What to Make When It’s Too Hot to Cook. Believe me, I get it! Here are 14 low-cook and no-cook meals you can make when it’s too hot!
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.
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 about 15 minutes. 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 with my favorite dipping sauce, they’re perfect on a hot day.
PS – In the mood for another flavor twist? Try these Thai Chicken Lettuce Wraps with Peanut Sauce!
This easy chicken salad with grapes is the perfect way to use leftover rotisserie, poached, roasted, or even grilled chicken. Serve on toast, in wraps, as a sandwich with bread, spooned over greens, or scooped into lettuce leaves. SO easy. So good.
PS – Craving another flavor? Check out our Ultimate Guide to Chicken Salad with EIGHT flavors of chicken salad to choose from!
I love ordering big chopped salads like this at restaurants, but they’re also super simple to make at home! This easy chopped salad doesn’t require any cooking at all. Cold cuts, pantry staples, and plenty of fresh produce make this salad easy and fast. And the tangy Italian dressing ties everything all together!
PRO TIP: Serve the components separately and let everyone build their own salad just the way they like!
These creamy, refreshing acai bowls are the PERFECT way to cool down on a hot day. Top them with whatever fresh fruit you have on hand, plus a little granola and your tastebuds are on their way to a tropical vacation!
PS – Want a more classic acai bowl? Try this recipe made without peanut butter!
Everything you love about a BLT in salad form! You can follow my steps to cook your own bacon and make homemade croutons if you want or feel free to add pre-cooked bacon and store-bought croutons to speed things up and cut down on the already pretty minimal cooking time. (The creamy dressing is going to blow your mind!)
Talk about a gorgeous salad! This Thai chopped salad uses colorful veggies, some serious crunch, and a creamy peanut or cashew dressing on top to pull it all together. Your tastebuds will never be the same again. (Use leftover rotisserie or grilled chicken to make this a totally no-cook dinner!)
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, paleo, 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.
This vegan black bean tostada recipe is one of my favorites. From the quick guacamole to the tangy slaw to the mango salsa, they’re FRESH, easy and totally perfect on nights it’s too hot to cook.
9. TACO PASTA SALAD.
If you’re willing to cook some pasta, the rest of this easy dinner comes together in a FLASH. Think taco salad + pasta salad. This is the best of both worlds, and the dressing is CRAZY good. We make this on repeat all summer long!
If you really need something light and fresh, these fruit & yogurt parfaits are calling your name! My berry puree tastes amazing with dairy or non-dairy yogurt, and you can add whatever granola or fresh fruit you fancy. (Add a side of scrambled eggs or some toast or muffins to fill this out a bit for dinner, if you want!)
Stir some of your favorite BBQ Sauce into some leftover cooked chicken, and get ready to make this amazing BBQ Ranch Chicken Salad. Lots of summer veggies and my creamy BBQ ranch dressing make it ultra crave-able.
This gorgeous quinoa salad can be made with all sorts of summer-ripe veggies, so feel free to mix and match from whatever looks good at the market! The bright dressing will tie everything together.
We eat a lot of salads in the summer, but this one is one of Michael’s most-requested. We love taco salads in all their forms and this one can be made with chicken or meatless. The veggies, southwest dressing, and tortilla strips make it extra amazing. (Don’t miss our other favorite taco salad dressings in the post!)
Dreams really do come true. So many favorite things in one meal–bacon, lettuce, tomato, avocado. Really, any kind of chicken salad is amazing in an avocado cup. Trust me. (Plus, this can be a great keto option, if that’s your jam!)
BONUS IDEA: YUMMY WAYS TO MAKE TOAST
When you REALLY don’t feel like cooking, it’s nice when you can turn something ordinary like toast into a satisfying meal. This post is packed with LOTS of savory and sweet ideas for toast, plus six of our favorite combinations. Each one is hearty enough to count as a meal with some simple fruits or veggies on the side!
What are YOUR favorite no-cook or low-cook meals?
P.S. Like this post? You might also like:
- THE BEST Watermelon Slushies – Made with healthy ingredients!
- Meal Prep in Minutes – How I meal prep without a lot of time or effort!
- 7 Easy Ways with Overnight Oats