Your Home Outdoors

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

Don't sweat dinner.

August  5, 2019

We're in the dog days of summer, when all you want to do is sit by the A/C with a pint of ice cream. But don't sweat! We've got the best no-cook recipes to beat the heat in our series, Turn Off the Stove (A/C optional, ice cream included).

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 15 of our freshest no-cook dishes. Now, go outside and enjoy the day!

1. Peruvian Shrimp Ceviche (Sivinche)

This bright, garlicky shrimp ceviche packs tons of fresh flavors and comes together in just 10 minutes. Serve it for a bright summertime dinner, or portion it into jars for a week of lunches.

2. No-Cook Tomato Sauce

So technically you'd need some cooked pasta to enjoy this number, but the buttery, tomatoey sauce is worth the boiling pot of water. It's also very good on toast or steamed rice. Store in the fridge for dinnertime emergencies.

3. Torn Pita Panzanella/Fattoush with Salad Greens, Sumac & Feta Cheese

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.

4. Chickpea "Tuna" Salad

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. Keep it in your weekly rotation for a quick dinner or a pack-and-go lunch.

5. Tomato, Peach, Chèvre, and Herb Salad with Apple Vinaigrette

Tomatoes? Check. Peaches? Check. Looks like we’ve got summer on a plate, y’all. Just remember to use the best tomatoes and peaches you can find, and don't refrigerate them before using! You'll want everything juicy and flavorful at room temp.

6. Black Bean With Melon(s) and Feta Salad

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.

7. Zucchini Pasta Marinara

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.

8. No-Chop Chickpea Salad

Not only is this hearty no-cook, it's also no-chop, meaning even less effort to throw it all together. The best part? It's super versatile and can easily bring together whatever pantry and fridge ingredients you have on hand.

9. Viana La Place's Umbrian Black Olive Panino

We’re here to tell you that you can and should make olives into a sandwich. You’re welcome. This one's spiked with lemon and olive oil, and would be happy with a thick slab of mozzarella, thank you very much.

10. White Gazpacho

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

11. Raw Corn with Tomatoes, Feta & Herbs

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

12. Summer in Denmark Avocado Toast

Avocado toast gets a zip from cottage cheese and lemon zest for the ultimate summer spread. Be sure to eat it on very good rye bread!

13. Fruit Salad With Tahini-Coconut Dressing

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

14. No-Cook Butter Pecan Ice Cream

This creamy ice cream flavor has a buttery, nutty crunch from toasted pecans and light maple syrup sweetness. The method is a clever, quick no-cook technique that uses condensed milk to thicken the mixture.

15. Single-Serving Chocolate & Peanut Butter Cookie

A quicker-than-quick way to satisfy that sweet craving without sending the kitchen temps rising. Oats add a nice heartiness and melted chocolate is obviously a welcome guest at any cookie party. Just stick it in your freezer until it sets, and it's done.

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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See what other Food52 readers are saying.

  • 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!!!