Simple Delicious Recipes Without Stove or Oven
February 23, 2010 2:11 PM   Subscribe

I'd love to know simple and delicious recipes that don't require any actually cooking (save for tossing something in the microwave.) What are your favorite no-cook recipes?

If you know of a previous question that covers this, let me know!

Examples would be: sardines on crackers (not sure what to garnish it with, though), or avocados w/corn and black beans (thanks bitter girl!).

I guess this is a lot like a request for no-fuss recipes, but I'm looking specifically for recipes that don't require me to turn on the stove or oven, and I can throw together without too much prep.

Though you can include them, I'd like to avoid lettuce-based salads if possible...I just don't enjoy lettuce very much.
posted by thisperon to Food & Drink (35 answers total) 82 users marked this as a favorite
Crackers & milk. Crumble crackers into a bowl. Pour milk over the top. Add sugar to taste.
posted by torquemaniac at 2:13 PM on February 23, 2010

Bean salad- a couple cans of beans, washed; oil and vinegar; whatever veggies like carrots and peppers and mushrooms you want; pepper.
posted by showbiz_liz at 2:14 PM on February 23, 2010

Tabouleh - of which there are several variations. This recipe is from awesome London restaurant Moro.
posted by MuffinMan at 2:16 PM on February 23, 2010

Are you looking for lunch/dinner type recipes? Smoothies don't require cooking...just toss whatever fruit you like + milk/juice/yogurt.

Also, sandwiches come to mind. I like avocado, cheese, and hummus on mine.

But did you want dinner recipes? Snacks? Full meals?
posted by too bad you're not me at 2:20 PM on February 23, 2010

Canned black beans, heated, topped with salsa.
posted by Joe Beese at 2:23 PM on February 23, 2010

Cold canned green beans with salt. Sooo good.
Half a roma and salt.
Corn, salsa, black beans mixed with sour cream.
Pickles and salsa is my personal favorite snack.

Cannellini beans, black beans, chopped beets, julienne carrots, chopped sweet onions and cucumber. (any veg will work, the beans and beets are the key!)
posted by caveat at 2:28 PM on February 23, 2010

Frozen chicken breasts, dump a jar of salsa over, microwave til done. Even though my microwave has a carousel I find I still need to turn the breasts around in the dish about halfway through in order to cook evenly.

Frozen fish (tilapia, cod): Squirt with lime juice, dot with butter, nuke til done.

I would serve the above with steamed broccoli and probably instant mashed potatoes (because I am a lazy ass, but I also think they taste good.)
posted by Serene Empress Dork at 2:29 PM on February 23, 2010

This isn't super-fast but doesn't require any actual cooking since you're just mixing and layering. And it's soooo good.

Paula Deen's Banana Pudding
posted by radioamy at 2:31 PM on February 23, 2010 [1 favorite]

Seconding bean salad. When I make my bean salad, I get a couple cans of organic "salad beans" (or two cans of kidney beans, pinto beans, black beans, chickpeas or whatever kind of beans you'd want in a salad - mix and match). A can of tuna fish. A 1/4 lb block of feta cheese, which you use half of. Cilantro, or parsley if you're one of those people that thinks cilantro tastes like soap. Dice up some cucumber and bell pepper, chop scallions or red onions, as much as you want in the salad. Mix it all together with Italian dressing. It's great to bring to work as a simple meal you don't have to worry about heating up, or just eat it at home, where it's just as good.
posted by wondermouse at 2:36 PM on February 23, 2010 [4 favorites]

This is off-topic, but have you considered a slow cooker? You just throw a bunch of ingredients into the crockpot and go away for 8 hours. Obviously not as fast as the microwave, but often a good deal tastier, and just as little effort.
posted by jenkinsEar at 2:37 PM on February 23, 2010 [1 favorite]

This Thai tuna salad recipe is delicious, and nothing like the mayonnaisey tuna salad you're probably used to. Some of the ingredients are a challenge to find, but it's worth it.
posted by Metroid Baby at 2:38 PM on February 23, 2010 [1 favorite]

Gazpacho (not authentic): fresh tomatoes, chopped seeded cucumers, red pepper, jalapeno, lime juice, garlic, couple handfuls of herbs (I like cilantro and mint), onion (red, white, scallion, whatever). through it all in food processor/blender, add salt to taste. A delicious liquid salad. I love this when it is way too hot to eat anything cooked.
posted by maryrussell at 2:45 PM on February 23, 2010 [1 favorite]

Response by poster: Oooh. If anyone wants to see my grocery list this week, it's this thread.

But did you want dinner recipes? Snacks? Full meals?
posted by too bad you're not me at 2:20 PM on February 23 [mark as best answer] [+] [!]

Any, really. The way I eat, I don't really make a distinction between types of meals. I eat cereal at night, steak in the morning, snacks as dinner.

This is off-topic, but have you considered a slow cooker? You just throw a bunch of ingredients into the crockpot and go away for 8 hours. Obviously not as fast as the microwave, but often a good deal tastier, and just as little effort.
posted by jenkinsEar at 2:37 PM on February 23 [mark as best answer] [+] [!]

I have a slow cooker and I think it's great, but sometimes it's wonderfully satisfying just to dump ingredients A & B into a bowl and eat them right away.
posted by thisperon at 2:51 PM on February 23, 2010

One jar of refried black beans with a spoonful of mole sauce (from a jar) stirred in, heated up. Microwave works fine. It works without the mole sauce, but is better with it. Be sure to stir thoroughly.

Hummus can be made with just a blender.
posted by dilettante at 3:06 PM on February 23, 2010 [1 favorite]

Put Romaine lettuce in bowl
Top with can of quality tuna fish
Drizzle with dressing made from 1/3 mayo, and 2/3 Blue Cheese dressing, add a few Tbsp of Honey Mustard (to taste).
posted by lobstah at 3:18 PM on February 23, 2010 [1 favorite]

Given the "eat them right away" component of this -- hit a good deli, an Italian food shop, a Costco, something like that, and stock your fridge with some giant jars of marinated/pickled everything. You can pull a few things out of a few jars and vastly improve your sandwiches and salads and so on. Some leftover pasta + marinated artichoke hearts, pickled pepperoncini, other oil-packed or vinegar-soaked etc, makes for a much nicer pasta salad than just a weak tomato from the back of the crisper. (But if your tomato is a nice one, add fresh mozzarella, basil and olive oil {or pesto} and have Caprese salad.)
posted by kmennie at 3:38 PM on February 23, 2010 [2 favorites]

Black bean soup

3 cans black beans
1 can Rotel tomatoes w/green chiles
ground cumin

Put one can of black beans through the blender first. Pour contents of all cans into a pan and heat, seasoning with ground cumin to taste. Dollop of sour cream on top when served is delicious! You could also microwave this, obviously.

There are some awesome no-bake cookie recipes out there, too, but they still require the melting of chocolate, usually.

My chili recipe is really easy, too, but it requires you to brown some ground beef first. But once you've done that you toss in:
1 LARGE can of tomato sauce
1 can of kidney beans, drained
1 can of chili beans
1 can of diced tomatoes

Season with chili powder, cumin and onion powder to taste. Let it simmer for about 20 minutes. Serve.
posted by wwartorff at 3:39 PM on February 23, 2010

On par with the crackers and milk idea above: leftover white rice, milk, and sugar in a bowl. Add a tiny bit of vanilla if you're feeling adventurous!
posted by Aleen at 3:39 PM on February 23, 2010 [1 favorite]

Best answer: I love what should I eat questions! I go a little overboard when researching though so.... sorry if this is too much.

No cooking needed:
Ploughman's Lunch - which can certainly become a dinner menu item.
It requires cheeses (Cheddar, stilton and brie, plus any others you enjoy), raw vegetables (lettuce, cucumber, tomatoes, radishes, celery, etc etc), pickled things (walnuts, onions, jalapenos, cauliflower, branston pickle and piccalilli, etc etc), bread - rolls are nice, some sausage wouldn't be out of order (although it's not "traditional") - things like dried chorizo and salami are some of our favorites.

Cream Cheese and Salsa dip - spoon cream cheese into a bowl, cover with salsa, eat with chips. (Further, chips and salsa is one of the best snacks ever.)

Chop half a red onion, a cucumber and a couple tomatoes into evenly small pieces, toss with lime juice and garnish with cilantro.

A big old salad - Spinach and crumbled goat cheese goes well with pecans and strawberries, drizzle with raspberry vinaigrette. Or sliced cabbage with sliced green onions, chopped cilantro, minced serrano chile, a spoonful of mayo and a drizzle of lime juice. Or mix arugula with raddichio, toss with red wine vinaigrette and top with parmesan shavings.

Quesadilla - Cover one tortilla with cheese, place a couple tomato slices on top of the cheese, layer with some sandwich meat of choice (ham is good), add a thin layer of cheese, cover with second tortilla. Microwave til cheese melts. Serve with sour cream.

Cheese on Toast - Doesn't necessarily require toast, just melt some cheese on some bread - complicated version would call for: grainy bread, english mustard (or butter if you'd prefer), sharp cheddar, some worcestershire sauce. Spread mustard on bread, layer with cheddar, sprinkle a few drops of worcestershire sauce. Microwave til cheese is melted.

Beans on Toast - (You can make scrambled eggs in the MW.) Also doesn't necessarily require toast. Simple Version: Microwave baked beans until hot, spread on toast (bread), sprinkle with shredded cheese. Complicated version: microwave scrambled eggs, and baked beans, assemble on top of bread as follows: eggs, beans, cheese. Eat.

Omelets - Place scrambled eggs in shallow flat bowl, sprinkle with favorite toppings, microwave until eggs are set.

Chocolate dipped anything - melt chocolate in microwave, place on wax paper and refrigerate until set. Things that can be dipped: Berries, biscuits, cookies, bananas, marshmallows, nuts, and potato chips (the ones with ridges are awesome).

Other things that can be MW'd as part of a meal: Rice, couscous (add raisins, a little lemon juice and some cilantro for a little flavor), steamed vegetables (get a microwave steamer, they're awesome!), nachos, Bean and cheese burritos, and cheese fondue (serve with bread/vegetables).
posted by kirstk at 4:52 PM on February 23, 2010 [4 favorites]

Beanies & weenies. Put canned baked beans in a bowl, chop hot dogs into it, mix & eat. Can be microwaved, too. For a fancier version use cocktail weenies or smokies.
posted by torquemaniac at 5:46 PM on February 23, 2010

Ceviche - basically, raw fish that you cold-"cook" in acid, typically lemon & lime juice.
posted by UbuRoivas at 6:03 PM on February 23, 2010

posted by Pecinpah at 6:45 PM on February 23, 2010

Finely chopped tomatoes, onions, peppers if you like them, cucumbers if you like those, mash together with feta, season to your liking (olive oil, black pepper, red pepper flakes, cumin, etc.), scoop up with pita.
posted by littleflowers at 8:17 PM on February 23, 2010 [2 favorites]

This smashed chickpea salad is super-delicious and comes together in about 10 minutes.
posted by pluckemin at 8:18 PM on February 23, 2010 [2 favorites]

Broccoli salad. Chop one head broccoli and 1 bunch green onions, mix with a cup of raisins and about ¾ cup roasted unsalted peanuts. Add black pepper to taste. Add a generous amount of ranch dressing and mix well. Broccoli never tasted this good.
posted by yawper at 9:00 PM on February 23, 2010

Pasta with butter and parmesan (microwave pasta for 6-9 minutes, add other stuff to taste).


Mashed potatoes (Microwave cut up potatoes for ~6 minutes, add sour cream, whatever. I like wasabi.)

The broccoli salad above reminds me of my favorite: Broccoli slaw (or chopped broccoli), red peppers, green onions, snappeas, sesame seeds, and soy-ginger dressing.
posted by eleanna at 9:29 PM on February 23, 2010 [1 favorite]

Spicy brocolli salad:
Sesame seeds
1/2 cap of Sesame oil
Pinch of Red chile flakes
1 cap of soy
Toss and microwave for about 1:20. Lightly steamed and delicious!
Easy to toss over leftover rice.
posted by seppyk at 5:27 AM on February 24, 2010

My favorite is a tomato salad. I'm not a huge raw tomato fan, but this is too good. You won't even need dressing, the juices from the tomatoes acts as your vinaigrette.

Tomato Salad with Arugula and Shaved Parmesan

4 - 5 large vine-ripened tomatoes (about 1 1/2 pounds)
1/2 teaspoon table salt
2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar
1 small clove garlic , minced or put through garlic press
Ground black pepper
1 small bunch arugula , cleaned and chopped coarse (about 1 cup)
1 small chunk Parmesan cheese (about 2 ounces), shaved into strips with vegetable peeler or paring knife

1. Core and halve tomatoes, then cut each half into 4 or 5 wedges. Toss wedges with salt in large bowl; let rest until small pool of liquid accumulates, 15 to 20 minutes.
2. Meanwhile, whisk oil, vinegar, garlic, and pepper to taste in small bowl. Pour mixture over tomatoes and accumulated liquid; toss to coat. Set aside to blend flavors, about 5 minutes.
3. Add arugula and Parmesan; toss to combine. Adjust seasonings and serve immediately.

Recipe is from cooks illustrated
posted by ShootTheMoon at 8:43 AM on February 24, 2010 [1 favorite]

Response by poster: I LOVE you folks.

These are all great. I want to highlight everything as best answer, but I'm going to give it to kirstk I highly approve of going overboard when it comes to the question, what's yummy?
posted by thisperon at 2:40 PM on February 24, 2010

Carrot Salad
1-2 carrots per person, depending on carrot size
peel, discard first layer of skin,
then just keep right on peeling, turning carrot as you go so strips are about even

coat w simple vinegrette
2 tsp mustard
1 tsp dried thyme or your preferred herb
1 tsp honey, or to taste
couple of pinches of salt and pepper
1/4 c red wine vinegar

whisk together the above, then slowly drizzle in 1/4 to 1/2 c olive oil, whisking the whole time

(some people like it pretty tangy, others less so)
posted by Diablevert at 3:31 PM on February 24, 2010

Sprinkle some sweetener, apple pie spice or cinnamon on some freshly diced apples.
Pop into microwave.
Delicious and takes two seconds.
posted by prithee at 6:24 PM on February 24, 2010

I have an old book of microwave recipes from General Electric (revised version here), from when microwaves were a new consumer product. It has details like the 'science' of microwave cooking, and details how to cook meats and whatnot. I'm looking at the dedication page and there's a photograph of a kitchen with ten microwaves and no ovens. Clearly their vision of the future didn't pan out as we now have both a microwave, an oven, a 'food processor', a George forman grill. But I admire your courage to jump into the future with both feet ^_^

My favorite recipe contained within is Marshmallow Crisps, aka Rice Krispy Treats:

1. Melt a 1/4 cup of butter on high for 1 minute in a massive microwave safe container.
2. Add 10 oz of marshmallows (a bag of about 40 large ones) and stir the melted butter all over them.
3. Microwave the mixture for ~3 minutes and stir like a madman.
4. Add 5 cups of rice krispies until well coated.
5. Press the mixture into a pan and wait for it to cool to cut it into squares.

Like pretty much all sugar based treats, timing is crucial. Too long and you burn it, too short and it doesn't melt or mix. But the microwave eliminates the tedius stirring to evenly heat the mix.
posted by pwnguin at 7:36 PM on February 24, 2010

Best answer: This is the best thing ever, has received nothing but compliments, and tastes exactly as I've ever had it in China/Taiwan. I basically keep all these ingredients on hand at all times anyway, so it's a handy meal to make. Good for potlucks, for dinners, for lunches, etc. I've also been known to add some cooked shrimp (fried in peanut oil with hot sauce) to bulk it up a bit.

Sesame Noodles (凉面)

2 tablespoons sesame paste (I've used peanut butter as a sub in case I can't find tahini)
2 tablespoons soy sauce
2-1/2 tablespoons sesame oil
2-1/2 tablespoons water
2 teaspoons sugar (I use brown)
2 teaspoons vinegar (rice)
chili oil, to taste (optional)

+however many noodles (a pound, say), cooked and cooled
+chopped veggies of your choosing (I slice up carrot strips very fine, as well as cucumber strips)
+chopped peanuts

For the sauce, start with one ingredient, then add the others, one at a time, mixing after each addition till the sauce is smooth, before adding the next.

Then add it to the noodles, then add the veggies, peanuts, what have you.

It's exactly what you want, I guarantee it.
posted by Curiosity Delay at 8:57 AM on February 26, 2010 [6 favorites]

These cheat a little, because you need a component that was cooked at some point, but can then be cold leftovers:

Pasta with Cherry Tomatoes and Arugula. Sits on the counter and does its thing; you're relying on the freshness and quality of the produce to see you through. You can use normal tomatoes too, but of course then you must wait until summer when said tomatoes taste good. This is more of a summer lunch than anything. It's meant to top pasta, which obviously had to be cooked at some point.

Red Seasonal Salad, so good. She has one or two others that involve leftover chicken too, I think.

Really, salads that eat like a meal if you have bread and cheese to go with them. Orangette has a million (some require cooking but a lot don't; I recommend her composed salad, escarole and avocado, Thai green mango and nut--!--sliced spring shaved fennel and mushroom, radicchio and radish, etc.), so does Mark Bittman and Cook's Illustrated.

Tuscan bean salad--cannellini beans, canned tuna, red onion, garlic, lemon juice, and lots of olive oil. Actually I mentioned that plus the usual black bean and cucumber salads here.
posted by ifjuly at 11:51 AM on February 26, 2010

Response by poster: So--I've picked up several of the ingredients to these recipes.

I decided to start with Curiosity Delay's Sesame Noodles. THEY ARE AWESOME.

I didn't even have tahini on hand, or chili paste. I just used regular somen noodles. And some chopped cucumbers. (No peanuts, since it was already peanut buttery.)

The noodles have a simple, but yummy flavor. You're IS exactly what I want! THANK YOU!!!
posted by thisperon at 7:26 PM on March 1, 2010

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