14 No-Cook Summer Meals So You Don't Have To Go Near A Hot Stove
Sweating over a hot stove to make a home-cooked meal sounds like the absolute worst when it's 90 degrees outside. While the weather is sweltering, consider some no-cook summer meals you can whip up without ever turning on an appliance. While salads and sandwiches come to mind (and who could be mad at the classics?), there are tons of other options too. See: vegan poke bowls, summer rolls, and more.
If your usual weekly rotation involves slow cooker meals, spaghetti and meat sauce, or roasted chicken, you may find yourself looking for something a little cooler to make on hot, humid weeknights. For some families, summer is the season of grilling, but when you're slapping at mosquitoes and wiping sweat off your upper lip, you may reconsider. That feeling is literally why summer rolls exist in the first place.
Plus, since a lot of these no-cook summer meals don't involve any cooking, they come together with minimal time and effort. They also keep dishes to a minimum since you're not boiling in pots, sautéing in skillets, or baking in roasting pans. Not only will they work well at home, but you can easily share them as a family al fresco in the backyard or portioned out as lunches throughout the week.
1. Kale Salad With Bacon & Blue Cheese
Leftover bacon, bacon bits, or replacing it with something else removes the need to cook anything from this kale salad recipe from Gimme Some Oven. If you eat a vegetarian diet and have some of these same ingredients in the kitchen, this strawberry avocado kale salad from InsideBruCrewLife.com sounds so delicious. Either way, you wind up with a delicious salad and no extra heat in the house.
2. Summer Cheese Board
Who doesn't love an elaborate cheese and charcuterie board from Damn Delicious? Summertime is a great excuse to share one with your partner for dinner, ideally on the porch with cocktails or wine. But they're super fun for kids to eat, too, as they pick their favorite fruits, crackers, and cheeses.
3. No-Cook Spicy Tofu
A Beautiful Plate's Spicy tofu seasoned with garlic, soy sauce, and sambal oelek doesn't really need a side dish to make a tasty meal. But, you could also serve it alongside greens or inside a lettuce wrap.
4. Ultimate Southern Chicken Salad
Chicken salad is just a staple food during summer. And, if you have leftover chicken or a rotisserie chicken sitting around, you can easily transform it into the tastiest chicken salad from A Spicy Perspective. From there you can serve it in a sandwich, on a salad, or just down it with a spoon.
Refreshing, slightly spicy gazpacho from Jelly Toast takes a bit of chopping, but as this blogger says, pop in some earbuds and a podcast and it's a lot more enjoyable. Just chop, combine, and let rest in the fridge while the flavors combine.
6. Greek Salad
Love & Lemons' Greek salad is another great no-heat-required recipe for summer nights. Served with pita bread and hummus, it's a filling option loaded with lots of nutritious veggies. Also, feta.
7. Bubbly Taco Salad Bowls
While this taco salad recipe from A Spicy Perspective calls for frying your own tortilla shells, you could purchase them premade or skip the shell altogether. Taco salad with beans, corn, pico, guac, greens and your other favorite toppings should be equally as tasty without the tortilla. Just don't forget the cheese!
8. Avocado Chickpea Salad Sandwiches
Avocado chickpea salad sandwiches from Pickles & Honey are a protein-packed, vegan- and vegetarian-friendly option. Making these only takes a few steps: put everything in a bowl, mash it up, and plop it on a bun. Top it with whatever you like, and bite in.
9. Tomato Basil Artichoke Picnic Sandwich
A sandwich dressed up with pesto, jarred artichokes, sliced veggies, and greens is a crisp summertime meal for when you just can't handle preheating the oven. Pop it onto a crusty baguette to make it feel extra special, and serve with fruits and cheeses or a favorite dip.
10. Avocado Summer Rolls
Who needs to turn on the oven when food like this exists? Not only are these summer rolls from Love & Lemons delicious, they're beautiful to look at and pretty fun to make. Between the avocado, mango, and basil coconut dipping sauce, you won't be lacking in flavor.
11. Skinny Pasta Primavera
Granted, for this one to be completely no-cook you'd need some leftover pasta from a previous meal, but with a little planning that could be arranged. If you happen to have some bonus noodles in the fridge, tossing them with bell peppers, snow peas, and zucchini to create A Spicy Perspective's pasta primavera is a great way to use them up and get your daily servings of veggies in.
12. Vegan Poke Bowls
Watermelon is a must-have summer fruit, but on its own its not quite meal-worthy. Instead, use it on top of a bed of cucumber, avocado, microgreens, and other flavorful additions, to make a mean vegan poke bowl from Love & Lemons. The simple dressing on top takes it to the next level.
13. Caprese Salad
Who doesn't love fresh tomatoes and crusty bread together? Panzanella salad combines both, along with red onion, peaches, pesto, and more, for a more filling salad than the average summer dish. Bonus points: if the bread is a little bit stale, that's actually kind of helpful, so you can use "aged" pantry staples.