No-Cook Recipes That Are Perfect for Summer Dining

gazpacho salad with croutons
Christopher Testani

Summer is all about embracing the warm weather, spending plenty of time seaside, and eating delicious food in the open air. And when the weather is hot, the last thing you want to do is spend more time than necessary in a hot kitchen. That's when these delicious no-cook summer recipes come in handy. While some equipment, such as a food processor or blender, is needed, you won't need to turn on your oven, stove, or grill in order to make these easy, seasonal dishes.

One of the most delicious no-cook summer recipes is gazpacho; this chilled soup is typically made with tomatoes, cucumbers, red bell pepper, and vinegar, and while our version doesn't stray too far from the classic, it does feature orange juice, which brightens the flavor with a subtle tang. For a different take, try the Gazpacho Salad with Croutons, pictured here. It's like a hybrid of gazpacho and a Panzanella salad. Chopped tomatoes, bell pepper, cucumbers, and croutons are arranged on a platter, then dressed with a garlic and sherry vinaigrette.

Looking for another inspired way to use your bounty of summer tomatoes? Try our Bloody Mary Tomato Salad, which is a clever iteration of the brunch cocktail. A variety of colorful heirloom tomatoes are sprinkled with all the makings of this boozy favorite—celery, caraway seeds, horseradish, chives, and a Worcestershire dressing.

We also have some sweet no-cook summer recipes that will help you to cool off after a long, hot day in the sun. One of our favorites is Martha's Strawberry Ice Cream, which uses an entire pound of strawberries to create the pretty-in-pink hue. An additional cup of macerated berries is folded into the churned ice cream right before freezing.

From starters to sweets, these no-cook summer recipes are as easy to make as they are delicious.

01 of 24

Yogurt Dip with Crudités and Chips

Aya Brackett

Pair this za'atar-laced yogurt dip with just about any vegetable, from in-season bell peppers or cucumbers to crunchy classics like endive, fennel, cauliflower, and broccolini.

02 of 24

Italian Pressed Sandwich

Italian Pressed Sandwich
Bryan Gardner

It's make-ahead, it's packed with cured meats, cheeses, and watercress (an underestimated salad green), and it's one big sandwich that feeds four. Need we say more?

03 of 24

Hold-the-Cabbage Slaw

Hold-the-Cabbage Slaw
Petrina Tinslay

Crunchy and colorful, this summer slaw is the perfect side to accompany grilled chicken, pulled pork, or any other seasonal main. Celery, fennel, and golden beets serve as the base, and fresh chives and mint brighten up every bite.

04 of 24

Martha's Strawberry Ice Cream

strawberry ice cream
Marcus Nilsson

Whether you choose a cup or a cone, it's not summer without a double scoop of ice cream. Make your own using Martha's favorite recipe.

05 of 24


spanish gazpacho
Dana Gallagher

Soup isn't exactly synonymous with summer, but this chilled gazpacho recipe will become your new favorite. A combination of red bell pepper and fresh heirloom tomatoes—plus orange juice, garlic, and red onion—bring seasonal, juicy flavors to each bowl.

06 of 24

Kale and Lentil Bowl with Avocado Dressing

Bryan Gardner

Like a grain bowl, only with cooked lentils instead of the grain, plus a creamy avocado dressing, shredded lacinato kale, and crunchy roasted almonds, this hearty vegetarian dinner is just the thing when you're hungry but it's too hot to cook. The cheddar lends added protein and calcium and makes it a satisfying and filling meal. Look for cooked vacuum-packed lentils in the produce section; we prefer them to canned.

07 of 24

Late-Summer Chopped Salad with Cottage Cheese

late summer chop

As the end of summer draws near, keep things simple with this 10 minute, six-ingredient salad that's served over cottage cheese. Chop apple, cucumber, and fennel, then dress everything with olive oil and rice-wine vinegar.

08 of 24

Berries-and-Cherries Ice Cream Cake

berries cherries ice cream cake
Marcus Nilsson

With layers of chocolate wafers, fresh sweet cherries and berries, and cherry ice cream, this is one spectacular dessert. The cherry on top is that you can make it up to two days before you plan to serve it.

09 of 24

Guacamole Without Tomatoes

guacamole with tortilla chips
Martyna Szczesna

Scoop up every last bit of this crowd-friendly guacamole with warm tortilla chips. We've left out the tomatoes here so that creamy avocado—accented with lime juice, white onion, jalapeño, and cilantro—can really shine.

10 of 24

Zucchini Lasagna with Farmer Cheese

zucchini lasagna

Not your usual lasagna, this version swaps the pasta for slices of zucchini and there's no cooking required. The squash is layered with creamy farmer cheese, tomatoes, and basil leaves for a super summery dinner.

11 of 24

Mediterranean Three-Bean Salad

Mediterranean Three-Bean Salad
Petrina Tinslay

In just 25 minutes, you can prepare this crowd-friendly salad without having to turn on your oven. Roasted piquillo peppers and curly leaf parsley perk up canned white and pink beans, and green beans.

12 of 24

Melon Milk Pops

melon milk pops
Marcus Nilsson

These tie-dye inspired popsicles are easy to make and even easier to love. In three separate batches, purée watermelon, cantaloupe, and honeydew with condensed milk (or coconut milk for a vegan treat), then freeze into pop molds.

13 of 24

Chilled Sour-Cherry Soup

chilled sour-cherry soup flecked with dill and cilantro
Mikkel Vang

We're not over sour cherry season just yet. Turn June's brightest berry into a chilled savory soup. All you need to do is purée and strain the fresh berries, then mix with mashed garlic, chopped cilantro, and dill for a flavorful no-cook recipe.

14 of 24

Greek-Taverna Salad

Greek-Taverna Salad
Petrina Tinslay

There are a few fabulous facts about this salad—the vegetables are completely customizable (choose whatever looks best at the farmers' market) and everyone can pick and choose exactly what they want to eat (not a fan of feta? No problem!). Best of all, you can prepare this no-cook recipe well in advance, so dinner will be on the table in a flash.

15 of 24

Spicy Sesame Carrot Noodles

spicy sesame carrot salad
Armando Rafael

Honey tempers the Sriracha in this no-cook carrot salad. It makes a great last-minute side dish as it takes just 15 minutes to make.

16 of 24

Strawberry Gelée with Rose Granita

strawberry gelee with rose granita
Marcus Nilsson

This dessert is just as apt for a casual neighborhood block party as it is for elegant entertaining. Top strawberry gelée (think Jello) with a berry-and-rose frozen granita for a delicious treat that doubles as a buzzy bite.

17 of 24

Tomato Burrata Bites

burrata bites
Bryan Gardner

Who doesn't love sweet, creamy burrata cheese? Pipe it into hollowed-out Campari tomatoes, then sprinkle with olive oil, flaky sea salt, and basil for a bite-sized twist on a classic Caprese salad.

18 of 24

Tofu with Baby Bok Choy and Rice Noodles

Bryan Gardner

Rice noodles are "cooked" in hot tap water for this easy vegan dinner. It's a lively and refreshing meal.

19 of 24

Shredded-Carrot-and-Cabbage Coleslaw

carrot cabbage slaw
Ren Fuller

Summertime is all about easy living, so make this super simple slaw in just 10 minutes. Toss red cabbage and spiralized carrots together with a sweet and sharp dressing made from apple cider vinegar, whole-grain mustard, honey, and cayenne pepper.

20 of 24

Kale-and-Avocado Salad with Dates

Marcus Nilsson

Sweet, creamy, and substantial, this salad adds pine nuts, Parmesan shavings, and a tangy lemon vinaigrette to its powerhouse produce ingredients for a dish you're sure to want to make again.

21 of 24

Shucked Oysters with Three Sauces

Shucked Oysters with Three Sauces
Thomas Loof

Nothing says summer like shucking oysters seaside. This impressive spread features three sauces—fresh horseradish, jalapeño mignonette, and red wine mignonette—all three can be made up to a month in advance to save on prep time.

22 of 24

Herbed Chickpea Sandwiches

Herbed Chickpea Sandwich
Bryan Gardner

These easy open-faced sandwiches are simply delicious and a snap to make. Just mash canned chickpeas, then stir in crumbled feta, olive oil, lemon juice, and fresh dill. Top with sliced tomatoes for a no-cook vegetarian tartine.

23 of 24

Bloody-Mary Tomato Salad

bloody mary tomato salad
Dana Gallagher

Turn everyone's favorite brunch cocktail into a beautiful salad. Colorful heirloom tomatoes are dressed with lemon juice, Worcestershire, celery, and caraway seeds, horseradish, and chives for a delicious no-cook summer appetizer.

24 of 24

Fourth of July Rice Krispie Treats

rice krispie treats with fruit
Bryan Gardner

Upgrade ordinary rice cereal bars with freeze-dried berries folded into the mixture for a colorful look that's fun to eat anytime during the summer. And if that's not festive enough, we've added a bonus middle layer of vanilla ice cream.

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