Without a doubt, humanity advanced by leaps and bounds once it became clear that cooking over fire equaled better food. But sometimes, it’s too hot or the day is too long to even consider turning on an oven or stove. Fortunately, many recipes require no heat (or very, very little) and are just as flavorful and satisfying as their cooked counterparts. Here are 19 spectacular meals for those days during a heat wave, or when cooking just isn’t on the menu.
Salads are truly the ultimate uncooked dish. This Ali Slagle recipe is a bacchanal of textures, combining crunchy cucumbers and chives (fresh from an ice bath) with creamy avocado cubes dressed with lemon juice and seasoned with salt. Add as many or as few red pepper flakes as you like and consider your lunch or dinner ready.
Say it with us: dip for dinner. A dip goes down well, can take any number of crackers and crudités, and most importantly doesn’t usually require heat. This Naz Deravian recipe encourages you to use dried herbs, which anchor the brightness and zing of celery, lemon juice, and tart Greek yogurt. Serve with your favorite sauce delivery vehicles and rest easy knowing the kitchen won’t be a total mess when you’re done.
Prescription: Borani-yeh Karafs (celery yogurt sauce)
Is your summer garden overflowing with pumpkins? Put it to use in this inexpensive recipe from Ali Slagle, which involves softening raw zucchini in salt and lime juice and allowing roasted chickpeas and sumac-seasoned peanuts to provide crunch and heft. If you don’t want to turn on your stove, feel free to use roasted peanuts or your favorite chickpea snacks from the grocery store, just skip the added salt.
This recipe from Eric Kim is more than a godsend for beginning cooks. It’s also perfect for those days when you want something simple yet delicious. Mash canned tuna, mayonnaise, sesame oil and soy sauce, then season to taste with furikake and sesame seeds, or scallions and a bit of wasabi. Spoon over leftover rice from the night before or grab some to go from a local restaurant.
Mango always shines in a simple setting, like this Green Papaya Salad-inspired recipe from Kay Chun. Umami-rich fish sauce and minced shallots add flair to the salad, perfect complements to the mild avocado and mango. The only hard rule here: make sure your mangoes are at their peak of ripeness.
Prescription: Mango and Avocado Salad with Lime Vinaigrette
The beauty of this five-star salad, based on a recipe by chef Antoine Westermann, is that it transforms the simple into simply divine. Strip a rotisserie chicken (a half chicken should do the trick) and make the rich and spicy shallot dressing with balsamic vinegar and olive oil. You can make your own croutons or use some from the store, but either way, it’s just a matter of marrying the two with your favorite veggies and finishing with Parmesan curls.
Prescription: Grilled Chicken Salad with Croutons and Shallot Dressing
Every kitchen should be stocked with at least a few cans of chickpeas. Chickpeas are not only filling, they can go right into whatever dish you are preparing without cooking them. This new recipe from Kay Chun calls for them to be mashed and tossed in a tangy lemon and tahini dressing, with scallions and celery for crunch. Freshly grated Parmigiano-Reggiano adds a touch of umami. It’s up to you whether you eat it right out of the bowl or stack the salad between a couple of slices of multigrain bread.
Full disclosure: This recipe from Gabrielle Hamilton involves a bit of cooking, but it’s the simplest kind: brown the butter in a saucepan for about five minutes and toast the bread. Once this is done, it is a matter of mixing the results with a little mayonnaise and then preparing your crab salad. Olive oil, crème fraîche, chives, and lemon juice add up. hey! Dinner in 30 minutes.
Prescription: crab toast
This twist on Colu Henry’s standard caprese salad involves adding cannellini beans to give the Italian favorite some heft. And it all comes together in about 10 minutes. Although it works well as a side dish, Colu says you can easily turn it into a no-cook main dish if you double the ingredients.
Prescription: Caprese White Bean Salad
Fun fact: tough vegetables don’t need to be boiled or sautéed to be tender. Simply marinate them in tangy tomato juice (along with capers, shallots, and white vinegar) like Kay Chun does in this Vegetable and Bean Toast recipe. Canned or leftover lentils grind up all those bright flavors and provide a meal you’ll return to again and again.
Prescription: Marinated Vegetable Toast with Tomato and Beans
This Julia Moskin gazpacho has over 7,400 five-star reviews, and for good reason: It’s inspired by the rich, watery gazpachos of Seville, Spain, and uses fresh tomatoes and cucumbers, both stars of summer. produce. The peppers, onion, and sherry vinegar provide a much-needed bite. And, with a half cup of olive oil to smooth things over, you’re more likely to sip this strained gazpacho from a cup than spoon it down.
There’s absolutely nothing wrong with dining on something you’d serve at a Super Bowl party, whether it’s spinach dip, cheese dip, or this cowboy caviar from Margaux Laskey. With just a little forethought (the caviar needs to be chilled for at least two hours), you can whip up this mix of corn, black beans, black beans, onions, and bell peppers covered in a garlic and vinegar-based sauce. bandage. And yes, it covers just about every food group, especially if you substitute lemon juice for the red wine vinegar.
Prescription: cowboy caviar
It’s a testament to the versatility of the cucumber that it shows up so often in the no-cook discourse. After all, it’s the very embodiment of freshness and ease—just check out this recipe from Sue Li, which involves dressing salty Persian cucumbers with a mix of pantry staples (peanut butter, soy sauce, rice, sugar, garlic) and toss in roasted and salted peanuts for crispness. As for the final chili oil, you can always use your favorite store-bought version, but it’s just as fun (and easy) to make yourself.
Prescription: Cucumber Salad with Roasted Peanuts and Chile
In a 1981 article, Times Food editor Craig Claiborne writes that “It has recently occurred to me that salads, sandwiches, and sauces are actually intertwined and related in the most intricate and entertaining way.” Since then, readers have been entertained (and wowed) by his resulting five-star tuna salad sandwich recipe, which features tuna spread with mayonnaise mixed with celery, red onion, and red pepper and sharpened with capers and lemon juice. Feel free to try this classic however you see fit, opting for oil-packed tuna over water-packed or swapping the sweet pepper for one of its spicier cousins.
With nearly 2,000 five-star reviews, this Melissa Clark Cucumber Soup doesn’t shy away from strong flavors, including tangy buttermilk, tangy sherry vinegar, jalapenos, and anchovies. Creamy avocado toast topped with feta cheese and lemon juice acts as a perfect topping for the soup, while making sure no one walks away from this meal feeling hungry.
Prescription: Cold Cucumber Soup with Avocado Toast
There’s nothing better than the satisfying snap of biting into a well-done summer roll. Add lobster (or shrimp or crab) and that enjoyment is doubled. This David Tanis recipe, inspired by Vietnamese summer rolls, consists of mixing lobster with the intense flavors of lime, basil and ginger along with creamy avocado. It may take a few tries to get the perfect roll, but it will be worth it once you’re dipping these rolls in an umami sauce of fish sauce and brown sugar.
Prescription: Summer Lobster Rolls
When in doubt, channel the spirit of the French. This five-star recipe from chef Steven Satterfield for a French picnic favorite calls for little more than a fresh baguette with a tough crust, lots of butter, and spicy arugula and radishes to chop it all up. Top with whatever fresh garden herbs you have, along with your favorite flaky sea salt, and the rest is l’histoire.
Prescription: Radish Sandwiches with Butter and Salt
Whether straight from the garden or the local grocery store, there’s nothing wrong with summer tomatoes. Inspired by Thai papaya salad, this Alexa Weibel Tomato Salad uses just a few key ingredients (fish sauce, serrano peppers, lime juice, and ginger) to create an unforgettable flavor. Best of all, it comes together in just 15 minutes.
Is there anything more beautiful than finishing an uncooked meal with an uncooked dessert? This super-simple recipe from David Tanis requires just over an hour’s notice (so the fruit can macerate) and the dry red wine you save to make a rich beef stew. Nothing could be easier.
Prescription: Strawberries in Red Wine