3 No-Cook Meals for Summer

by Kristen Desmond

no cook meals

Turn off the oven and turn on the taste with these delicious no cook summer meals. Fresh fruit, vegetables, herbs, greens and citrus bring out the best of the season. Packed with protein, these meals will satisfy a hungry crew while you keep your cool in the kitchen. For a fabulous no cook finish to any of these meals, serve sliced strawberries drizzled with balsamic vinegar over a scoop of vanilla frozen yogurt garnished with a sprig of fresh mint.

Curry Chicken Salad with Papaya

Serves 4

Fresh papayas and a rotisserie chicken from the market make this delicious, elegant salad a quick fix. It’s especially nice served with a simple, mixed green salad dressed with lemon juice, olive oil, salt and pepper.

1 rotisserie chicken
2 papayas
1/2 cup fat-free plain yogurt
2 teaspoons curry powder
2 teaspoons apricot jam
1/4 cup chopped scallions
1/4 cup chopped celery
1/4 cup golden raisins, chopped
1/4 cup sliced almonds
Salt and pepper to taste
2 avocados, halved, sliced

  1. Remove the skin from the chicken. Pick the meat from the bones and chop it into bite-sized pieces. Set chicken aside in a large mixing bowl.
  2. Cut the papayas in half. Use a spoon to remove the seeds. Carefully scoop some of the meat from the skins, leaving the skins intact so they can serve as bowls for the salad. Some of the fruit will remain in the skins, and that’s all right. Chop about 1 cup of the scooped out papaya and add it to the chicken. Set the prepared skins aside.
  3. In a medium bowl, combine the yogurt and curry powder. Use a whisk to stir in the apricot jam.
  4. To the chicken and papaya mixture, add the scallions, celery, raisins and almonds. Add the yogurt dressing. Toss to coat. Season to taste with salt and pepper.
  5. On each plate, place 1/2 a papaya skin. (You may need to slice a small piece from the bottom to make it sit flat.) Scoop 1/4 of the chicken salad into the skin. Garnish the plate with 1/2 of an avocado, sliced, and mixed greens (if serving). Repeat for remaining three portions. Serve immediately.

Mediterranean Tuna Salad Sandwiches

Serves 4

These open-faced sandwiches are a hit for lunch or dinner. Serve with cold slices of watermelon on the side.

4 slices whole wheat sourdough bread
2 7-ounce pouches of chunk light tuna
1 can Cannellini beans, rinsed and drained
1/4 cup pitted kalamata olives, chopped
1/2 cup chopped tomatoes
1/4 cup chopped scallions
1/4 cup crumbled feta cheese
3 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley
2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
2 tablespoons olive oil, divided
Salt and pepper to taste
2 cups baby arugula

  1. In a medium mixing bowl, combine the tuna, beans, olives, tomatoes, scallions, feta cheese, parsley, lemon juice and 1 tablespoon olive oil. Add salt and pepper to taste.
  2. In a medium mixing bowl, combine the baby arugula and 1 tablespoon olive oil, toss until coated, then salt and pepper to taste.
  3. On each plate, place a piece of bread. Top each piece with 1/2 cup baby arugula. Spoon 1/4 of the tuna salad on top of the arugula, covering the bread like an open-faced sandwich. Repeat for remaining three portions. Serve immediately.

Chilled Cucumber Soup with Fresh Herbs and Strawberries

Serves 4

This elegant soup makes a delicious no-cook meal when served with a mixed green salad and an assortment of artisan breads and cheeses.

3 English cucumbers, peeled, seeds removed
2 cups fat-free plain yogurt
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 tablespoon agave nectar
1 tablespoon lemon juice
1 tablespoon chopped fresh mint
1/4 cup chopped cilantro
1 scallion, chopped
1 teaspoon minced garlic
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon white pepper
1/2 cup diced strawberries

  1. In a blender, combine one-half of the cucumber chunks, 1 cup yogurt and 2 tablespoons olive oil. Blend to a smooth, creamy consistency. Transfer the blended mixture to a large bowl.
  2. In the same blender, combine the remaining cucumber chunks with 1 cup yogurt, agave nectar, lemon juice, mint, cilantro, scallion, garlic, salt and white pepper. Blend to a smooth, creamy consistency.
  3. Add mixture to the first batch and stir to combine thoroughly. Add additional salt and pepper to taste.
  4. Chill soup for 1 hour before serving. Garnish with diced strawberries.

Need more cooking inspiration? Try growing your own herbs indoors or planting your own organic vegetable garden.

Kristen Desmond keeps her cool working as a chef and freelance food writer in Santa Barbara, CA. Find more of her seasonal recipes at www.getyouryummyback.com.


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