Food52 in 5

My Favorite Summer Lunch Involves Zero Cooking and Just 5 Minutes

July  5, 2018

As I type this, it's currently around 90 degrees Fahrenheit (roughly 32 degrees Celsius), with a "real feel" temperature soaring above 100. It's only early July, but we've already been catapulted into the dog days of summer. New Yorkers know exactly what this means: hot, sticky, steamy, humid, with what seems like actual heat waves emanating from the concrete sidewalks. (And let's not even mention the certain "aromas" that come alive during the summer months...)

When the temperature rises, my appetite seems to take a corresponding dip, but a (wo)man cannot live on watermelon and cold noodles alone! So I'm here to introduce you to one of my go-to meals for those days when the stupefying heat seems to take all taste buds hostage:

If you know how to roll, you're halfway there! Photo by Ty Mecham

It's a no-cook, Easy Vegetable Nori Wrap filled with easily accessible bagged spinach, cucumbers, and carrots; chilled tofu; creamy, ripe avocado; spunky alfalfa sprouts; and a nutty dressing. It's endlessly riffable and open to interpretation (slash whatever tickles your fancy). Not a tofu fan? Skip it. Prefer a more bracing dressing? Use your favorite instead.

The nori sheets not only act as a handy vehicle for the cool, fresh veg, they also impart an umami-rich note, as well as a welcome crunch. My recommendation? Roll these as you eat them, one wrap at a time, so that the nori sheets don't get soggy (as they're wont to do).

Just wrap it up! Photo by Ty Mecham

These wraps have served me well over the years, from when my then-roommate and I would suffer through intolerable N.Y.C. summers in our barely air-conditioned fifth-floor walk-up apartment, drumming up the coolest "meals" we could without turning on a single appliance.

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We still have plenty of summer left, so try this "not recipe" the next time it's so hot you can barely breathe and you have little to no appetite, but obviously need to eat something—preferably something as delicious and fresh as this quick number.

Another Minimal Recipe, Right This Way

What do you eat when it's too hot to cook? Share your favorite cooling recipes with us below!

See what other Food52 readers are saying.

  • Mojo Jojo
    Mojo Jojo
  • Hana Asbrink
    Hana Asbrink
Hana is a food writer/editor based in New York.


Mojo J. July 5, 2018
Kimbap without the bap! This sounds delicious and refreshing, thank you for sharing!
Hana A. July 5, 2018
Ha, yes Mojo Jojo! A fresher take on kimbap is exactly how I'd describe it. ;) Enjoy it this summer and thanks for your comment!