31 Easy, No-Cook Meals to Get You Through a Scorching Hot Summer

Green Gazpacho With Grapes, Honeydew, and Cucumber
Photo: GREG DUPREE

The last thing you want to do on a hot summer day is add to the misery by lighting up a burner to cook. Enter these refreshingly easy, no-cook meal lunch and dinner ideas. They're super-simple to pull together, often using rotisserie chicken, pre-cooked shrimp, fresh produce, or meatless proteins to make it more hearty. And since they're no-cook, they're refreshing on the hottest days.

Work your way through a whole month's worth of healthy no-cook meals to get you through the summer.

01 of 31

Nicoise-Inspired Summer Salad

Nicoise Inspired Summer Salad
Caitlin Bensel

Buy pre-cooked hard-boiled eggs to make this colorful take on the classic French salad super-easy to assemble.

02 of 31

Fancy Tomato Sandwiches

Fancy tomato sandwiches on a wooden board displayed on a table with fruit juice and sunglasses.
Greg DuPree

Optimize your use of summer produce by putting tomatoes front and center on these sandwiches. A little arugula gives it a peppery bite.

03 of 31

Summer Tacos With Scallion-Peanut Relish

Summer Tacos With Scallion-Peanut Relish
Jen Causey

Quick pickles and a fresh spicy peanut relish dress up rotisserie chicken to create this flavorful recipe perfect for a summer night.

04 of 31

Japanese-Style Shrimp Salad

Japanese-Style Shrimp Salad Recipe
Greg DuPree

A soy sauce and sesame oil dressing freshens up this tasty Asian-inspired salad.

05 of 31

Chickpea-Tuna Salad

Chickpea-Tuna Salad with greens on a plate
Photo by: Victor Protasio

Standard tuna salad gets an upgrade in this recipe, which is vinegar-based instead of being mayonnaise-centric. Here, canned chickpeas are marinated in oil and vinegar to infuse them with flavor. The pulses are then joined by oil-packed tuna, radicchio, and red onion, as well as kalamata olives and capers. The briny latter two ingredients manage to cut through the richness of the tuna and mellow out the bold lettuce, creating an easy lunch or light dinner you'll want to make over and over again.

06 of 31

Nectarine and Burrata Salad

Nectarine Burrata Salad
Greg DuPree

Quick-pickling onions technically requires 30 seconds of microwaving—but it's worth it for this fresh and healthy no-cook recipe.

(P.S. If you don't love nectarines, try it with peaches, cherries, apricots—or a combo of what's best from the farmer's market.)

07 of 31

Tangy Shrimp Salad

Tangy Shrimp Salad With Summer Vegetables
Con Poulos

Use pre-cooked shrimp instead of boiling them and this no-cook recipe comes together in minutes.

08 of 31

Herby Chicken Salad Tartines

Herby Chicken Salad Tartines
Victor Protasio

Rotisserie chicken to the rescue! In this recipe, you'll use a store-bought bird to create an elegant yet easy tartine, which is basically an open-faced sandwich. The chicken is joined by Dijon for sharp heat, apple cider vinegar for punch, celery seeds for savory depth, almonds for crunch, honey for a touch of sweetness, and fresh tarragon and chives for herbal balance.

09 of 31

Green Gazpacho With Grapes, Honeydew, and Cucumber

Green Gazpacho With Grapes, Honeydew, and Cucumber
Greg DuPree

While this green gazpacho is served with toast, you can easily skip that step if you're in the market for a recipe that requires absolutely no cooking. To make the vibrant, chilled soup, all you need is a blender, which helps combine cucumber, melon, grapes, scallions, salt, and lime juice and vinegar-soaked bread. The relish, which is made with dill, chives, and the aforementioned fruits, is just as easy to throw together.

10 of 31

Crispy Chicken-And-Cheddar Sandwich With Pickle Dijon

Crispy Chicken-And-Cheddar Sandwich With Pickle Dijon
Jennifer Causey

Got an extra-crispy chicken cutlet leftover from last night's dinner? We've got just the meal for you! Throw that chicken between two pieces of a baguette, add some romaine lettuce leaves, grated Cheddar cheese, and a spread made with pickle relish, Dijon mustard, and mayonnaise, and you're all set.

11 of 31

Hazelnut Bushwacker Cake

Hazelnut Bushwacker Cake Recipe

Need a sweet dessert to finish off your no-cook meal? Layers of cookies and Nutella-infused whipped cream make a super-easy (and super-impressive) treat.

12 of 31

Ginger-Lime Melon Salad

Ginger-Lime Melon Salad
Jennifer Causey

For a light lunch that's packed with flavor, give this no-cook salad a whirl. While you won't find any lettuce here, this dish is packed with fresh watermelon, honeydew, and cantaloupe. The melon trio gets a tasty boost courtesy of lime zest and grated fresh ginger. Lunch in 15 minutes? Count us in!

13 of 31

Spicy Street Corn Salad

Spicy Street Corn Salad in a serving dish with a spoon.
Jen Causey

This fresh take on the classic Mexican street food elote features a hint of spice—and makes a perfect no-cook dinner.

14 of 31

Coconut-Marinated Shrimp With Cucumber and Jicama

Coconut-Marinated Shrimp With Cucumber and Jicama
Jen Causey

This super-easy, Asian-inspired no-cook meal is the perfect take-along for a summer picnic.

15 of 31

Crab Rolls

Crab Rolls
Marcus Nilsson

Crisp radishes, celery, and apples provide a satisfying crunch that contrasts with the creamy mayo in this classic sandwich recipe.

16 of 31

Baby Kale and Chicken Caesar

Baby Kale and Chicken Caesar Recipe
Caitlin Bensel

Thanks to shredded rotisserie chicken, this salad requires just 15 minutes of hands-on work. And while you do need to pop some bread pieces in the oven for a bit, we think the result—crispy croutons!—is more than worth it. From there, you'll whip up the dressing (made with mayo instead of an egg yolk) and toss it with the Brussels sprouts, chicken, and kale so everything gets evenly coated. Top the salad with those croutons and dinner (or lunch) is served!

17 of 31

Zucchini and Bean Salad with Bulgur

Zucchini and Bean Salad With Bulgur
Marcus Nilsson

Nutritious bulgur makes a hearty base for this delicious meatless salad.

18 of 31

Spring Green Salad

Spring green salad displayed on a serving platter and served with a green dressing.
Greg DuPree

Empty out your produce drawer with this healthy salad, which boasts a base of romaine lettuce hearts with chopped cucumber, snap peas, and edamame mixed in. Add in chives and mint, plus pistachios for crunch and you've got a practically perfect salad on your hands. The dressing—a creamy avocado and yogurt situation with a Caesar-esque twist courtesy of an anchovy filet—takes things to the next level.

19 of 31

Spinach, Shrimp, and Avocado Salad

Spinach, Shrimp, and Avocado Salad
David Prince

Use leftover shrimp or cooked shrimp from the grocery store to prepare this healthy and hearty salad in a matter of minutes. Spinach, tomatoes, and avocado round out the dish, which is topped with a sweet and savory lemon-honey vinaigrette.

20 of 31

Tex-Mex Gazpacho

Tex-Mex Gazpacho
Romulo Yanes

Put your summer tomato haul to good use with this chilled soup, which also calls for Kirby cucumbers, a red bell pepper, a poblano pepper, and a red onion. Fresh lime juice and olive oil add depth of flavor, while a dollop of sour cream and a sprinkling of roasted pepitas deliver creaminess and texture, respectively. Need something to dunk? Go ahead and serve this summer soup with warm flour tortillas or tortilla chips.

21 of 31

Chickpea Salad Sandwich

Chickpea salad sandwich on a plate
Alison Miksch

If you're looking for an easy vegetarian lunch or dinner, this sandwich is it. Here, canned chickpeas are combined with chopped celery, a shallot, mayonnaise, fresh lemon juice, and Dijon mustard to create a meat-free take on chicken salad. We promise you won't even miss the real thing!

22 of 31

Pickled Tuna-Salad Sandwiches

A pickled tuna-salad sandwich served on a plate.
Mark Lund

Elevate your standard tuna sandwich recipe with some pickle relish and fresh flat-leaf parsley. If you have a spare hard-boiled egg from meal prep or don't mind cooking one thing, we promise that adding the chopped egg to the sandwich is totally worth it.

23 of 31

Cool Southwestern Salad with Corn and Avocado

Cool Southwestern Salad With Corn and Avocado
Con Poulos

Serve this salad with tortilla chips or turn it into a portable meal by wrapping the salad in a large burrito.

24 of 31

Summer Squash With Scallions, Chile, and Parsley

Summer Squash With Scallions, Chile, and Parsley
Greg DuPree

If you've never eaten a raw squash salad before, you're in for a treat (and there's no need to cook a thing). Tossing the rounds with salt allows them to soften and absorb every bit of flavor, while the vinegar adds just the right amount of acidity. The whole thing is topped with a chopped almond dressing, which really ties the whole dish together. If you're still hungry, serve this alongside leftover grilled chicken or steak.

25 of 31

Peach and Arugula Salad With Burrata

Peach and Arugula Salad With Burrata
Greg DuPree

Fresh peaches are one of the best parts of the summer season, and the fruits really shine when paired with creamy burrata. This recipe also calls for prosciutto, peppery arugula, and a zingy herb oil made with olive oil, basil, and chives, which means it's likely to become a summertime favorite.

26 of 31

Sliced-Tomato Salad With Dill Pickle Relish Vinaigrette

Tomato Salad with Pickle Relish Vinaigrette
Caitlin Bensel

Reach for some relish and turn it into a tangy dressing with help from some olive oil, lemon juice, honey, smoked paprika, salt, and pepper. Once your dressing is done, go ahead and drizzle it over thick slabs of heirloom tomatoes and crisp cucumbers. To make this salad more filling, add some dollops of burrata, torn mozzarella, or shavings of Parmesan.

27 of 31

Avocado Toast

Healthy whole grain bread with avocado
Barcin/Getty Images

To no one's surprise, this brunch staple also makes for a great lunch or light dinner. Kick things up notch by topping it with just about whatever you have in the fridge. We're partial to a fried egg or crumbled cheese and sliced tomato topping, but there are plenty of options to choose from!

28 of 31

Ploughman's Sandwich

Ploughman's Sandwich
Sarah Karnasiewicz

Though it might look simple, this sandwich has it all—sweet onion jam, spicy whole grain mustard, slices of sharp Cheddar cheese, crisp apple slivers, and peppery watercress. If you're especially hungry, go ahead and double up on some of your favorite ingredients. You can also add freshly sliced turkey or chicken for an added protein boost.

29 of 31

Chicken and Dill Souvlaki

Chicken and Dill Souvlaki
Anna Williams

Sliced cucumbers and onions add a refreshing crispness that brightens up the rotisserie chicken and creamy yogurt.

30 of 31

Tropical Fruit Salad

Tropical Fruit Salad
Victor Protasio

For a lunch that tastes like a tropical vacation, make this salad. It features a macerated mix of papaya, pineapple, mango, and kiwi with a touch of sugar, lime juice, and a pinch of salt, which softens the fruit, helps it release its juices, and concentrates its flavor. The fruit rests on a bed of creamy coconut yogurt and gets a dusting of flaked coconut on top. If coconut isn't your jam, leave off the flakes and swap in vanilla Greek yogurt for the base.

31 of 31

Chicken Salad with Herbs and Radicchio

Chicken Salad With Herbs and Radicchio
Anna Williams

Toss in carrots, scallions, and chopped tarragon to jazz up shredded chicken.

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