For many of us, when the mercury rises, the impulse to generate any additional heat in our kitchens declines. But that doesn’t mean we’re not interested in eating well, flavor or health wise. “No cook” doesn’t always have to mean salads—though there are some great ones—nor should it mean just grabbing for a bag of potato chips. Neither does it have to mean “no intrigue” or “not capable of feeding more than one.” Meal prepping and batch cooking are still valuable for saving time in an active summer schedule.

Related Reading: 7 Cookbooks That Are All About Salad

If you are a meal prep deity willing to fire up the stove or oven once in a while in the summer, all manner of cold pastas, grains, and proteins are available to use throughout the week. But here, we take on honest-to-goodness, no-cook dishes for us mere mortals who are simply looking for a delicious meal that’s still worth setting the table for. These nine recipes from appetizers to desserts can all be scaled accordingly, whether you are making a meal to feed a group once, or to feed yourself multiple times throughout the week.

Smoked Salmon and Caviar with Cucumber

smoked salmon caviar appetizer recipe


Preserved proteins such as smoked salmon are your BFFs in the summer for go-to, high impact dishes. Smoked salmon partners with other flavor bursts like lemon and capers, and then is brought together in a food processor with fromage blanc. Leave it at that for a wonderful spread for bread or crackers, or serve it up classy with cucumbers and caviar. Get our Smoked Salmon and Caviar with Cucumber recipe.

Easy Tomato Gazpacho

easy tomato gazpacho recipe


Gazpacho is basically salsa disguised as a meal. Born to be a cold soup, our simple version pops with layers of flavor, and can get dressed up with croutons or other garnish for a sit-down occasion, or drunk straight out of the fridge for any occasion. Get our Easy Tomato Gazpacho recipe.

Texas Caviar


Texas Caviar is the clever name given to a spicy, southwestern dip made with beans and corn. Now, dip is one of my favorite things, but to my mind this recipe is more versatile than that. As dips go, it’s on the healthier side with legumes and veggies, and could easily be served as a salad, to jazz up scrambled eggs, as a host to grilled protein, or even as the filling for a hearty summer wrap. Get our Texas Caviar recipe.

Related Reading: This Easy Flatbread Goes with Everything

Caprese Salad

Heirloom Tomato Caprese Salad recipe


It’s almost unfair that a dish with that much creamy mozzarella gets to call itself a salad, but I’m not complaining. It’s as easy to make one serving of caprese as it is to make 12, and all you need are basically three ingredients on hand to serve it up for any meal, any occasion, for any number of people all summer. Now is also the time for perfectly ripe, heirloom tomatoes to really turn the salad meter up to 11. Get our Caprese Salad recipe.

Grown-Up Tuna Salad

Grown Up Tuna Salad


Tuna salad is hardly just a thing of brown-bag lunches anymore. This upscale version features imported, oil-packed tuna, and includes very grown-up items like fennel and Worcestershire. On hand it’s available for sandwiches, naturally, but also for quickly classing up salads and pasta salads, or for stuffing into tomatoes, or an all-time favorite, peppadew peppers. Get our Grown-Up Tuna Salad recipe.

Quick Chicken Tacos


Rotisserie chicken truly makes all things possible in the summer. Pick it apart and put it to use, and you can leave the heat in these tacos for things such as jalapeños and a Mezcal Salsa Borracha. Get our Quick Chicken Tacos recipe.

Snapper Ceviche with Chiles and Herbs

Snapper Ceviche with Chiles and Herbs


To be fair, ceviche is actually considered “cooked” by its maceration with lime juice, so come at me if you must, though no heat was applied in the making of this zesty Peruvian mainstay. Get our Snapper Ceviche with Chiles and Herbs recipe.

Vietnamese Style Summer Rolls with Peanut Sauce

Vietnamese summer rolls with shrimp, vermicelli, and peanut dipping sauce


I could easily eat these summer rolls every day for a week. And there’s basically no reason not to, so…Cocktail shrimp to the rescue here, and the remaining ingredients are all minimally prepped so you can roll as you go to feed yourself, or roll up a bunch to feed the family. Get our Vietnamese Style Summer Rolls with Peanut Sauce recipe.

Sweet Cinnamon Fruit Dip

Sweet Cinnamon Fruit Dip with Mascarpone

Shelly Westerhausen

If you’ve ever felt cheated by the idea that fruit salad qualifies as dessert, feel better about it when it’s accompanied by a dessert dip, spiked with almond, honey, and cinnamon. Get the Sweet Cinnamon Fruit Dip recipe.

More Stress-Free Sweets

13 No-Bake Desserts for Summer

Header image courtesy of Chowhound.

Pamela Vachon is a freelance writer based in Astoria, NY whose work has also appeared on CNET, Cheese Professor, Alcohol Professor, and Diced. She is also a certified sommelier, voiceover artist, and an avid lover of all things pickled or fermented.
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