5 (Almost) No-Cook Summer Recipes


By: , SparkPeople Blogger
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 In the summertime, I eat a from-scratch meal almost every night, but I only turn on my stove and oven once or twice a week.

I don't like air conditioning, so I take creative steps to avoid having to turn it on. So far, despite several stretches of 90-degree weather, I haven't been tempted to turn it on, and my first-floor apartment hasn't been warmer than 78 degrees F.

That said, I keep windows open when I'm home and closed--along with the curtains and blinds--when I'm not. I take cooler showers. I wear as little as possible while not giving the neighbors a show--tank tops and running shorts or sometimes just sports bra and shorts.

I have noticed that this summer, unlike years past, I haven't gained weight. I think it's because I am not craving large and heavy meals or snacking mindlessly because my body is more in tune with the weather. When it's cold, I crave heavier fare, but then I feel miserable when I step out into the heat if I eat a large meal.

And I turn on the stove only when necessary, and I rely on big-batch cooking a couple of times a week. I cook quinoa, rice, beans, and the like, then store them for use later in the week. No-cook meals save time and energy. When I come home from yoga practice or a run, and I'm so hungry I could eat my arm, these meals are life-savers. They require a little more time than a standard salad (like Coach Nicole's latest favorite salad), but they're still easy enough for a weeknight meal. I often pair them with big batches of gazpacho (lately I've been adding watermelon--yum!) or another chilled soup.

Other favorite no-cook meals: pita pocket sandwiches with homemade hummus and veggies (or you could add grilled chicken), black-bean and corn salsa with baked tortilla chips and avocados, almond butter-and-jelly sandwiches with fresh fruit and carrot sticks, smoothies, and leftovers of any sort. (Eat them cold or at room temperature--you might like it!)
My boyfriend is thoroughly impressed each night that I am able to create such filling and beautiful fare without turning on the oven. And, these meals showcase the beautiful colors and textures of summer.

 Cauliflower Sushi "Rice" Salad (leftovers for lunch!)

Crunchy, Creamy Broccoli-Raisin Salad
  • Calories: 363.9
  • Total Fat: 9.7 g
  • Cholesterol: 0.0 mg
  • Sodium: 281.2 mg
  • Total Carbs: 58.9 g
  • Dietary Fiber: 16.3 g
  • Protein: 18.7 g
Broccoli salad is a summertime party staple. This version is healthier--no bacon, no mayo but plenty of flavor from almonds and raisins!
Lemon-Tahini Slaw with Dill
  • Calories: 136.4
  • Total Fat: 8.4 g
  • Cholesterol: 0.0 mg
  • Sodium: 189.9 mg
  • Total Carbs: 13.8 g
  • Dietary Fiber: 5.1 g
  • Protein: 4.8 g
This slaw has all the creaminess you crave, with a boost of protein and a tangy flavor from the tahini, which pairs well with the fresh herbs.
Zucchini "Pasta" with Tomatoes and Basil "Cream"
  • Calories: 211.4
  • Total Fat: 5.1 g
  • Cholesterol: 0.0 mg
  • Sodium: 56.0 mg
  • Total Carbs: 34.6 g
  • Dietary Fiber: 13.3 g
  • Protein: 12.5 g
This "pasta" dish is so light and yet rich--you'll never guess the "cream" is made from sunflower seeds. The white beans add buttery flavor and protein. Make this when the garden overflows with tomatoes, basil and zucchini.
Cauliflower Sushi "Rice" Salad
  • Calories: 412.3
  • Total Fat: 22.5 g
  • Cholesterol: 0.0 mg
  • Sodium: 261.1 mg
  • Total Carbs: 46.3 g
  • Dietary Fiber: 15.4 g
  • Protein: 13.4 g
I first had cauliflower "rice" while on a raw vegan yoga retreat in Honduras. I'm hooked! It's light yet filling--perfect for summer. I like to think of it as deconstructed sushi. I top mine with kimchi and pickled ginger and garlic--all homemade.  
Mango-Avocado Salad with Lime-Cilantro Dressing
  • Calories: 383.8
  • Total Fat: 23.4 g
  • Cholesterol: 0.0 mg
  • Sodium: 112.3 mg
  • Total Carbs: 43.6 g
  • Dietary Fiber: 11.7 g
  • Protein: 20.7 g
This salad combines most of my favorite foods: avocado, almonds, beets, mango, onions, and carrots. Topped with a lime-cilantro dressing, it's irresistible! This is great for company. Serve it alongside grilled fish or chicken, omitting the tofu. (A photo of this is the main image on the blog.)
Want more great recipes from Chef Meg, me and fellow SparkPeople members? Be sure to subscribe to SparkPeople's Recipe of the Day email. Click here to sign up!

What is your favorite no-cook summer meal? Will you try any of these?

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