Recipes for not standing over a hot stove
May 26, 2018 4:11 PM   Subscribe

It's hot. Give me your no-cook or minimally cooked recipes so I can eat well but not make my 90 degree apartment any hotter.

I live in a third floor apartment with no AC and I don't want to spend my summer living off of salads and takeout. I'm looking for recipes that take minimal application of heat via the stove or the oven. Some stove time is fine if I just need to quickly saute something or whatever.

There are a lot of questions about no-cook recipes from a convenience perspective, but I am totally fine with recipes that take work-- I just don't want to stand over the stove right now any more than I have to. Bring on your ceviches, tabboulehs, gazpachos and more. Side dishes are fine, I eat pretty lightly in the summer so I don't necessarily need super hearty ideas.
posted by geegollygosh to Food & Drink (31 answers total) 63 users marked this as a favorite
Tuna Salad on Crackers

1 can of tuna
Shredded parmesan cheese
Sometimes I add a little bit of lemon juice or the clam chowder residue from a bowl
Crackers (I tend to use up about one sleeve of crackers from a box to make double sided cracker sandwiches)
posted by Social Science Nerd at 4:26 PM on May 26, 2018

I asked a similar question a few years ago, here's the thread
posted by fingersandtoes at 4:41 PM on May 26, 2018

Mark Bittman's 101 Simple Summer Salads - Options for meat, seafood, vegetarian, and vegan. The recipes are amazing and easy and the results are delicious. Feeds me all summer long--from about now-ish until late September.
posted by ImproviseOrDie at 4:46 PM on May 26, 2018 [5 favorites]

Go to the Roly Poly Sandwiches website. Find the menu devoted to cold rolled wraps. Duplicate.

Our favorite is the the curry basil chicken. You can buy cooked chicken. In my part of the its Purdue brand.
posted by SemiSalt at 4:47 PM on May 26, 2018 [1 favorite]

A plate of feta cheese, your choice of healthy chips, nuts and fresh or dried fruits can be a surprisingly hearty and satisfying meal.
posted by DoreenMichele at 4:53 PM on May 26, 2018 [1 favorite]

Sometimes I add a little bit of lemon juice or the clam chowder residue from a bowl


Cold sesame noodles are my summer go-to! So flexible and easy. You can use sesame oil, tahini, peanut butter, get super creative!
posted by masquesoporfavor at 4:54 PM on May 26, 2018 [1 favorite]

I would definitely survive off bread, cold cuts, dry sausages, cheese, crudités, fruit, nuts, hummus, crackers, cold tofu, yogurt, etc. You can do lots of main dish salads, but use protein that has been cooked elsewhere, like rotisserie chicken from the supermarket. I wouldn’t even stress too much about salad recipes per se — toss some cut up chicken, grapes, almonds, and goat cheese with some salad greens and a simple vinaigrette, and you’re good. Swap in cut up apples, craisins, other sorts of cheese, canned white beans or garbanzos instead of chicken, etc.

Here’s one cold tofu preparation I adore.

Here is a cannellini bean salad (with cucumbers and red bell peppers) that is really simple and delicious.
posted by snowmentality at 5:20 PM on May 26, 2018

Smoked fish is excellent for this. You can do things like lox and smoked trout or canned smoked oysters or my favorite if you can find it - tinned smoked eel. Great on a bagel of course: mix with a bit of sour cream or plain yogurt or cream cheese, a little fresh herb like parsley or dill, some capers, a squeeze of lemon or a sprinkle of sherry vinegar. But also you can do things like chop it up and incorporate into a cold pasta salad like smoked oysters with rotini, cherry tomatoes, arugula, and vinaigrette; bits of lox tossed with rice noodles and sesame dressing with bell peppers. Or in a big antipasto plate with olives, cheese, pickles, smoked fishes, little stonefruits like cherries or plums, roasted nuts, with great olive oil and maybe an interesting mustard for dipping and spreading.
posted by Mizu at 5:36 PM on May 26, 2018 [4 favorites]

My go to is smoked turkey and spinach salads.
posted by spinifex23 at 5:41 PM on May 26, 2018

Mmm, smoked fish ...

This involves heating up your kitchen, but only once: Cook up a big pot of green beans or zucchini in tomato sauce (a can of diced tomatoes, salt, an onion, some garlic, dill or cayenne pepper if you like). Refrigerate it. Next day, come home from work and fill a bowl with your cold veg stew and drop some yogurt on top. I can eat off of a pot of this stuff for days.

Other no-cook meals I have made: big bowl of yogurt with fresh fruit; big bowl of yogurt with salsa, chips on the side; avocado smushed onto crackers; a mix of cheese, olives, fresh or dried fruit, pate, crackers, etc.
posted by bunderful at 6:03 PM on May 26, 2018

How about fruit soup (my partner grew up with this variety - Moos). It can be made with dried or fresh fruit. It was a mainstay of their Sunday lunches.
posted by Ashwagandha at 6:03 PM on May 26, 2018

My grocery store has packages of pre-made falafel balls. My favourite combo is hummus, arugula, tomato, cucumber, feta cheese, chopped dill pickles, some medium creamy hot sauce and the aforementioned falafel (preheated on the stove) stuffed into a pocket pita. After making this a few times I have a newfound respect for the people at my local pita place - rolling pitas so they don't explode everywhere is a skill.
posted by janepanic at 6:17 PM on May 26, 2018

The momofuku cherry tomato and tofu "caprese" salad is amazing.
posted by kdar at 6:48 PM on May 26, 2018

I often make cacık in the summer as a change from gazpacho.

I'm also fond of making this nam sod recipe and serving it atop this Vietnamese-Style Noodle Salad in place of the chicken. It's sort of a lazy, not-very-authentic riff on summer rolls.
posted by Janta at 7:24 PM on May 26, 2018

Flatten a boneless chicken breast. Sprinkle with lots of 5 spice powder and a little coarse sea salt (both sides)
Heat a pan and a tablespoon of oil. Cook on high 5 minutes each side - less if it's really flat. done in less than 10 minutes. Eat with a salad or whatever - yum.
posted by Enid Lareg at 7:52 PM on May 26, 2018 [1 favorite]

We do lazy bruschetta, which is french bread with olive oil and balsamic vinegar on top, and then a tomato slice, salt and pepper, and then a mozzarella slice and a basil leaf on top. For one person, one tomato and a mozzarella ball should be plenty, probably make two meals.

Also popular with my kids are caprese bites, which are cherry tomatoes, mozz balls, and basil leaves on a toothpick, and I make them with some kind of starch on the side (couscous, french bread, whatever).

"Light supper" is when we eat cold meats, cheese, and crackers/crostini, usually with grapes and crudite, and we pretend it's fancy and not lazy-ass fridge raiding for leftovers. :)
posted by Eyebrows McGee at 8:11 PM on May 26, 2018

A classic: Mark Bittman's Summer Express.
posted by mdonley at 9:43 PM on May 26, 2018

Cook up (I roasted a tray in the oven, but you could poach on stovetop) and shred (I use two forks) several chicken breasts every week or two. If you do a lot, they freeze very well. Use on salads, in tacos, burritos, eggs, chicken salad, soup, Buddha bowls, etc.
posted by AnOrigamiLife at 12:13 AM on May 27, 2018 [1 favorite]

Do you like sushi? If you use surimi, sold in the U.S. as imitation crab, you don't have to deal with raw fish.
posted by XMLicious at 3:09 AM on May 27, 2018

Coincidentally, in Metatalk right now: Hot Weather Recipes.
posted by heatvision at 3:23 AM on May 27, 2018

The slow cooker is your friend in hot weather. We often make pulled pork in it. I swear the recipe we use came from AskMetafilter, but I sure can't find it right now or I'd link to it. Anyhoo, season the pork shoulder roast with salt, pepper, garlic powder, and any other seasonings you like. The aforementioned recipe says he uses lots of paprika and some brown sugar and whatever else strikes his fancy. Wrap it loosely in waxed paper and refrigerate it overnight. In the morning, put about 1/3 cup of liquid (water, juice, beer, or other liquid) in the bottom of the crockpot, add the pork shoulder, and cook it on low for nine to ten hours. Then shred it using two forks. You can eat it as is or add some barbecue sauce. If you use slow cooker liners, there isn't even any clean-up to do.
posted by DrGail at 7:02 AM on May 27, 2018

Cool Kitchen changed my summer cooking routine forever. Contains a wonderful variety of simple recipes that don't require an oven.
posted by merriment at 11:27 AM on May 27, 2018 [2 favorites]

Vitello tonnato If you don't want to cook the meat, you can use cold cuts from the deli. The blog I've linked to has an interesting recipe for tomatoes tonnato, I'd like to try that when the tomatoes here are a bit better.
A Mediterranean meze spread, with flatbread, hummus, taboulleh salad, stuffed wine leaves from a jar, olives from a jar, pickles, some cheese, like labneh or feta, taramasalata. Except for the salad, everything keeps well in the fridge for a few days, so the only thing you have to do is unpack stuff, make a salad, maybe warm pitta bread in your toaster. You can also make a greek salad or a fatoush, or a watermelon salad with feta and mint, instead of the tabouleh, or all of them.
posted by mumimor at 12:54 PM on May 27, 2018

hummus is pretty delicious and flexible.
posted by mmascolino at 1:43 PM on May 27, 2018

In the summer months I use an outdoor grill 90% of the time, but I get tired of grilled potatoes. A solution I've settled for is a cold yam salad.

Peel, rinse, and chop up some yams into 1.5" cubes/ chunks. Put in a microwave safe bowl, add water to cover, salt to taste.

Stick in microwave oven, heat on high, keep an eye on it, stop it as soon as the water starts boiling (if you like softer, wait a little longer).

Stop, take out, dump into colander and run cold tap water until cool.

Combine yam chunks with other ingredients like chopped up carrots, celery, sweet gerkins, purple onion. Add mayonnaise, grainy dijon mustard, salt, pepper, garlic granules, sugar. Mix well, store in fridge. Tastes better the next day. It'll store for 4-5 days and I typically make enough for 6 meals (3 days worth).

People unfairly blame the mayonnaise as "going off" but cold tuber-salad induced food poisoning is typically the potatoes not being washed well enough.
posted by porpoise at 1:46 PM on May 27, 2018

(forgot to add; octa-ed soft boiled eggs (the mostly cooked yolk is great for texture) and a bunch of broken bits of real bacon)
posted by porpoise at 9:32 PM on May 27, 2018

I've been making Banh Mi sandwiches. They're really easy.

- Tinned Chicken or Tuna or sliced Spam
- Matchsticks of Carrot, Cucumber, Radish (or Daikon)
- Vinegar (or Lime), Cilantro, Garlic, Sesame Oil, a little Mayo

Eat it on bread of any kind or straight up as a salad. The taste is surprisingly authentic.


A summer go to is cold spaghetti with chunks of tomato, herb, mozzarella, and olives. Add plenty of black pepper.


A mason jar with feta, olive oil, and herbs is great to have on hand to spread on bread or crackers. Or, this and some sliced tomatoes on toasted bread is a great sandwich.
posted by xammerboy at 11:54 PM on May 27, 2018 [1 favorite]

My no-cook go-to:
Drained can of black beans
Pan of frozen corn heated in a skillet (1/2 package)
2 chopped cucumbers
1 green pepper
1 Red/Orange/yellow pepper
Chopped tomatoes
Shredded chicken (I usually use a rotisserie chicken)
Cheddar (could sub cotija)
Chopped bunch of cilantro
Sometimes I squeeze a lime in there

Throw in bowl and toss. I usually eat this with chipotle ranch dressing and chips.
posted by emkelley at 6:21 AM on May 28, 2018 [3 favorites]

Pan fry some sliced haloumi and toss with canned lentils, olives, finely sliced red onion, halved cherry tomatoes and finely chopped mint and parsley. Finish with cumin seeds and lemon juice.
posted by the duck by the oboe at 8:27 PM on May 28, 2018 [1 favorite]

Nachos: Start with tortilla chips. Heap on refried beans, microwaved sweet corn, peppers or onions, shredded cheese. Microwave for a minute. Add sliced avocado, salsa, sour cream, and chopped lettuce. Works great as a burrito too.

Toasted bread with olive oil and hummus to dip in, sliced raw veggies (peppers, carrots, tomatoes, cucumber), olives, fresh fruit.

If you can tolerate making a grilled cheese in a frying pan, have that with tomato soup, plus a cold drink and fruit. Great combo.

Vietnamese noodle bowls: You may need to cook your rice noodles in boiling water depending on what kind they are, but some you can just soak. Either way they cook fast. You need nuoc cham, which you can buy or make easily at home. Put cold noodles in a bowl, cover with chopped lettuce, chopped mint and chopped basil, add some sliced cold veggies, chopped peanuts, and cover everything with nuoc cham and some hot sauce.
posted by Cygnet at 4:03 PM on May 30, 2018 [1 favorite]

I've been waiting for tomato season to try this, which is done entirely in a rice cooker (IMO does not heat up the kitchen): Whole Tomato in Rice Cooker = Simple Delicious Rice Dish
posted by Lexica at 5:25 PM on May 30, 2018

« Older Buffalo in Summertime - what to do?   |   Finding someone to sit on the kid... Newer »
This thread is closed to new comments.