No-cook dinners—for when it's just too hot

Summery salads? Leftovers made new? We'd love to know the dinners you turn to when it's simply too hot to stand at the stovetop or turn on the oven.

Emily Kochman


HalfPint June 15, 2021
In hot weather, I like Vietnamese salad rolls. Meat can be cooked the night or day prior and chilled, then rolls are assembled at meal time and eaten immediately. I always have a jar of nuoc cham in the fridge :)
Emily K. June 16, 2021
Yum—great idea!
Gammy June 15, 2021
Cook as early in the day as possible. The bases for pasta and grain salads can be cooked up in the morning, marinated and refrigerated and be ready for additions at dinnertime. Even better, make a double batch and refrigerate or freeze the excess for later in the week or month.
Emily K. June 15, 2021
Thanks, Gammy—preparation is key, isn't it?
Kristen W. June 15, 2021
I just made one tonight: slice of baguette topped with with brie and prosciutto, caprese salad and arugula salad with a sharp Dijon vinaigrette. Would have included chickpeas in the arugula salad in a perfect world but my husband doesn’t like them so I left it out.
Emily K. June 15, 2021
Love that, Kristen! Quick to assemble but with no flavor sacrifices.
702551 June 14, 2021
For me, the easiest way to handle this is to move the heat outside. This is nothing new, in fact we have been cooking outside for most of human history.

Gas-powered and open-flame grills are the most obvious tools but one can use a butane-fired tabletop burner or even move an electric toaster oven outdoors (with an extension cord).

There are tons of other devices that can easily work outdoors during a heat wave. If I want to make rice, I could cook on the aforementioned butane-powered burner or I could simply use my old Zojirushi electric rice cooker with an extension cord.

Emily K. June 15, 2021
Thanks for this idea, 702551! We're always up for cooking outdoors.
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