Too hot to cook? Don’t worry! Here are 14 fresh, healthy, quick meals
you can make without steaming up your kitchen!
If you’re like we are, you’re spending a lot of time in the sun in the summer. And, even if you’re at an air-conditioned desk all day, by the time you walk into your kitchen, it’s HOT. And that means it’s time to make something that doesn’t require a lot of oven time or effort.
Maybe it’s just me, but when the temperature is soaring in the summer, I lose some of my cooking motivation. It’s just hard for me to muster up enthusiasm over heating up my kitchen when it’s well over 100 degrees outside, especially if we’re ravenous from spending the afternoon swimming or running around the splash pad.
Since I know this “it’s too hot to cook!” mentality hits me hard (usually at *least* through June and July), I’m arming myself with a collection of easy, low-cook and no-cook meals I can turn to when heat has overcome my inspiration.
Here are 14 tried-and-true favorites for the hottest of summers.
Speedy and Delicious
These ideas are on the table quickly. Each one is loaded with fresh ingredients, protein, and won’t heat up your kitchen.
There’s a reason this is one of the all-time most popular recipes on my blog. It’s delicious, and it’s on the table in no time. Everyone claims their lettuce wraps are just like the P.F. Chang’s ones, but these really are remarkably close. Served on cool, crisp lettuce leaves, they’re just fantastic.
This is one of my all-time favorite salads. (The dressing! The dressing! The dressing!) It’s amazing as-is, or you can add in some cooked chicken or white beans for a protein boost.
Quinoa takes just a few minutes to make (15-20 minutes, tops) and it lasts all week long. Make a batch of this Confetti Quinoa Salad and the leftovers will be a colorful, flavorful lunch for a few days after. I always make the quinoa in the morning, so the dinnertime or lunchtime assembly is a snap.
If you keep a few fillets in your freezer, this recipe is your new best friend. On the table in about 20 minutes (including prep time), this is a great meal for days you don’t want to cook. Another bonus is that it only calls for 4 ingredients. Really. Serve it with salad and fruit, or a batch of coconut rice (which doesn’t use much heat) for a complete meal.
In the time it takes the fish to cook (just a few minutes on the stovetop), you can put together this delicious tomato-avocado salad to go on top. This method works well with cod, halibut, tilapia, catfish, and more. Change up the salad by adding sweet corn or crumbled bacon!
The beauty of stir-fry is that it uses high heat and short cook times. Use any vegetables you have waiting in your fridge and tie it all together with this peppery sauce. We love using spiralized zucchini, but any noodles or veggies will work!
7. Smoothie Bowls + Eggs.
Forever and always I’ll love having smoothies for dinner, and my kids do too, when they get to choose toppings. There are endless variations and smoothies are about as no-cook as it gets. Add a side of scrambled eggs (or just more toppings!) for a little protein and healthy fat and call it a day. These 5 Smoothie Bowls are all you need to get started.
Just add a Rotisserie Chicken
Whether you make your own rotisserie-style chicken in a slow cooker or pick one up at the store, these meals use cooked chicken, which cuts down on kitchen heat and prep time. (p.s. Sprouts and Whole Foods both carry unseasoned rotisserie chickens, which are even Whole30 approved!)
Dreams really do come true. All my favorite things in one meal–bacon, lettuce, tomato, avocado. Really, any kind of chicken salad is amazing in an avocado cup. Trust me.
This is the fresh/whole-foods version of the ramen chicken salad you might have eaten growing up. The dressing is so mind-blowing you’d never know it was this simple to put together and the little pop of brightness and sweetness from the mandarin oranges is just delightful.
Mango guacamole. I’ll let that sink in for a second. It’s the star of the show here. Serve it wrapped up in a tortilla or wrap (gluten free or wheat-based), or put the chicken in lettuce leaves and dollop the guacamole right on top. Or, just eat the guacamole with a spoon. I’ll never tell.
11. Taco Salads.
12. Ranch Chicken Bake.
This is a major family pleaser from our archives. It’s an alternative to pizza that only takes a few minutes under the broiler. Ranch dressing, chicken, fresh tomatoes, and plenty of cheese all combine to make this a recipe you’ll come back to over and over again. (Pro tip: Add crumbled bacon. Your life will never be the same again)
13. Curry Chicken Salad.
Super flavorful with just a handful of ingredients, this chicken salad is such a yummy twist on the classic. Serve it on bread, in lettuce wraps, or over quinoa or rice for a filling, flavorful dinner. Curry not your jam? Try this Classic Chicken Salad instead.
Technically, these can be vegetarian or contain meat. I switch between going with black beans only or adding some rotisserie chicken, but this peach salsa is good on everything!
What are YOUR favorite no-cook or low-cook meals?
P.S. Like this post? You might also like:
- 15 Healthy Snacks You Can Make Right Now
- Meal Prep in Minutes – How I meal prep without a lot of time or effort!
- 7 Easy Ways with Overnight Oats