Summer is hitting its stride, with temperatures running high well into the evening. During these dog days of summer, dinner can only mean one thing: no-cook dinner recipes. With a little help from your pantry and a lot of help from the bounty of seasonal produce available these days, it’s easy to get dinner on the table without touching your oven, stove, or even the microwave. And just in time. Because we can’t stand the heat—but someone’s still got to feed the kids.
Canned tuna isn’t for everyone but, if you like it, it’s a great no-cook protein. Crack open a can and combine it with white beans, red onions, sweet cherry tomatoes, and some arugula to make this hearty Tuscan Tuna Salad from Better Homes and Gardens. I’d serve this with crusty bread smeared with store-bought olive tapanade. And maybe a glass of rose for the grownups, too.
Gazpacho is one of my favorite summer dishes. It’s delicious, requires no cooking and, best of all, can be served straight from the fridge. I love this idea from Every Day with Rachael Ray to serve a slightly sweet Watermelon Gazpacho with salty Prosciutto Toasts. This meal strikes a perfect balance, in more ways than one.
Shrimp is another easy no-cook protein. I always keep a bag of cooked, deveined shrimp in my freezer, especially in summer. Come dinner time, I let them thaw (in a colander with cold water running over them) and toss them with whatever salad ingredients I have on hand. This recipe for Zesty Shrimp and Avocado Salad at Skinnytaste calls for corn and some veggies. I might add black beans, too.
If you have an extra 10 minutes, you can marinate your thawed, cooked shrimp for extra flavor. This Marinated Shrimp With Mediterranean Salad at Real Simple pairs shrimp that’s been left to soak up major flavor with traditional Greek salad ingredients. It’s the perfect combination.
Just because it’s salad doesn’t mean it has to be lightweight. This no-cook Chef’s Salad with Turkey, Avocado and Jack Cheese is packed with satisfying and nutrient-dense ingredients, plus a creamy buttermilk dressing that comes together in a snap. If you’re still worried that this won’t be enough to fill everyone up, add cracked tortilla chips or even drained and rinsed pinto beans for added heft.
The easiest way to throw together a no-cook dinner with animal protein is to use a store-bought rotisserie chicken. Pick one up at the store and use it to make this Chicken Taco Salad at Pioneer Woman. Ree cooks chicken breast for this, but shredded roast chicken will be just as good. She also cooks corn for her version of the salad, but skip it on no-cook nights and add rinsed, canned black or kidney beans instead. In fact, with beans, you can skip the chicken all together and still have a filling, protein-rich meal.