Quick and easy summer recipes
Summer is the perfect time to gather with friends and family to share meals, play outdoor games, and lounge in the sun. But if you’ve ever tried to prep a large home-cooked meal for guests in the summer, then you know exactly how awful it can be to cook in a sweltering kitchen on hot days.
Ditch sweaty meal prep and eat well by opting for easy-to-make, oven-free recipes. Quick and straightforward oven-free recipes are perfect for even the hottest nights of the year. They can be made on busy weeknights, as meal prep before the work week starts, for sharing with your household during mealtime or even for toting along to potlucks.
Gazpacho is a cold, refreshing and intensely flavorful soup which requires no cooking to make and immediately makes any mealtime feel like a summer dream. The best time of year to make Gazpacho varies by region based on when tomatoes are the ripest, but July and August are typically best.
The hardest part of making gazpacho is waiting to eat it. While it’s tempting to dig right in, you should let it chill in the fridge for at least an hour to allow the flavors to meld together.
- 6 large vine-ripened tomatoes, peeled, seeded and chopped
- 1 large cucumber, seeded and diced
- 1 large red bell pepper, diced
- 1 small red onion, diced
- ¼ cup fresh basil leaves, chiffonade
- 1 small serrano pepper, minced
- 2 cloves garlic, minced
- 3 ½ cups tomato juice
- ¼ cup extra virgin olive oil
- 1 lime, juiced
- 2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
- 1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
- 1 teaspoon soy sauce
- A dash of cumin
- A dash of hot sauce
- Salt and pepper to taste
1. To peel the tomatoes, boil a large pot of water. Cut a small “X” on the bottom of each tomato with a paring knife. Prepare a large bowl of ice and water. Carefully drop your tomatoes into the boiling water and let them sit for 30 seconds before quickly evacuating them from the boiling water and quickly plunging them into the ice bath. Peel off the skins and discard them.
2. Cut each tomato in half and remove the seeds. Discard the seeds. Chop the tomatoes into small pieces and place them in a large serving bowl.
3. Dice your seeded cucumber, red bell pepper and red onion and combine with your chopped tomato.
4. Mince garlic and serrano pepper and combine with other vegetables in the bowl.
5. Chiffonade the basil and stir in with other ingredients.
6. Add in all wet ingredients.
7. Take about ½ of the gazpacho mixture and pulse it in a blender until smooth. You can choose to blend more or less of your gazpacho mixture depending on how chunky you like your gazpacho.
8. Combine your blended and unblended mixtures in the serving bowl and stir until thoroughly combined.
9. Cover and place in the fridge for at least 2 hours (and as long as overnight before serving).
10. Drizzle with olive oil and balsamic vinegar before serving.
These turkey roll-ups are an easy-to-make crowd pleaser and are super easy to make. Perfect for bringing along to a game, serving up at a potluck, or even for a busy work week dinner or lunch.
For a delicious vegetarian alternative, use Tofurky Deli Slices.
- ½ cup cream softened cream cheese
- ½ cup mayonnaise
- ½ cup chopped drained pepperoncini
- ½ pound thin-sliced cooked turkey
- 3 slices of bacon, cooked crisp and chopped
- 2 tablespoons fresh cilantro, chopped
- 6 8-inch tortillas
- 7 leaves of leaf lettuce
- 2 medium tomatoes, sliced
1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Once preheated, warm your tortillas by wrapping your tortillas in tin foil, with three tortillas per tin foil wrap. Heat for 15 minutes.
2. In a mixing bowl, mix cream cheese and mayonnaise until uniformly combined to create a smooth mixture. Stir in the chopped bacon, cilantro and pepperoncini until thoroughly combined.
3. Spread a scoop of the cream cheese mixture on each tortilla.
4. Layer 1 slice of turkey, one slice of tomato and one leaf of lettuce onto each tortilla.
5. Roll your tortilla into a wrap. Slice your wrap in half or into seven evenly-sized rounds and secure with a toothpick.
6. Serve immediately or refrigerate for up to 24 hours.
Pineapple salsa is a fun play on a classic cold dish and is excellent as an appetizer, something to snack on while lounging outdoors or even as a topping on a delicious summer dish like fish tacos. It’s versatile, mouthwatering and requires no cooking and very little time to make.
- 1 medium fresh pineapple, diced
- 1 cup red bell peppers, diced
- ½ of 1 small red onion, diced
- ⅓ cup fresh cilantro, chopped
- 1 tablespoon jalapeno (remove seeds and ribs), minced
- 4 tablespoons lime juice
- ¼ teaspoon salt
- Dice the pineapple, red bell peppers and red onion. Chop the cilantro. Combine all four in a medium serving bowl.
- If you’re avoiding spiciness, skip the jalapeno. Otherwise, add 1 tablespoon minced jalapeno to the mixing bowl and combine with other ingredients. Add in the lime juice and salt.
- Let rest in the fridge for at least 15 minutes before serving. Serve with tortilla chips.
Spicy tofu peanut spring roll bowls
You can adapt this noodle bowl to the protein of your choice, like chicken or shrimp. It’s so good you’ll want to make it every night. It requires very little prep and only 2 minutes of boiling water time, which means you won’t heat up your kitchen. Chill the noodles before serving for a cool, refreshing dish.
You can also play with the spice here by adding more or less sriracha and more or less serrano pepper.
- 3 cloves garlic
- 2 tablespoons rice vinegar
- ¼ cup light brown sugar
- ¼ cup soy sauce
- ½ cup peanut butter
- ⅓ cup lime juice
- 1 teaspoon sesame oil
- ⅓ cup vegetable oil
- 3 tablespoons Sriracha (or more or less depending on spice preferences)
- Sapporo Ichiban Instant Noodles (discard the flavoring packet!)
- Fresh Basil, leaves left whole
- Fresh Mint, leaves left whole
- Fresh Cilantro, chopped
- 1 Serrano pepper, with ribs and seeds removed, minced
- 3 tablespoons chopped peanuts
- 1 avocado (¼ avocado per bowl)
- 1 red bell pepper, sliced into longboats
- 1 orange bell pepper, sliced into longboats
- 1 yellow bell pepper, sliced into longboats
- 1 block extra firm tofu baked in Sriracha (see below)
To prepare your tofu, preheat the oven to 425 degrees. Drain your tofu and cut it into wide, flat slices about ¼ – ½ inch thick. Press the slices with a paper towel. Brush the tofu with Sriracha using a silicone brush. Spray a cookie sheet with olive oil and spread the strips of tofu evenly on the pan. Bake for 10 minutes, flip and bake for another 10 minutes. Check if it’s crispy. If not, bake for another few minutes. Let cool.
Cook your noodles according to the instructions on the packet. For Sapporo Ichiban Instant Noodles, our noodles of choice, discard the soup packet (you mustn’t use this flavoring for this dish) and boil the noodles for only 3 minutes before evacuating into a strainer. To cool your noodles down quickly, run them under cool water. Place them in a bowl in the fridge.
For the peanut sauce, use a blender to combine all of your ingredients and blend until smooth.
Pour the peanut sauce over the noodles, toss them until evenly coated and then return the peanut noodles to the fridge while you prep the other ingredients for the bowls.
Chop each of your vegetables and keep them separate in small bowls at your cooking station.
Grab four bowls for serving. Evenly dispense the noodles into each bowl. Arrange your toppings into each bowl, adding two strips of tofu, two slices of each color bell pepper, some chopped cilantro, a few leaves of mint and basil, a pinch of minced serrano (or to preference) and a pinch of chopped peanuts. For added spice, drizzle a bit of Sriracha on top.
What you need to buy for oven-free cooking during hot summer months
This comprehensive cookbook is perfect for keeping cool all summer long while still flexing your culinary skills and trying new recipes. Stay away from your stove and make delicious, easy meals like pressure cooker pulled pork, white bean salad, potato salad and grilled meals like meat, veggies and pizza. It also includes desserts.
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Your best culinary summer wouldn’t be complete without breezy outdoor meals. Bring your no-cook meal dishes outside or fire up the grill to keep cool while lounging on this dining set, which looks and feels like a high-end addition to your summer plans.
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Whatever salad creations you serve this summer, whether classic caesar, spicy noodle, Greek or something else entirely, serve it in style with this set. Salad always seems to taste better out of a wooden bowl, and this one has a gorgeous, smooth grain surface treated with food-grade oil.
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Create cooling and refreshing treats with these silicone popsicle molds. You can make anything you want into a popsicle: juice, yogurt, apple sauce or ice cream, so you can use these to make fun treats or wholesome snacks. For adults, consider making boozy popsicles by mixing 4-ounces fruit juice with 1-ounce vodka and freezing.
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Evelyn Waugh writes for BestReviews. BestReviews has helped millions of consumers simplify their purchasing decisions, saving them time and money.
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