Are you getting to the point where turning on the stove or the oven feels…not all that desirable? Me, too! There are many hot summer days and evenings where cooking just feels downright unreasonable. All we want is fast and easy meals, foods that can be enjoyed chilled or at room temperature, no heating required. And we’ve got lots to choose from!
Before we dig into our ever-growing list, a few rules of the road. I am assuming for some of these recipes that you can buy a couple of pre-cooked items, mostly rotisserie chicken and cooked shrimp. Or that you have those leftovers around.
One thing I cannot say enough during the warmer months — MAKE MORE THAN YOU NEED FOR A MEAL. Especially simple proteins like pasta and grains! You will be able to repurpose them all week long, and not only save yourself time but avoid turning on the oven or the stove. And that, my friends, is the biggest gift you can give to yourself on a sultry summer evening.
Other items to stock up on: canned beans, lentils, and other legumes, hearts of palm, canned or frozen peas, and corn. Frozen shrimp are a staple in my house. And, of course, loads and loads of fresh produce. Which is extra appealing and easy to do from late spring to late fall. And keeping extra hard-cooked eggs around means you can add them to salads, or make a terrific egg salad in about 10 minutes.
And a plug for fresh herbs. Once you start using fresh herbs regularly, you will see how easy it is to add vibrant flavor to the simplest of dishes and kick up your summer cooking (or not-cooking) a whole lot of notches. And know that there are oodles and oodles more salad recipes on the site. This is the tip of the iceberg (lettuce).
30 no-cook recipes for hot summer days and nights – main dish salads, bean dishes, vegetarian offerings, sandwiches, ceviches, and more!
If you start with pre-cooked shrimp, this beautiful and satisfying salad can be on the table in 15 minutes. You can buy already-cooked shrimp at a fish store, in the seafood section of a supermarket, or in the frozen food aisle.
One of the defining no-cook dishes of summer. Have fun trying out different tomatoes in this gorgeous meal: yellow, orange, striped, smooth, lumpy, heirloomheirloom…all are fair game. If you live near a farmers market, there is that moment when the tables are piled high with all kinds of crazy looking tomatoes with funny names; Green Zebra, Brandywine, Lillian’s Yellow Heirloom, Mortgage Lifter, Black Crim, Purple Calabash, just to name a few. Grab them all.
This colorful, healthy vegetarian salad can be served as an entrée or a side dish. Leave out the feta and replace the honey with agave for a vegan version. You can also add this to a wrap.
Fresh shrimp is marinated with lime juice, avocado, bell pepper, onion, and herbs for an easy, light and bright ceviche. The shrimp actually "cook" in the lime juice, so no heat required!
A must-make when corn is in season, and pre-cooked shrimp makes it a snap. Make extra corn for this very purpose.
A contemporary version of a classic side dish, with the addition of whole grains, hearts of palm, and fresh herbs to brighten it up.
Classic Greek salad has no lettuce, just satisfying chunks of cucumbers, tomatoes, onions, and feta. Oh, and olives, of course. You eat this on its own or pile it onto some sliced chilled chicken or a piece of poached salmon.
This Southwest Black Bean and Corn Salad (aka Cowboy Caviar) is beautiful, easy, inexpensive, vegetarian, and satisfying. We love this served ith tortilla chips for scooping up big bites.
The colorful, classic restaurant salad is yours to make at home. I included honey in the dressing for some sweetness. There are noodles and peanuts for crunch (I have tree nut allergies), not to mention cabbage, carrots, jicama or kohlrabi (optional), cucumber, and onion. The dressing is savory with soy and sesame, and a little spicy from garlic, ginger, and hot sauce. Start with a rotisserie chicken, and you'll have this main dish salad ready to roll without ever turning on the oven.
This is a total 15-mInute pantry salad, with the addition of some cucumber, celery, and onion.
Farro, or whatever grain you choose, is mixed with a whole bunch of vegetables — plenty of texture and chew, super satisfying, and gorgeous to boot.
This colorful, high-protein salad will make any table look cheerier, and it's extremely flexible, so don't be afraid to swap around ingredients!
A few flavorful and crunchy add-ins turn an everyday chicken salad into something you would pay hard-earned cash for at a really nice deli or specialty food counter. You can start with a purchased rotisserie chicken, or simply cooked leftover chicken, whether poached, steamed, or baked.
A crunchy salad studded with chickpeas is tossed with a creamy, lemony savory dressing with a tiny kick of heat. Try this dressing on everything from bean salads to green salads, or simply drizzle it over grilled vegetables.
A creamy avocado spread turns a chicken sandwich into a lunch to remember (the bacon is optional!). Sliced leftover chicken breast is perfect for this.
Another reason to make sure to have a rotisserie chicken in the fridge, or make intentional extra chicken earlier in the week. This, like pretty much all salads, is a super flexible recipe, but you can see as written it's popping with color and texture.
This cucumber salad presents such a nice contrast between the crunch of the cucumbers and the onions and the creaminess of the dressing.
Herbed mayo turns some simply shredded chicken breasts into an amazing chicken salad.
How to make the best, most refreshing and absolutely beautiful soup of summer. With step-by-step instructions and photos.
A mayo-free version of one of our favorite foods. Use oil-packed tuna if you can, and look for tunas from Italy and Spain. The fish is very tender and rich, and will result in a very sophisticated salad.
For those of you who don't think a green salad can be satisfying and satiating, this is a must-try.
This pretty, vegetable-filled brown rice salad is the perfect side for cookouts and a welcome offering to bring to a potluck.
A slaw with a dressing that will remind you of those great Japanese restaurant dressings.
This is the salad for people who might not think a main-course salad is really a thing. The dressing packs so much flavor, a combo of peanut butter, soy sauce, vinegar or citrus juice, ginger, and Sriracha sauce.
Simple and perfect, with a bit of dill, lemon and shallot; the egg salad recipe you've been searching for.
The beautiful clean flavor of scallop ceviche is impossible to beat. Scallops are safe to eat raw, as long as you make sure they are very fresh. The lime (or other citrus) juice cooks the scallops making any present bacteria safe to eat. The bright freshness of this dish is so appealing.
This Mediterranean inspired salad is beautiful to look at and eating it will seriously make you want to do a happy dance.
This is the salad for anyone who can't get enough of that great peanutty chicken satay dressing. This is as substantial as a salad can get! And make extra of the dressing to toss with noodles later in the week, or use as a dunk for simply grilled kebabs or cooked shrimp.
A recreation of one of the best Japanese avocado salads ever. A creamy dressing on top of equally creamy avocado on a bed of cool, crunchy lettuce. Pure, simple heaven.
Piled high with meat, cheese, veggies and condiments, this classic sub recipe will satisfy that deli sandwich craving at home!
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