No-Cook Summer Eats


IT’S HOT. Some afternoons, turning on even a single burner seems like too much, so we’ve collected some of our favorite recipes that don’t involve any cooking at all. Start with a no-cook main-dish salad with an easy homemade dressing, and finish with a super-simple make-ahead cold dessert. We provide plenty of variations for each one, so you can keep your cool all (sweltering) summer long.


Miso Dressing

Makes 2 cups

7 ounces (half of a 14-ounce package) soft tofu
¾ cup white miso paste
2 tablespoons honey
¼ cup rice vinegar
¼ cup grapeseed oil (or other neutral oil)
1 tablespoon tamari
4 large basil leaves

Place all ingredients into a food processor and blend until smooth.

Spring Herb Dressing

Makes 2 cups

¼ teaspoon finely grated garlic
1 lemon, zested and juiced, ½ tablespoon juice reserved
1 tablespoon fresh dill, chopped
3 tablespoons chopped fresh basil
2 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley
1 cup mayonnaise
1 cup Greek yogurt
½ cup buttermilk
Two shakes of Worcestershire sauce
Pinch cayenne
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste

Stir together garlic and lemon juice, and let sit for several minutes. Add all other ingredients and whisk until blended. Add salt and pepper to taste.

Charred Tomato and Onion Vinaigrette

Makes 3 cups

OK, we concede that this recipe does involve using your broiler, but that step can easily be done outside on a grill.

6 Roma tomatoes, cut in half
1 small red onion, medium diced
2 garlic cloves, peeled
1 bunch scallions, roots and ends trimmed
¼ cup grapeseed oil (or other neutral oil)
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
½ cup sherry vinegar
2 tablespoons honey
¾ cup olive oil
¼ teaspoon cumin seed, toasted and crushed
¼ teaspoon coriander, toasted and crushed
1 orange, zested

1  Preheat broiler; line a baking sheet with parchment paper and set aside.

2  Toss tomatoes, onion, garlic (left whole) and scallion (left whole) with grapeseed oil, and season with salt and pepper.

3  Lay vegetables out in a single layer, tomatoes skin side up, on prepared baking sheet. Broil until tender and lightly charred, about 7 to 8 minutes; let cool.

4  Place vegetables (including any pan drippings) and remaining ingredients into a food processor and blend until smooth. Adjust to taste with vinegar and oil if necessary, as tomatoes vary in sweetness.

Main-dish, no-cook salad ideas

Thinly shredded lacinato kale, leftover grilled corn, halved cherry tomatoes, shaved red onion, chopped cucumber and shredded carrots. Toss with Spring Herb Dressing; set aside for 10 minutes. Top with sliced leftover grilled steak and crumbled blue cheese or goat cheese.

Chopped romaine, shredded leftover chicken breast (or store-bought rotisserie chicken breast), sliced peaches and sliced green onions. Toss with Spring Herb Dressing and top with crumbled goat cheese.

Shredded leftover chicken breast (or store-bought rotisserie chicken breast), shelled edamame, shredded napa cabbage, sliced romaine lettuce, shredded carrots, and sliced red bell peppers; toss with Miso Dressing and top with toasted cashews.

Leftover cooked noodles (such as soba, ramen or even linguine or angel hair), shredded leftover salmon or chicken breast (or store-bought rotisserie chicken breast), thinly sliced mint leaves, chopped cilantro, cubed cucumbers, sliced green onions; toss with Miso Dressing. Top with toasted sliced almonds.

Oil-packed canned tuna, watercress, hearts of palm, avocado, thinly sliced celery, and thinly sliced radish; toss with Charred Tomato and Onion Vinaigrette and top with toasted walnuts and pitted, chopped green olives.

Leftover cooked quinoa, cubed cucumber, halved cherry tomatoes, thinly sliced celery, canned chickpeas, shaved red onion and arugula; toss with Charred Tomato and Onion Vinaigrette and top with crumbled pita chips.

granita-vertRosé Granita

Serves 6

1 cup water
½ cup sugar
1 (750-ml.) bottle dry rosé wine
2 teaspoons fresh lime juice

1  To make simple syrup, combine water and sugar in a small saucepan over medium heat; stir until sugar dissolves completely. Set aside to cool completely.

2  Stir together simple syrup, rosé and lime juice. Pour mixture into a 9×13-inch pan and place in freezer. Freeze 30 minutes; using a fork, scrape icy edges into center of the pan. Freeze until mixture is frozen, scraping edges into center every 25 to 30 minutes, about 3 hours total. Before serving, use a fork to “fluff” the mixture.

3  Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least 4 hours or overnight. To serve, top with fresh raspberries, chocolate chips or sliced strawberries.

More Ideas

• Use sauvignon blanc and use grapefruit juice instead of lime juice.

• Puree 4 cups cubed seedless watermelon and pour through a fine-mesh sieve; add 1 tablespoon fresh lime juice and stir in ¼ to ½ cup sugar to taste.

• Combine 2 cups cold-brew coffee and ½ cup simple syrup; serve topped with whipped cream.


Icebox Cake

Serves 6

3 cups heavy cream
3 tablespoons sugar
2 (9-ounce) packages chocolate wafer cookies

1  Combine cream and sugar in the bowl of an electric mixer; whip until soft peaks form.

2  Place one layer of cookies (about 7 or 8) on the bottom of a cake plate or serving plate. Top with ½ cup whipped cream, spreading to the edges. Continue with remaining cookies and cream, ending with a layer of cream.

3  Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate at least 4 hours and up to overnight. Top with fresh raspberries, chocolate chips or sliced strawberries.

More Ideas

• Mash 1 pint of fresh raspberries with a fork in a shallow bowl; fold into whipped cream along with ½ cup miniature chocolate chips.

• Use lemon wafers instead of chocolate. Finely chop ½ cup candied ginger; fold into whipped cream along with 2 teaspoons finely grated lemon zest. Top with additional chopped candied ginger.

• Add 1 tablespoon Dutch cocoa powder while whipping cream. Drizzle cookies with jarred salted caramel sauce before spreading with chocolate whipped cream; drizzle more salted caramel sauce over top.

• Fold ½ cup prepared lime curd into whipped cream and use graham crackers instead of chocolate wafers.