11 No-Cook Summer Dishes Because You Just Wanna Be Outside

June 12, 2018

Welcome to Your Home Outdoors, our summertime series on tips and tricks that'll help you live your best life outside―no matter the size of your space! So pull up a chair, grab a glass of something icy-cold, and join us.

I love my kitchen, I really do. But lately, I’ve been searching for every excuse under the sun to get outside. Whether it’s taking a long walk home from work, bringing my weekend reading to the park, or slipping outside for lunch, I’m making the most of our warm, sunny weather.

That’s right: We’re in no-cook season. I want dishes I can toss together sans sweltering stove or oven, like crispy salads, cool soups, and crunchy sandwiches. And, thankfully, summer’s bounty is ready to provide. Here, I’ve gathered 11 of our freshest no-cook dishes. Now, go outside and enjoy the day.

This bright, garlicky shrimp ceviche packs tons of fresh flavors and comes together in just 10 minutes.

This is a creamy, crunchy, substantial salad perfect for leftover (and maybe stale) bread. Plus, it’s flexible! Substitute whatever breads, herbs, onions, and vegetables your heart desires.

This recipes sits squarely in the middle of hummus and chickpea salad, meaning it can star as a side on lettuce or top toast as a filling main.

Tomatoes? Check. Peaches? Check. Looks like we’ve got summer on a plate, y’all.

Hearty black beans and feta get a lift from crisp cucumber and watermelons in this late-summer salad. Don’t have black beans? Try this with navy or cannellini beans instead.

According to vegetable guru Gena Hamshaw, this is one of the simplest (and best!) ways to eat zucchini noodles. “The marinara sauce is raw—nothing more than blended tomatoes and some seasoning—but in spite of that it manages to taste rich and complex,” she says.

We’re here to tell you that you can and should make olives into a sandwich. You’re welcome.

Break out the blender, this combination of cucumbers, grapes, garlic, and vinegar is best reserved for those 95-degree days.

To make this sweet, salty salad a little more satisfying, add beans. Or don’t and serve yourself double the portion.

Avocado toast gets a zip from cottage cheese and lemon zest for the ultimate summer spread.

Why limit no-cook just to dinner? We want this tahini-coconut dressing over all of summer’s sweet fruits.

Ok, Ok. we'll turn on the oven for this

What's your favorite no-cook meal? Share your recipes in the comments below!

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A New Way to Dinner, co-authored by Food52's founders Amanda Hesser and Merrill Stubbs, is an indispensable playbook for stress-free meal-planning (hint: cook foundational dishes on the weekend and mix and match ‘em through the week).

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  • Wayne
  • Renate Elyse Smith
    Renate Elyse Smith
Katie is a food writer and editor who loves cheesy puns and cheesy cheese.


Wayne June 17, 2018
tuna salad, chips & dips, and Margaritas.
Renate E. June 12, 2018
Actually, I hate the summer, which is why I REALLY appreciate these suggestions!!!