There’s nothing like midsummer heat to make cooking feel like a chore. But even during the hottest days, who doesn’t want to eat beautiful, fresh summer food—while keeping the heat out of the kitchen? I decided it would be fun to do an issue full of delicious no-cook dinners, and once I got going, it became a bit of a game. I’d think of something perfect for summer, like a BLT, and would realize, oh, but you have to cook the bacon! Or I’d think of something lovely and summery like a Niçoise Salad and realize, oh, you have to cook the green beans and potatoes, even if you use canned tuna instead of sautéed salmon! But you know I love a challenge.
Now is the perfect time for tomatoes as a centerpiece, and my first favorite as I lean into summer is to let the evenings be about a spectacular charcuterie platter. Be sure to include beautiful fruits, vegetables, and dips like my Cashew Crema and Pistachio Pesto. It’s easy to keep this platter vegan, or you can certainly go all the way and tuck in some mozzarella and salami. Present a platter large enough for your group or create a beautiful individual small cold plate just for one. But if you want to keep it Whole30, HERE is a great Caprese.
Greek Salad is absolutely perfect when you’re entertaining a group and have no desire to cook. Combine sheep’s milk feta in brine, beautiful summer tomatoes, cucumber, kosher salt, pepper, and Marinated Red Onions, and take it up a notch by adding avocado. It’s the kind of thing you can pull together in literally ten minutes, along with a rotisserie chicken. It’s a classic dish and always a favorite on the blog. Here we gave it a twist by picking up cooked shrimp from our local fishmonger.
Sometimes it’s even too hot to think, and that’s when I love a big arugula salad with lemon vinaigrette, sprinkled with Parmesan, hunks of avocado, and cubed salami–delicious, light, and refreshing. The combination of the texture of the Parmesan, the fattiness of the salami, and the tart of the lemon dressing is just spectacular. For Watermelon Salad, there’s simply no better time than now. If you’ve never paired watermelon with sheep’s milk feta in brine, it’s a must-do and absolutely divine.
My very favorite breakfast on repeat when I’m not doing Whole30 is toasted bread with feta or mozzarella, tomatoes, and Marinated Red Onions. When doing Whole30, the ease of a jammy egg, sliced tomatoes, Marinated Red Onions, and fresh basil is a great way to start your day.
Aren’t snack dinners are the best? And they’re a great way to get the entire family involved. It’s also a fun way to use your Mini Crum-bowls. Let each family member select three items to include–but it’s also fun to go with a theme, like all Mexican or all Middle Eastern. Here I’ve used a mix of deliciousness like babaghanouj, hummus, pita, cheese, guacamole and chips, fresh and dried vegetables, fruit, and trail mix. I placed this platter in front of a group of friends, and it was devoured happily. Another great snack platter is this celebration babaghanouj and hummus platter.
Canapés are a great idea for the family. They’re so much fun, and you can use items picked up at the grocery store or challenge yourself to use what you have on hand. Here are two: one with pineapple, rotisserie chicken, cucumber, and Marinated Red Onions; and another with steak, black olives, peppers, and cheese–but easily done Whole30 without that cheese. And for my vegan friends, use avocado, cucumber, tomato, and a peach wedge, topped with Marinated Red Onions. Be creative, because the sky’s the limit, and by the way, this happens to be a spectacular way to clean out your fridge.
What about the simplicity of a sandwich? As Roy said recently, “There’s simply nothing better than a delicious soft loaf of bread with high-quality peanut butter and a lovely jam.” And that’s from a guy who makes a world-class pasta dish. My tuna salad is another fantastic no-cook sandwich option. Add spoonsful of olive tapenade or giardiniera to make it even more divine. It’s delicious with gluten-free crackers, wonderful with bread, and if you’re of the opinion that toasting isn’t quite cooking, slightly toast yours and melt some cheese on top.
When it’s breakfast for just one or two, use whatever you have on hand, like cucumbers, tomatoes, or salad. Beautiful dishes and cloth napkins simply make food taste better. I’ve long been a gal who would prefer to serve on a lovely plate than a paper one, even in the summer. My dad always told us that it was far better to use our beautiful things and break them than to leave them in a cupboard unused and unbroken. I have certainly taken that to heart. When you want to keep it simple, there is nothing better than a delicious smoothie. Easy to blend together with almost no cleanup, they are so delicious, and satisfyingly cold. One of my favorite summer breakfasts is my Skyr Soft Serve, or skyr with fruit, stuffed into a half cantaloupe or papaya. What a great way to start the day!
However, if you’re looking for something that requires minimal cooking, and you really want that BLT, let’s not forget what perfection it is. And there’s always my legendary egg salad.
To keep the heat out of the kitchen, boil extra potatoes and grill some extra proteins at the beginning of the week, so that no-cook dinners are easy to assemble because you’ll have plenty of choices. I asked a number of foodie friends for their favorite no-cook summer dinners, and I can’t wait to hear yours, too.
This is an excerpt from our Friday Favorites newsletter Issue #91, which was all about No-Cook Meals. The issue had contributions from @thekitchenista, @dianemorrisey, @thedefineddish, @iheartumami.ny, @annamaegroves, @cookbycolor, and @poshchicagoshop who all shared some amazing ideas for no-cook meals. If you enjoyed this post, sign up to get future Friday Favorites right to your inbox HERE! If you would like to read this full issue, screenshot your Friday Favorites confirmation. DM Teri with the screenshot and let her know you’d like the full issue!
Greek Inspired Shrimp SaladPrint
This is a no-cook take on my Greek Salad!
1 pound shrimp, cooked store bought
7 oz romaine heart leaves
1 cup English cucumber, halves
½ cup olives, halves
1 -2 avocados, sliced
Marinated Red Onions MAGIC ELIXIRS and oil
2 cups assorted tomatoes, halves or quarter
¾ pound of Sheep’s milk Feta cheese in brine
Salt, to taste
Pepper, to taste
Make Marinated Red Onions MAGIC ELIXIRS at least one hour ahead of time. Cut vegetables and set aside.
Assemble vegetables and shrimps on a large platter. Add the Feta cheese and top with the Marinated Onions. Salt and pepper the vegetables and drizzle a generous amount of Marinated Onion oil all over the salad.
Remember that this recipe is just a guide. It’s good to get in the habit of “eyeing” what is enough for the group you’re feeding and making those adjustments. Maybe there is a tomato lover so you can add more tomatoes. Cheese lovers? Get a pound of Feta. Or if someone likes more protein, buy a rotisserie chicken and add that on.
Keywords: quick and easy salad, filling salad, shrimp salad