43 No-Cook Meals to Make for Dinner
It’s summertime, so the oven is basically off-limits. While there are plenty of work-arounds (the grill, the stove, the slow cooker), there are some nights that we honestly just can’t bring ourselves to be near any source of additional heat. Besides, when the sun is beating down and we feel like a giant sticky mess, the last thing we’re craving is a hot meal. Instead, we like to opt for simple, no-cook dinners. Here are 43 recipes for no-cook meals to try this summer. (Bonus: Less time in the kitchen means more time hanging in the yard with a cold one).
1. 15-Minute Gazpacho with Cucumber, Red Pepper and Basil
We spend all year waiting for fresh summer produce, and this cold soup is the best way to showcase it. All you need is a good blender or food processor, and dinner is done.
3. Rainbow Collard Wraps with Peanut Butter Dipping Sauce
Feel free to use whatever veggies you have in the house. Everything tastes delicious with this peanut sauce.
4. Burrata Arugula Berry Salad
Unleash your inner Yankee Doodle with this red, white and blue salad. (We’ll assume someone else is bringing the hot dogs.)
5. Kelp and Zucchini Noodle Pad Thai
We’re always down for takeout. This healthy alternative swaps out greasy noodles for kelp and zucchini ribbons.
6. The Lighter Cheese Board
We love entertaining in the summer, especially when there’s almost no work for the hostess. Throw together some cold meats and cheeses, fresh fruit and some pickled veggies and (a super Insta-worthy) dinner awaits.
7. Zucchini Salad with Lemon and Parmesan
Somehow, we always have too many zucchinis in the summer (we blame the neighbor’s overzealous garden). Instead of succumbing to sugary zucchini bread, make this nutritious dinner instead.
8. Greek Yogurt Chicken Salad Stuffed Peppers
Store-bought rotisserie chicken to the rescue. Combine the pre-cooked meat with tangy Greek yogurt and plenty of veggies, then stuff it into hollowed-out bell peppers for the cutest dinner ever.
9. Taco Salad
If you’re looking for ground beef and tortilla chips, this is not the salad for you. Packed with plant-based protein, it’s everything we want out of Taco Tuesday.
10. Italian Deli Pinwheel Sandwiches
Bread, schmead. Wrapping up meats and veggies and slicing them into little wheels is so much more fun than just making a boring old sandwich.
11. Joanna Gaines’s Peach Caprese Salad
After trying Joanna Gaines's twist on caprese salad, we might never make it the traditional way again. She uses ripe summer peaches instead of tomatoes, and the end result is unbelievably refreshing.
12. Watermelon Poke Bowls
We love the flavors of a poke bowl, but we admit that we’re still a little bit squeamish about handling raw fish ourselves. Subbing in fresh watermelon gives us the best of both worlds.
13. Avocado Green Goddess Sandwiches with Havarti
Kermit says it’s not easy being green, but we beg to differ. These hearty sandwiches are a little bit crunchy, a little bit creamy and a fantastic dish to take on an outdoor picnic.
15. Prosciutto and Fig Salad Board
Salad in a bowl? Not that exciting. But salad on a board feels like an elegant evening out (even on the couch).
16. Tuna Salad and Chickpea-Stuffed Avocado
This easy dinner has it all: It’s low carb, full of protein and healthy fat and it's kind of adorable. Plus, the creaminess of the avocado means you can go totally mayo-free (a little Greek yogurt will do the trick).
17. Italian Chopped Salad
At first glance, this looks like an ordinary chopped salad. But a few extra ingredients (spoiler alert: sesame and poppy seeds) give it the extra flavor we never knew it needed.
18. Buffalo Chicken Wraps with Blue Cheese Dressing
There’s nothing we crave more than spicy buffalo dressing and funky blue cheese. Here, they’re rolled up in a wrap with pre-cooked chicken and plenty of crunchy lettuce.
20. Ultimate Party Sub
It’s too hot to even think about lighting the grill, but that doesn’t mean you have to cancel your plans with friends. Shift the party indoors and keep cool with this super-sized sub sandwich.
21. Rainbow Heirloom Tomato Bruschetta
Sure, you could put these out as an app at your next party. But we’re pretty happy keeping them all to ourselves for a quick main course. Just make sure to use the freshest tomatoes you can find.
22. The Best Sesame Soy Broccoli Salad
This quick salad has a divine balance of flavors and textures—crunchy almonds, sweet dried cranberries, red onion and a tangy, salty-sweet soy dressing. Who knew raw broccoli could be this good?
23. Zoodles with Avocado and Mango Sauce
Puréed fresh and frozen mango, avocado and coconut milk sound like the start to a pretty tasty smoothie. But add in ginger, tamari and crushed red pepper, and you’ve also got a light and zesty sauce for raw zucchini noodles.
24. Ginger Scallion Chicken Wraps
A great way to use up leftover chicken (or pick up a rotisserie bird, if you don’t have any on hand). Consider your weeknights saved.
25. Rainbow “Raw-Maine” Taco Boats
These little lettuce boats are stuffed with all sorts of goodies—veggies, avocados, quick beet hummus—and drizzled with an addictive tahini dressing.
26. Shredded Thai Salad with Avocado
This salad is almost too pretty to eat (though we plan on taking one for the team and doing it anyway). Plus, with smoked tofu and sliced avocado, it’s hearty enough for a full meal.
27. Lunch Kebabs with Mortadella, Artichoke and Sun-Dried Tomatoes
They’re called lunch kebabs, but we’ve been known to make them after a long day at the office too.
28. Cold Sesame Cucumber Noodles
There’s nothing we love more than cold sesame noodles from our favorite Chinese takeout place, but they’re not the healthiest. Swapping the noodles for cucumber and adding some store-bought tofu solves all of our problems, while totally fulfilling the craving.
29. Sonoma Chickpea Salad
Whip up this protein-packed vegan dish in 15 minutes. Close your eyes, take a bite and you'd never guess it's not chicken.
30. Sugar Snap Pea Salad with Chévre Ranch
We’re so obsessed with this salad, we’ve cleaned out the farmers market’s entire stock of sugar snap peas. Chévre ranch dressing, we just can’t seem to quit you.
31. Avocado Chicken Salad
The only way to improve a classic chicken salad? Add avocado, for extra flavor and creaminess.
32. Chilled Cucumber Salad
So damn refreshing. Odds are you already have all the ingredients too.
33. Fruit and Cheese Board
Isn't she lovely? Swap meat for seasonal produce like cherries, mangos and peaches for a light take on charcuterie (ahem, fruicuterie).
34. Grilled Flatbread Pizza with Artichoke, Ricotta and Lemon
Fancy enough for a backyard dinner with friends, yet so mind-blowingly simple. The most work you'll have to do is warm, toast or grill the store-bought flatbread.
35. Spring Crudités with Romesco Sauce
Just like salad, only 10 times more fun. Try your hand at the roasted red pepper sauce or just roll with whatever dressing you have in the fridge.
36. Moroccan Watermelon Cucumber Salad with Pistachio
Starring summer's favorite melon and lots of salty feta.
37. The Easiest Chopped Greek Chickpea Salad
Canned chickpeas have saved dinner more times than we can count. You'll love them tossed in lemon-garlic dressing.
38. Strawberry Bacon Salad with Feta
No time to sit and eat at home tonight? This mason jar meal can fix that.
39. Avocado Caprese Wrap
Because you can never go wrong with avocado *or* balsamic vinaigrette.
40. No-Noodle Pad Thai
Come for the raw zucchini, carrot and daikon ribbons. Stay for the lime-honey peanut sauce.
41. Greek Wedge Salad
Contrary to popular belief, wedge salads don't need to be buried in blue cheese and bacon.
42. Melon Caprese Skewers
Sweet, juicy honeydew, cantaloupe and watermelon are just the pairing for creamy mozz and salty prosciutto.
43. Miso Tuna Salad
Holy umami. Bring on the miso paste and Japanese mayo.