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Are you getting to the point where turning on the stove or the oven feels…not all that desirable? Me, too! There are many hot summer days and evenings where cooking just feels downright unreasonable. All we want is fast and easy meals, foods that can be enjoyed chilled or at room temperature, no heating required. And we’ve got lots to choose from!

Chicken and avocado salad in white serving bowl.

Before we dig into our ever-growing list, a few rules of the road. I am assuming for some of these recipes that you can buy a couple of pre-cooked items, mostly rotisserie chicken and cooked shrimp. Or that you have those leftovers around. 

One thing I cannot say enough during the warmer months — MAKE MORE THAN YOU NEED FOR A MEAL. Especially simple proteins like pasta and grains! You will be able to repurpose them all week long, and not only save yourself time but avoid turning on the oven or the stove. And that, my friends, is the biggest gift you can give to yourself on a sultry summer evening.

Other items to stock up on: canned beans, lentils, and other legumes, hearts of palm, canned or frozen peas, and corn. Frozen shrimp are a staple in my house. And, of course, loads and loads of fresh produce. Which is extra appealing and easy to do from late spring to late fall. And keeping extra hard-cooked eggs around means you can add them to salads, or make a terrific egg salad in about 10 minutes.

And a plug for fresh herbs. Once you start using fresh herbs regularly, you will see how easy it is to add vibrant flavor to the simplest of dishes and kick up your summer cooking (or not-cooking) a whole lot of notches. And know that there are oodles and oodles more salad recipes on the site. This is the tip of the iceberg (lettuce).

30 no-cook recipes for hot summer days and nights – main dish salads, bean dishes, vegetarian offerings, sandwiches, ceviches, and more!

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Summer Shrimp and Avocado Salad

Summer Shrimp and Avocado Salad

If you start with pre-cooked shrimp, this beautiful and satisfying salad can be on the table in 15 minutes. You can buy already-cooked shrimp at a fish store, in the seafood section of a supermarket, or in the frozen food aisle.

Tomato and Mozzarella Caprese Salad 101 / Mia / Katie Workman /

Tomato and Mozzarella Caprese Salad

One of the defining no-cook dishes of summer. Have fun trying out different tomatoes in this gorgeous meal: yellow, orange, striped, smooth, lumpy, heirloomheirloom…all are fair game. If you live near a farmers market, there is that moment when the tables are piled high with all kinds of crazy looking tomatoes with funny names; Green Zebra, Brandywine, Lillian’s Yellow Heirloom, Mortgage Lifter, Black Crim, Purple Calabash, just to name a few. Grab them all.

White bowl of chickpea salad.

Chickpea Salad

This colorful, healthy vegetarian salad can be served as an entrée or a side dish. Leave out the feta and replace the honey with agave for a vegan version. You can also add this to a wrap.

Woman holding a tortilla chip loaded with Shrimp Ceviche.

Shrimp Ceviche

Fresh shrimp is marinated with lime juice, avocado, bell pepper, onion, and herbs for an easy, light and bright ceviche. The shrimp actually "cook" in the lime juice, so no heat required!

Shrimp and Corn Salad with Basil Dressing / Mia / Katie Workman /

Shrimp and Corn Salad with Basil Dressing

A must-make when corn is in season, and pre-cooked shrimp makes it a snap. Make extra corn for this very purpose.

Modern Three Bean Salad

Modern Three Bean Salad with Hearts of Palm

A contemporary version of a classic side dish, with the addition of whole grains, hearts of palm, and fresh herbs to brighten it up.

Greek Tomato and Cucumber Salad / Sarah Crowder / Katie Workman /

Greek Tomato and Cucumber Salad

Classic Greek salad has no lettuce, just satisfying chunks of cucumbers, tomatoes, onions, and feta. Oh, and olives, of course. You eat this on its own or pile it onto some sliced chilled chicken or a piece of poached salmon.

Southwest Black Bean and Corn Salad

Cowboy Caviar

This Southwest Black Bean and Corn Salad (aka Cowboy Caviar) is beautiful, easy, inexpensive, vegetarian, and satisfying. We love this served ith tortilla chips for scooping up big bites.

Chinese Chicken Salad

Chinese Chicken Salad

The colorful, classic restaurant salad is yours to make at home. I included honey in the dressing for some sweetness. There are noodles and peanuts for crunch (I have tree nut allergies), not to mention cabbage, carrots, jicama or kohlrabi (optional), cucumber, and onion. The dressing is savory with soy and sesame, and a little spicy from garlic, ginger, and hot sauce. Start with a rotisserie chicken, and you'll have this main dish salad ready to roll without ever turning on the oven.

White Bean and Hearts of Palm Salad

White Bean and Hearts of Palm Salad

This is a total 15-mInute pantry salad, with the addition of some cucumber, celery, and onion.

Summer Whole Grain and Vegetable Salad

Summer Whole Grain and Vegetable Salad

Farro, or whatever grain you choose, is mixed with a whole bunch of vegetables — plenty of texture and chew, super satisfying, and gorgeous to boot.

Chickpea and Fava Bean Salad

Chickpea and Fava Bean Salad

This colorful, high-protein salad will make any table look cheerier, and it's extremely flexible, so don't be afraid to swap around ingredients!

Scooping Chicken Salad out of bowl with fork.

Best Chicken Salad

A few flavorful and crunchy add-ins turn an everyday chicken salad into something you would pay hard-earned cash for at a really nice deli or specialty food counter. You can start with a purchased rotisserie chicken, or simply cooked leftover chicken, whether poached, steamed, or baked.

Green Salad with Chickpeas and Spicy Honey Tahini Dressing

Green Salad with Chickpeas and Spicy Honey Tahini Dressing

A crunchy salad studded with chickpeas is tossed with a creamy, lemony savory dressing with a tiny kick of heat. Try this dressing on everything from bean salads to green salads, or simply drizzle it over grilled vegetables.

Chicken, Bacon, and Avocado Spread Sandwich

Chicken, Bacon, and Avocado Spread Sandwich

A creamy avocado spread turns a chicken sandwich into a lunch to remember (the bacon is optional!). Sliced leftover chicken breast is perfect for this.

Chicken and Avocado Salad

Chicken and Avocado Salad

Another reason to make sure to have a rotisserie chicken in the fridge, or make intentional extra chicken earlier in the week. This, like pretty much all salads, is a super flexible recipe, but you can see as written it's popping with color and texture.

Creamy Cucumber Salad

Creamy Cucumber Salad

This cucumber salad presents such a nice contrast between the crunch of the cucumbers and the onions and the creaminess of the dressing.

Herbed Chicken Salad in yellow bowl and on toasted bread.

Herbed Chicken Salad

Herbed mayo turns some simply shredded chicken breasts into an amazing chicken salad.


Perfect Summer Gazpacho

How to make the best, most refreshing and absolutely beautiful soup of summer. With step-by-step instructions and photos.

Italian Tuna Salad / Katie Workman / / Photo by Cheyenne Cohen

Italian Tuna Salad

A mayo-free version of one of our favorite foods. Use oil-packed tuna if you can, and look for tunas from Italy and Spain. The fish is very tender and rich, and will result in a very sophisticated salad.

Kale, Cabbage and Mint Salad with Peanut Dressing

Kale, Cabbage, and Mint Salad with Peanut Dressing

For those of you who don't think a green salad can be satisfying and satiating, this is a must-try.

Vegetable and Brown Rice Salad with Honey Lemon Dressing / Mia / Katie Workman /

Brown Rice Salad

This pretty, vegetable-filled brown rice salad is the perfect side for cookouts and a welcome offering to bring to a potluck.

Carrot, Cabbage and Kohlrabi Slaw on plate with other dishes.

Carrot, Cabbage, and Kohlrabi Slaw with Miso Dressing

A slaw with a dressing that will remind you of those great Japanese restaurant dressings.

Indonesian Chicken Salad

Indonesian Chicken Salad

This is the salad for people who might not think a main-course salad is really a thing. The dressing packs so much flavor, a combo of peanut butter, soy sauce, vinegar or citrus juice, ginger, and Sriracha sauce.

Best Egg Salad

Best Egg Salad

Simple and perfect, with a bit of dill, lemon and shallot; the egg salad recipe you've been searching for.

Scallop Ceviche / Katie Workman / / Photo by Cheyenne Cohen

Scallop Ceviche

The beautiful clean flavor of scallop ceviche is impossible to beat. Scallops are safe to eat raw, as long as you make sure they are very fresh. The lime (or other citrus) juice cooks the scallops making any present bacteria safe to eat. The bright freshness of this dish is so appealing.

Colorful Nicoise Salad featuring asparagus, eggs, and red onions on a large, white plate.

Salade Nicoise

This Mediterranean inspired salad is beautiful to look at and eating it will seriously make you want to do a happy dance.

Chicken Sate Salad / Laura Agra / Katie Workman /

Chicken Satay Salad

This is the salad for anyone who can't get enough of that great peanutty chicken satay dressing. This is as substantial as a salad can get! And make extra of the dressing to toss with noodles later in the week, or use as a dunk for simply grilled kebabs or cooked shrimp.

Plated avocado salad with miso dressing on wood table.

Avocado Salad with Creamy Miso Dressing

A recreation of one of the best Japanese avocado salads ever. A creamy dressing on top of equally creamy avocado on a bed of cool, crunchy lettuce. Pure, simple heaven.

Grinder Sandwich on a gold-colored plate.

Grinder Sandwich

Piled high with meat, cheese, veggies and condiments, this classic sub recipe will satisfy that deli sandwich craving at home!

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