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10 No-Cook Summer Meals to Chill Out a Heat Wave

Because you're cool like that.

If you can't stand the heat, why make things hotter by cooking? Try these ideas for refreshing no-cook summer meals instead.

1. Vietnamese Fresh Spring Rolls

Pre-cooked shrimp saves you from heating up your kitchen when you make these fresh Asian wraps. Cool tip: "Cook" the rice noodles by soaking them in hot water from your tea kettle for a few minutes until they're soft but not mushy.

2. Avocado and Tuna Tapas

Canned tuna goes fancy pants when it gets stuffed into rich, creamy avocado halves. Cool tip: Learn how to tell if an avocado is perfectly ripe, and how to slice it to remove the seed.

Avocado and Tuna Tapas
Photo by bd.weld

3. Zucchini Spaghetti alla Marinara

It seems like everyone's wild about zucchini "noodles." Here, they get tossed with raw tomato sauce for the ultimate fresh-from-the-garden dinner. Cool tip: No spiralizer? No problem. Use these everyday gadgets to make vegetable "noodles."

Zucchini Spaghetti alla Marinara
Photo by bd.weld

4. Chicken, Avocado and Mango Salad

Stop by the deli to pick up a roasted chicken, and you're well on your way to making a satisfying dinner without breaking a sweat. Cool tip: Choose a flexible lettuce for your wraps, such as iceberg, Boston, or butter lettuce.

Chicken, Avocado and Mango Salad
Photo by ReneePaj

Related: Get 8 more no-cook meals you can make from rotisserie chicken.

5. Crab & Avocado Salad with Fruit Salsa

Spring for real crabmeat instead of imitation if your budget allows. If not, you can make this salad with cooked shrimp. Cool tip: The Washington Post has an informative article about the difference between canned and fresh crabmeat. Spoiler alert: They say go for fresh crab in eight- or 16-ounce tubs.

Crab & Avocado Salad with Fruit Salsa
Photo by Latina Cook

6. Mid-Summer Italian Bread Salad

"Everything in this salad is fresh except the bread," says Tamara. "Prepare this salad with a loaf of artisan bread or rosemary bread that is a touch stale." Cool tip: "If your bread is too fresh, toast it until it is about half as dried and crunchy as a crouton."

Mid-Summer Italian Bread Salad
Photo by Natasha in Oz

7. Vietnamese Chicken Salad

Another great no-cook option with leftover or grocery-store rotisserie chicken. "This is a very simple-to-make salad with bold flavors," says Jia T. Cool tip: "The salad can be refrigerated overnight and still taste good the next day."

Vietnamese Chicken Salad
Photo by Catkin

8. Raw Pad Thai

Strips of zucchini "noodles" and thinly sliced cabbage combine with a savory sauce featuring almond butter, honey, ginger, soy sauce, miso, garlic, and cayenne pepper. Cool tip: Use a veggie peeler to sllice zucchini lengthwise to create long thin 'noodles.'

Raw Pad Thai
Photo by Eroshound

9. Arugula and Hummus Mini Pizzas

Hummus and arugula combine with chopped dates, and pumpkin seeds over rounds of naan bread. Finish with a generous drizzle balsamic vinegar. Cool tip: If you prefer, substitute pita rounds for the naan.

Arugula and Hummus Mini Pizzas
Photo by Kim's Cooking Now!

10. Chef John's Gazpacho

This classic no-cook summer soup will only taste as good as the produce you use, so save this recipe for the peak of tomato season. Although it takes just a few minutes to make, be sure to let it chill in the fridge for the recommended two hours to let the flavors fully blossom. Some reviewers topped theirs with avocado, sour cream, or cooked shrimp. You go ahead and dish it up your way.

Chef John's Gazpacho
Photo by Jennifer Baker

More Ways to Keep Your Summer Cool


About Vanessa Greaves

Good food, friends, and fun are always on the menu. Find me as foodelicious on Allrecipes and vanny.gee on Instagram (but only if you don't mind cat pics and cocktails).