The temperature at my apartment stays fairly cool during the day. Until about 2 pm. Then, the afternoon sun blasts through all the West-facing windows, and even just sitting at my desk turns into a steamy affair.
When quitting time rolls around, the last thing I want to do is fire up a hot stove and heat the place up all over again just to make dinner. In those situations, I usually opt to throw dinner on the grill — veggies, meat, everything — but then I discovered something even better: meals that require no cooking at all!
Put a few of these into your weekly rotation and you’ll be able to wow your sweating family with a quick, healthy meal that’s guaranteed to keep everyone cool.
1. Chicken & White Bean Salad
Salad greens are abundant in gardens and farmers’ markets this time of year. The only trouble is figuring out enough different ways to serve them! Here’s a variation packed full of protein from iVillage: add some diced, pasture-raised chicken, some feta cheese, white beans and fresh basil. Top with a homemade citrus vinaigrette, and enjoy! For even more nutrients, try substituting smoked salmon for the chicken.
2. Spicy Watermelon Gazpacho Soup
Consisting of around 90 percent water, watermelon is a great summertime treat that will bring down your body temperature and help you stay hydrated. In this delicious soup recipe from CookingStoned, the delightful pink fruit is combined with tomato, cucumber, herbs and some spicy Serrano pepper for an amazing dinner that only needs a few minutes in the food processor!
3. Zucchini & Bean Salad with Bulgur
This is the time of year when many home gardeners start looking for something — anything! — to do with the zucchini exploding all over their yard. This cold salad recipe from Real Simple features bulgur, dill, roasted almonds and a tangy dressing for a filling treat that will help you beat the heat.
4. Sun Dried Tomato & Artichoke Dip
On those days when the heat leaves you with no appetite, sometimes just a snack will do. Mix up a batch of this healthy dip from Whole Living and keep it in the fridge. Then, when you need a bite on the go or a quick appetizer for impromptu guests, just grab it out of the fridge, and go.
5. Curried Tofu Salad
Egg salad is a popular deli option for cold sandwiches, and this is a vegan twist on the classic. Created by the Kitchn, it’s recommended that you make this in advance as the flavors mature and intensify the longer it sits in the fridge. Featuring golden raisins, pumpkin seeds and spices, it’s great between bread, on top of greens, or scooped up with crackers.
6. Zucchini Lasagna with Farmers’ Cheese
Yet another way to make use of the prolific summer zucchini! In this recipe from Martha Stewart herself, thin slices of the fresh squash are layered with tomato, basil, and farmers’ cheese. Sprinkle olive oil, salt and pepper, and dig in!
Top image via Thinkstock. All other images courtesy of the websites mentioned.