Weeknight Cooking

21 Cold, No-Cook, or Raw Dinners for the Dog Days

August 29, 2017

You are probably tired of being told that it's hot out there. You know that it's hot out there because your legs stuck to the seat of your car this morning on the way to work or you sweat through your shirt on the walk to the subway. You've either been cranking the A.C. or telling yourself stubbornly that you're saving so much by not having one and going to bed surly and wet from the shower. (Been there.) Even if you love cooking and eating, the business of feeding yourself can feel like a problem in this kind of sticky weather, the prospect of turning on the oven a threat to your sanity and the well-being of everyone around you.

Instead, go raw, go no-cook, go eat-'em-cold dinners. Here are 21 (and 2 desserts!) to help keep your kitchen (and your head) cool. Some might demand a few minutes of action in a pot of boiling water or a hot frying pan, but nothing enough to break a sweat (or your neck).

If it's 85° F...

If it's 90° F...

If it's pushing 100° F...

Don't forget dessert!

This article originally ran in July 2016.

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How do you eat when it's too darn hot out? Share your best sweaty-weather dinners in the comments.

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Lauren B. July 31, 2016
I made the lime avocado mini pies, expecting the worst. I was pretty surprised at how good they tasted! We will be having them again, although they have a new name: green slime pies. Sorry! ?❤️
Kathryn July 31, 2016
Not one of those dishes inspired me to try any of them. Least of all the seaweed, kale and cucumber salad. I just eat a yoghurt.
Emily S. July 29, 2016
The Noodle Salad with Ponzu Dressing is one of our favorite recipes, even worth the time it takes to make. I love it so much I tell everyone about it, and even blogged about it to share it more (http://tinyurl.com/ponzusalad). My one argument with it here is that it's always given as an option for hot days.

While you do eat it cold, the prep and cooking for this involves being in the kitchen by a hot stove and oven almost the whole time--making it one of the hottest dishes I make.

Typically when I make this I double or 1.5 the recipe and figure I'll sacrifice one night of sweaty cooking for future cool dinners (and lunches).
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Caroline L. July 29, 2016
A good point, Emily! I feel like I'm always wrestling with what's worth standing over the stove or turning on the oven (pie! Pie always wins out.) when it's so sticky-hot.
C July 29, 2016
Cold diet soda for dinner, until I spotted the yogurt in the back of the fridge.
Author Comment
Caroline L. July 29, 2016
Been there, C!
Jovan July 29, 2016
I love how this is broken out by temperature.
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Caroline L. July 29, 2016