Turn Off the Stove

3 No-Cook Summer Dinners Better Than an A/C Blasting Your Face

August 15, 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).

For the majority of the year, I love the large window in my living room. It centers the space, my sill crammed with cookbooks and climbing pothos, while golden light reflects on my white walls. But from June to August, that westward-facing window becomes my worst nightmare as it filters and traps oppressive heat in my tiny apartment.

By the time I get home every evening, it takes a full hour of the A/C blasting to bring the temperature down to bearable levels. And you can bet I’m not even thinking of turning on the oven.

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Sure, I could get blinds. Or buy a fan to leave on throughout the day. But, instead, I’ve collected a variety of recipes to turn to when cooking just isn’t going to happen, like sandwiches and salads and even just raw vegetables from the farmers market. Here, I want to tell you about three of my favorites. I know they’ll help you keep cool, too.

There are so many ways to eat watermelon and tomatoes sans oven. But this flavor-loaded soup is one of my absolute favorites. Instead of the typical cold tomato gazpacho, this recipe combines watermelon for sweetness, chile for spice, vinegar for pucker, and feta for salty satisfaction. Each spoonful packs a dynamic sip of summer.

If you don’t already know, we’re big fans of rotisserie chicken as a no-cook hero. This salad from Amanda Hesser is no exception. She was inspired by a tuna number featured in The New York Times back in 2010:

A few years ago, Toby Cecchini published a tuna salad recipe in the New York Times that was unlike any I'd seen before. Divorced of mayonnaise, the tuna was left in large slivers, dressed with lemon and oil, and mixed with pepperoncini, dill, parsley and smoked almonds. There wasn't a scrap of celery in sight. The tuna held its own between lashings of pepper and flourishes of dill, and seemed like so much more than just tuna salad.

Still want the mayo? The secret to this stuffed sandwich lies in the spread: basil-flavored mayonnaise. I keep a container in the fridge, dolloping it between layers of avocado, sprouts, lettuce, carrots, and whatever other vegetables I can get my hands on. It’s my coolest trick yet.

My other favorite way to cool down

What are your favorite no-cook dinners? Share recipes and inspirations in the comments below!

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Katie is a food writer and editor who loves cheesy puns and cheesy cheese.


Terri D. August 24, 2018
Love...Love... Love it all! Thanx FOOD52! Keep all the good stuff comin'!!😙 👍
Terri D. August 24, 2018
Loved the zucchini salad recipe and everything else @FOOD52....THANX! KEEP IT COMIN'...😊