Tell me your favorite cold dinner recipes that aren't salad or gazpacho!
August 23, 2019 9:22 AM   Subscribe

It is officially the hottest day of the year in my neck of the woods, and I'm serving dinner for six. We want a cold meal, and it needs to be vegetarian (not necessarily vegan) friendly! We're a little burnt out on gazpacho and greens salads, so what else can we prepare?
posted by FakeFreyja to Food & Drink (34 answers total) 28 users marked this as a favorite
Smitten Kitchen’s cold sesame noodles are so good!
posted by corey flood at 9:27 AM on August 23, 2019 [7 favorites]

Charlie Bird's farro salad.
posted by praemunire at 9:28 AM on August 23, 2019 [2 favorites]

Pasta salad.
Caprese sandwiches.
Homos and baba ganoush.
Sushi (eg avocado roll).
posted by solotoro at 9:29 AM on August 23, 2019 [1 favorite]

Unless dinner needs to be a formal, sit-down sort of thing, then this is the kind of situation where I like to go with a lot of finger food rather than any major dishes. Hummus, dip, charcuterie and cheese plates, crudite, easy-to-eat pasta salads, etc. The sort of things you might think of as appetizers, but in quantities enough to feed the group.

I'm not sure if you want food that will be cold when you serve it or food that doesn't require you to slave over a hot stove, but quiche and baked ham are both excellent cold. They do require significant heated cooking.

Asian noodle dishes like jap chae and sesame noodles are often served cold. They require less hot stove cooking, but still some to cook the noodles.

Power bowl style meals where you just cook the rice (can be served luke warmish rather than hot) and then top with cut up fresh vegetables and sauces.
posted by jacquilynne at 9:30 AM on August 23, 2019 [7 favorites]

Coucous with whatever veg you want to throw in (or tofu or chickpeas) or Bulgar with tomatoes, cucumber, a bit of mint, parsley, a bit of honey and whatever protein you feel like adding.
posted by raccoon409 at 9:38 AM on August 23, 2019 [1 favorite]

If salads other than greens-based ones are acceptable, Sichuan cucumber salad (sometimes called "smashed cucumbers") is delicious.
posted by nebulawindphone at 9:40 AM on August 23, 2019 [1 favorite]

Tzatziki, pita. Fruits. Nuts.
posted by signal at 9:40 AM on August 23, 2019

Cold quiche!
posted by asavage at 9:42 AM on August 23, 2019

Red lentil kofte, which are much more delicious than they look.
posted by neroli at 9:47 AM on August 23, 2019

Chips and Dip - but with very loose definitions of both. Pita, pita chips, bagel chips but also raw veggies. If some eat meat, sliced salami or pepperoni can be dipped, too. Now for the dips: your typical sour cream based ones are fine, but I would add at least one other like hummus, guacamole, tapenade.

Serve with nuts and cheese and maybe even bread with olive oil for more dipping.
posted by soelo at 9:47 AM on August 23, 2019 [3 favorites]

Bean salad: 4 cans of different kinds of beans, well rinsed, sliced carrot and a small amount of green onion and chopped parsley, and a lot of mustardy vinaigrette.

Buckwheat soba, prepared per the package directions, with a sauce made of white miso (dissolve in warm water,) peanut butter, tamari, and lemon juice.

Bun: rice noodles, chopped lettuce, julienned carrots, maybe some tofu, bean sprouts, basil and lime, and a fish sauce/ngoc mam.
posted by Lawn Beaver at 9:52 AM on August 23, 2019 [2 favorites]

posted by kevinbelt at 9:54 AM on August 23, 2019 [1 favorite]

Panzanella is a nice choice that is a bit heartier than green salad. That recipe is for a classic bread and tomatoes version, but in my house we've been riffing on it all summer. All you need is a mess of good bread, some veggies, a protein if you want it to be hearty, and an opinionated dressing.

Seconding all the cold noodle recipes, also!
posted by lhputtgrass at 9:54 AM on August 23, 2019 [2 favorites]

Sliced leftover meat (steak, chicken) with salad.
Greek salad, composed, not tossed. Bread, feta cheese, olives, tomatoes, cucumber, onion, with olive oil and possibly a small splash of vinegar, maybe some herbs.
Antipasto plate - Bread or crackers, salami, cheeses, olives, pickes, mustard.
Corn on the cob needs to be cooked, but is good at any temp. I have been adding stuff to the butter - barbecue/ steak/ hot sauce, and it's so good.
Layered dip - refried beans, guac, sour cream, salsa, cheese, corn chips. I consider corn chips and salsa a fine meal, with bean dip and guacamole excellent additions.
Wraps- egg salad, chicken salad, veg., cheese, beans, salsa, endless options.
Spring rolls- mine are still pretty wobbly, but I love them. rice noodles, shrimp and/or tofu, lettuce, basil leaves, chopped peanuts, wrapped in a rice wrapper, dipped in sweet-hot chili sauce.

Now is the time for letting the grocery or deli make the potato salad, coleslaw, rotisserie chicken, etc., for you.
posted by theora55 at 9:58 AM on August 23, 2019

First thing that came to mind is to serve up a Tex-mex "Dip-o-rama" -- freshly made guac, black bean dip, queso, fresh salsa, and a huge bowl of corn chips

These spicy crackers are a staple in the south. You can serve with Texas Caviar, pimento cheese, or just.. cheese.

Ambrosia salad, watergate salad and the like with marshmallows, fruit, and pudding can double as dessert while providing the fig leaf of a "salad"

Apparently I have my foodie dial set to "Houston White Trash" this Friday. :)
posted by cross_impact at 10:17 AM on August 23, 2019 [2 favorites]

Futomaki or gimbap, both of which are easy to make vegetarian. You barely need to prepare anything ahead of time except the rice. We're not vegetarian so we usually put some shrimp or bulgogi in ours, but you can certainly make due with just egg, carrot, cucumber, and rice wrapped in a seaweed sheet.
posted by Joey Buttafoucault at 10:17 AM on August 23, 2019

Here are some cold noodle dishes I like:
zaru soba (cold soba noodles you dip in sauce). If you don't like soba you can use somen instead.
naengmyeon (cold Korean sweet potato noodles in a cool broth) or for a spicy version bibim naeng myeon (less broth and with spicy sauce on top)
I remember this place in Kyoto that had tsukemen (cold ramen noodles) with a cool, spicy dipping sauce, that I really loved.

Also you can roast/grill vegetables and then eat them at room temperature.
posted by any portmanteau in a storm at 10:27 AM on August 23, 2019 [1 favorite]

Chickpea salad! Drain a can of chickpeas, add good olive oil, salt, pepper, and fresh grated parmesan. Add some fresh garlic if you feel like it. Super yummy and tastes great the next day too!
posted by ananci at 10:38 AM on August 23, 2019 [2 favorites]

"hummus" that's made with red lentils instead of chickpeas. Very tasty.

Texas Caviar is great!
posted by Neekee at 11:02 AM on August 23, 2019

We make this ceviche on hot days. If you've got a good source for fish, it's a real winner.
posted by minervous at 11:12 AM on August 23, 2019

I highly recommend zucchini butter as one of your dishes. It’s so easy to make and it’s delicious.
posted by hurdy gurdy girl at 11:32 AM on August 23, 2019 [1 favorite]

You could probably do something like this pretty easily: DIY Vegan Charcuterie Board.

I'd add some more savories like baba ganoush (because I love it so) and some chilled, roasted vegetables. Maybe a couple of different flavors of hummus. To add some sweet, there's some divine dark chocolates out there that are vegan.

(The recipe links in the original link are broken, so here's some new links to the recipes mentioned: Vegan Lemon Cranberry & Pistachio Cashew Cheese Ball, and Vegan Mushroom Pate. )
posted by spinifex23 at 11:46 AM on August 23, 2019

vichyssoise -

black bean salad - beans, vinegar, corn red onion, whatever w (i like) white vinegar (we're lazy and use canned beans and corn so it's super easy)

bread and salsa
posted by mrzz at 12:45 PM on August 23, 2019

Sandwiches. Good ones.

You can get Tofurkey or other faux cold cut slices for the inside. Also fresh mozzarella is good. Cucumber. Sprouts. Be picky about tomatoes. Fancy mustard. Enjoy.
posted by amtho at 1:05 PM on August 23, 2019

I love a Middle Eastern spread for this kind of dinner: hummus (fancied up with really lovely olive oil and some whole chickpeas and a sprinkle of paprika), baba ganoush, flatbreads, dolmas, cold grilled veggies dressed with tahini, rustic salad of tomato/kalamata olives/cucumber/feta, tabouli, tzadziki or lebne sprinkled with za'atar, and some halved boiled eggs.
posted by quince at 2:10 PM on August 23, 2019 [2 favorites]

Yotam Ottolenghi has a huge variety of mostly vegetable recipes that can be eaten cold. I like this sautéed chickpea and kale with Greek yogurt, and you can omit or substitute vegan yogurt if needed. This roasted cauliflower, hazelnut, and pomegranate seed salad is also a winner.

(Edited because I formatted links for Reddit, not AskMeFi!)
posted by brianogilvie at 3:36 PM on August 23, 2019 [1 favorite]

I've eaten cold corn chowder this week.
posted by mmascolino at 5:53 PM on August 23, 2019

Cold ramen! My local place serves it with a few ice cubes in it. I would use normal ramen noodles and not somen as in that recipe though.
posted by potrzebie at 11:49 PM on August 23, 2019

My mom is a fan of liang pi (literally, 'cold skin'). But really, I think anything could be a conduit for sesame / peanut butter + copious acid -- microwave-steamed kale...

Also have you ever just cut up a block of tofu and added any subset of salt / pepper / vinegar / soy sauce / scallions / pesto?

+1 to the smashed cucumbers -- they go great with any aforementioned sesame + copious acid application mentioned above.
posted by batter_my_heart at 12:03 AM on August 24, 2019

hiyashi chuka
posted by dancing leaves at 1:26 AM on August 24, 2019

Spanakopita is delicious cold. I think I'd make a Greek salad side, though.
Also an other vote for the mezze (link to Ottolenghi selection).
It's possible to make a vegetarian smørrebrød selection, too, but maybe a bit of a project. Here's a vegan kartoffelmad. And here's a sommer salat. You'll have to smoke the cheese. In the Danish countryside and for Christmas it's normal to have smørrebrød in the evening, with beer and schnaps. The vegetarian version goes fine with wine as well.
posted by mumimor at 1:44 AM on August 24, 2019

I've made this chilled corn and avocado soup 5 times so far this summer. It's a little involved, but not quite as complex at it might seem at first glance, and it's SO GOOD.

I usually have it with a panzanella.
posted by rhiannonstone at 10:19 PM on August 24, 2019

It sure how sourceable this would be for you, but we just had a pleasant dinner of hiya-mugi, a wheat version of cold sobs noodles. There’s a standard sauce for it called tsuyuu, which is often made from fish stock, but we’ve found a soy/gochujang/garlic sauce that could be pretty easily replicated. As a topping, we use taberu rayu, which is a Japanese version of Chinese hot chili sauce that’s toned down, mixed with fried chips of garlic, and used as a topping on rice or noodles.

The only cooking part is boiling the noodles for four minutes, then running them under cold water. They’ll keep, covered, in the fridge, if you make one big batch.
posted by Ghidorah at 4:57 AM on August 25, 2019

This walnut, olive and pomegranate salad is outstanding.
posted by the duck by the oboe at 12:30 AM on August 26, 2019

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