Turn Off the Stove

These 6 No-Cook Shortcuts Will Make You Feel Like a Dinner Magician

August  8, 2018

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 newest series, Turn Off the Stove (A/C optional, ice cream included).

If you’re overheated and you know it, clap your hands. (Clap, clap.) If you’re overheated and you know it, clap your hands. (Clap, clap.) If you’re overheated and you know it—

What? Not as fun?

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This month, we are overheated, and we have a feeling you are, too. Which is why our conversations around the office are less about cookies and more: Did you know you can “bake” cookies in the freezer)? Less about roast chicken and more: Did you know how many awesome meals you can make with a rotisserie chicken and no oven, no stove?

But it’s not just rotisserie chicken. There are a lot of halfway-to-dinner heroes in the supermarket, which take care of that whole cooking thing for you. And when it’s this hot outside, we’ll take every helping hand we can get. Here are six of our favorite ingredients:



My cupboard alllllllways has canned beans. And lots of ’em. Usually, I toss some chickpeas into a big salad with tomatoes, cucumbers, olives, and feta or avocado (or both!). If you’re looking for something more filling, stuff into pita pockets. Or try these:


Swap tuna into either recipe above and you’d be happy as a clam. Mayo-based tuna salad is classic but, there are more fish in the sea. Use it to bulk up any shaved vegetable salad, especially fennel. Or turn it into a French-style, smashed-on-purpose sandwich:



Already-prepped artichokes are a real score for such a time-intensive, seasonal ingredient. You can find them jarred, canned, or frozen. In jars, they’re often swimming in a marinade. In cans, acidic salt water. In the freezer aisle, they are what they are; The Kitchen calls these: “as close to fresh artichoke hearts as we've ever come.” Depending on the week, I’ve used—and enjoyed—all varieties, and adapted them interchangeably depending on the recipe:


Before any big party in my house, there’d be a bag of frozen shrimp, thawing in the sink. These would turn into shrimp cocktail or my mom’s marinated shrimp salad. Either way, I grew up thinking that shrimp were special and speedy—an ingredient win-win. Any time you see a recipe that asks you to cook shrimp, ask the recipe: But do I have to? Maybe not! And definitely not here:



It’s a sad, bad week if there’s no tofu in my fridge. When unopened, this cost-effective ingredient has a generous expiration date, which means there’s no risk in always having a block around. My favorite “recipe” is a not-recipe—slivers of tofu and avocado doused with soy sauce and rice vinegar. These nori wraps are just as easy and good. Feel free to swap in rice paper wraps with the former and swap in salad bar–cooked (or raw) vegetables with the latter.


Cheese for dinner? Ahem, why not? Burrata—basically, mozzarella with an ultra-creamy center—is a showstopper, so don’t be shy about making it the main attraction. Try a twist on a caprese with fresh tomatoes, basil, lots of olive oil, and crusty bread alongside. Or get a little more greenery in the mix via these:

What no-cook ingredients are getting you through August? Share your favorites in the comments!

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Emma was the food editor at Food52. She created the award-winning column, Big Little Recipes, and turned it into a cookbook in 2021. These days, she's a senior editor at Bon Appétit, leading digital cooking coverage. Say hello on Instagram at @emmalaperruque.