(Mostly) No-Cook Summer Recipes to Keep You Cool

The hot weather is the perfect time for picnics and pool-side chilling, but the sun takes a lot out of you, and it surely works up an appetite, which is why we’ve made a list of our favorite mostly no-cook recipes to keep you cool during that next heat wave.

This Monday, we are providing you with some seasonal plant-based recipes for your next outdoor adventure. We’ve got superfood salads jazzed up with funky spice blends, chilled soups with a bit of a twist, as well as some hearty dips, and refreshing desserts that use summer fruits and vegetables, and don’t require cooking (well, not much cooking). Bring any one of these dishes to the next cookout and impress your family and friends with your culinary chops.

Blueberry Blender Nice Cream

Create a guiltless dairy-free “ice cream” in under five minutes, with this recipe for blueberry blender nice cream by Kind Earth. All you need is three ingredients: frozen bananas, frozen blueberries, and a hint of vanilla extract. Throw them all in the blender and whir until creamy and smooth.

Curry Chickpea Salad

Bust out the pita bread and load those pockets up with this aromatic and flavorful curry chickpea salad from Jessica in the Kitchen. The combination of raisins, fresh dill, red onion, diced pickles, and curry powder makes this salad a yummy mixture of sweet, tangy, and salty. 

Classic Baba Ghanoush

Baba ghanoush is basically just hummus that uses roasted eggplant instead of chickpeas. Eggplant can be bitter on its own, but when fire roasted and mashed with tahini (sesame paste), it takes on a rich smoky flavor that’s perfect for picnics or lunch by the pool. This recipe for classic baba ghanoush by Tori Avey is more rustic than traditional recipes, but hey, that’s what makes it a classic.

Fig and Rosemary Black-Olive Tapenade

Tapenade is traditionally made with olives, capers, and anchovies, but this recipe for rosemary black olive tapenade from Mrs. Jones’s Kitchen replaces fish with figs! Sweet, earthy, and herbaceous, you’ll fall in love with this versatile spread, which you can add to sandwiches or use as a dip for crackers or veggies.

Mango saladGrilled Summer Corn Salad with Mango and Black Beans

Roasting summer corn brings out a yummy smoky sweetness, which makes this roasted summer corn salad a crowd pleaser. Pairing the corn with fresh mango and black beans adds different textures and flavor contrasts that will keep you coming back for another bite. Plus, black beans are an excellent source of plant-based protein.

Miso Zucchini Noodles

No cooking required for these Asian-inspired miso zucchini noodles from A Virtual Vegan. Carrots and slices of red pepper add a fresh crunch to this umami-rich, cold zoodle dish.

Moroccan Carrot Salad

Carrots take center stage in this Moroccan carrot salad. A North-African spice blend elevates the carrot, making it both sweet and pungent. The dish can be cooked ahead of time, but it’s best served tepid or cold, so all the different flavors have time to marinate.

Simple Strawberry Oat Smoothie

The best way to eat your oats is to blend them up with strawberries and bananas. This recipe for a simple strawberry oat smoothie from Beautiful Eats and Things gets nice and creamy from the oats, bananas, and almond milk, and it’s just perfect for sipping poolside.

Summer Gazpacho

Gazpacho is cool, refreshing, and bursting with flavor, especially when using fresh summer produce. And although tomatoes are the star of this summer gazpacho from The Salty Marshmallow, the bell pepper, cucumber, and green onion add surprising bursts of flavor after each spoonful.

Cucumber Dill SaladTangy Cucumber Salad

Cucumbers are abundant during the summer season, which is wonderful, because they are so versatile. You can turn them into soup, dip, and tzatziki, but we love them in this bright and light tangy cucumber salad, which includes dill, paper-thin slices of red onion, and yogurt (use a non-dairy variety to make recipe completely plant-based).

Vegan Summer Succotash

Succotash showcases the best that summer produce has to offer. This recipe for summer succotash from Fit Living Eats uses a combination of carrots, corn, tomatoes, zucchini, and yellow squash, and can be served hot, chilled, or room-temperature.

Watermelon Creamsicle Smoothie Bowl

Chill out on a hot summer afternoon with this luscious watermelon creamsicle smoothie bowl from The Beach House Kitchen. The recipe only calls for four ingredients — orange juice, coconut milk, frozen watermelon, and black sesame seeds — but together they pack a big punch of flavor.

Watermelon Pico de Gallo Salsa

Bright, fresh, and the right amount of spicy, this recipe for watermelon pico de gallo salsa from The Short Order Cook is the proper summer-time snack. Pops of cilantro and jalapeño pair nicely with the juiciness of the watermelon. Serve with chips for any easy appetizer.

Chickpea Salad Niçoise Sandwiches

A meatless reinvention of the traditional Niçoise salad, this version combines spicy chickpea mash and sliced boiled eggs, nestled in a hollowed-out country bread lathered with tapenade.

For the Chickpea Salad Niçoise Sandwiches recipe, click here.

Pad Thai Zoodle Salad

A tangy, meatless iteration with zucchini noodles, this recipe combines cubed tofu, bean sprouts, red peppers, and other fresh veggies in a salty yet sweet marinade.

For the Pad Thai Zoodle Salad recipe, click here.

Artichoke Panzanella 

This artichoke Panzanella is a unique spin on the traditional Italian bread and tomato salad. Let the flavors of basil and olive oil mix with artichoke and tomatoes for a truly meatless, no-cook experience.

For the Artichoke Panzanella recipe, click here.

Vegan Ceviche Lettuce Cups 

Want to enjoy the bright, refreshing flavors of ceviche, just without the seafood? Using tofu and seaweed instead of fish adds an extra surprise of ocean flavor to this citrusy plant-based appetizer.

For the Vegan Ceviche Lettuce Cups recipe, click here.

Click here for more Meatless Monday recipes. When posting pictures of recipes to your social media network, tag @MeatlessMonday use #MeatlessMonday to show the plant-based community your creation.