on the onion-y side — try them on this creamy, colorful Carrot Coconut Soup. Just whizz all the ingredients together, chill and enjoy.


A Peach and Tomato Caprese Salad

All you need to make a classic caprese — arguably the ultimate summer dinner — is tomato and mozzarella. But if you’d like to celebrate the other most iconic fruit of summer, make this Peach-Tomato Caprese Salad. It’s a no-cook stunner fit for company.


Vegetable Spring Rolls

One of the keys to enjoying no-cook meals is to think of things that are supposed to be eaten cold or not be cooked. That way, you’re not messing with perfection! These gorgeous Fresh Spring Rolls, served with a creamy peanut sauce, are a delicious example of that.


Curried Chicken Salad Salad

Yes, that’s “salad salad.” Because this recipe is kind of two-in-one. The curried chicken salad could be used in a sandwich, but it also makes a really hearty way to turn some lettuce into a meal. This Curried Chicken Salad is a must-try.


Chickpea and Avocado Salad With Za’atar Dressing

If you don’t want to cook but you do want to get a little fancy, try this Chickpea and Avocado Salad With Za’atar Dressing. Za’atar is really having a moment and we’re here for it!


Pesto Zoodles With Fresh Tomatoes & Mozzarella

How do you make noodles without boiling water? Zoodles! Sure, you gave up on South Beach back in the late ‘90s, but Pesto Zoodles aren’t diet food — they’re just noodles you don’t have to cook at all, and that use up all that zucchini that your neighbor keeps bringing you from their planter boxes. Double win!


Hearty Corn Salad

Cookie & Kate

Corn is a quintessential summer veggie, and this Hearty Corn Salad makes for the ultimate seasonal no-cook dinner. So many bright, punchy flavors, and it’s a breeze to throw together.


Spinach Hummus Wrap

You’ve got lots of spinach from your farmers market weekend, and some soon-to-expire Trader Joe’s hummus. Guess what? You’ve got dinner! And it’s this simple, quick, no-cook Spinach Hummus Wrap. Technically they’d like you to DIY the hummus, but sometimes, a recipe is just a jumping off point, and this one really gets my no-cook dinner juices flowing.


Kale Caesar Salad

It’s 2023 and you’ve just got to eat kale. It’s a fact. Whether or not it is as magically good-for-you as people used to swear it was, a Kale Caesar salad is a really darn yummy salad, and it’s pretty filling, too.


Marinated Chickpeas

People swear by Cookie & Kate’s Marinated Chickpeas. I love that you can make them ahead of time for super speedy no-cook dinners — try scooping them on top of a slab of really great bread, or on top of what we call a “stuff salad” — basically a salad with a bunch of stuff (hard-boiled eggs, olives, pickles, bits of cheese) on top of it.


Smoked Salmon Sandwiches

Oh my! We’re feeling mighty high-falutin today aren’t we? Even when it’s too hot to cook, sometimes you’ve got to treat yourself. And a meal you make yourself is always more cost-effective than take out anyway. So why not go ahead and treat yourself and your family to these lovely Smoked Salmon Sandwiches? Obviously don’t make roasted red peppers yourself — seriously, just buy those. They’ll be better, and you’ll save yourself like an hour of stress.

No cook? No problem! Save yourself some time and save your house from getting any hotter with these gorgeous no-cook recipes for summer dinners.