Chill Out with These 13 No-Cook Recipes for Summer 

Kachumber Gazpacho
Photo: Photo by Victor Protasio / Food Styling by Chelsea Zimmer / Prop Styling by Lydia Pursell

When it's hot outside, the last thing you probably feel like doing is turning on your oven and adding even more heat to the equation. Luckily, we have plenty of no-cook recipes — that don't require an oven, stovetop, or even a microwave — to keep your kitchen (and you) a little bit cooler. For something sweet, try this Maria Cookie Icebox Cake, made with Maria cookies and spiced cream, or Sugared Melon With Cardamom and Mint. Looking for a main course? Make this Sugar Snap Pea Salad, which combines shredded rotisserie chicken, crunchy sugar snap peas, and creamy whole-milk ricotta with a quick dressing for a delicious meal. Read on for all of those recipes, and 10 more no-cook recipes to try this season.

01 of 13

Classic Ceviche

Classic ceviche with red snapper, fresh vegetables, and crunchy pepitas
Greg DuPree

Though Peruvians claim ceviche as their national dish, chilled, citrus-dressed seafood is a mainstay in homes and restaurants in Central and South America almost anywhere ocean meets coastline. A knockout ceviche is the result of a delicate balance of heat, salt, acidity, freshness, and crunch. Although it's widely believed that soaking raw fish in an acidic liquid "cooks" the seafood, it actually just denatures the protein. As with any seafood recipe, it's essential to use the freshest, most sustainably sourced fish and shellfish you can get your hands on, both for flavor and for the sake of food safety. After you've nailed the classic ceviche style in this recipe, have fun playing with different add-ins, toppings, and chips for dipping to create your own signature style.

02 of 13

Kachumber Gazpacho

Kachumber Gazpacho
Photo by Victor Protasio / Food Styling by Chelsea Zimmer / Prop Styling by Lydia Pursell

When tomatoes are at their best, take a cue from cookbook author and F&W Cooks contributor Hetal Vasavada and don't cook them at all. "In the summer, Indian families often make kachumber salad. It's basically an Indian pico de gallo situation, minus the cilantro," says Vasavada. "My husband loves gazpacho — he's the kind of person who drinks salsa from the jar — so I thought this would be a nice, cool summer dish." Vasavada channeled her love for kachumber, a fresh, cucumber-based Indian salad, to inspire this exciting riff on the classic chilled summery soup. Warm spices and a hint of chile add flavor and heat without overwhelming the fresh tomatoes; sev, a crispy chickpea noodle snack, adds a pleasant crunch.

03 of 13

No-Cook Summer Tomato Sauce

No-Cook Summer Tomato Sauce
Abby Hocking / Food & Wine

This incredibly simple tomato sauce comes from chef Tony Mantuano. He marinates peak-season tomatoes with olive oil, basil, and shallots before spooning the sauce over grilled fish or piling it on grilled bread. He also loves to toss the sauce with chopped fresh mozzarella, cooked pasta, and olive oil.

04 of 13

Sea Bass Crudo with Mango and Cilantro

Sea Bass Crudo
Anna Stockwell

This platter of seasoned raw fish, from chef Yoshi Okai of Austin's renowned sushi omakase restaurant, Otoko, pairs firm, sushi-grade sea bass with vibrant flavorings. In addition to a tangy soy sauce, Okai adds fresh mango and tomato, along with minced garlic and cilantro. A final finish of olive oil and flaky sea salt bring all the flavors together. If you can't find sushi-grade sea bass, feel free to substitute another variety of white firm-fleshed sushi-grade fish — just ask your fishmonger what would work best.

05 of 13

Baja-Style Caesar Salad

Baja-Style Caesar Salad Recipe
Greg Dupree

Both egg yolks and Dijon mustard help this creamy dressing emulsify easily so it coats each leaf of crunchy romaine. Cotija añejo is an aged cheese that grates into fluffy crumbles.

06 of 13

Dill-Tahini Dip

Dill-Tahini Dip
Photo by Antonis Achilleos / Prop Styling by Christina Daley / Food Styling by Emily Nabors Hall

This quick, simple dip from chef Stephanie Izard is light and perfect for summer entertaining. The tahini, soy sauce, and harissa add complexity, and yogurt makes it nice and creamy. Serve the lightly seasoned dip as a snack with vegetables or with kebabs; as a marinade for grilled meats; or as a spread for wraps and sandwiches.

07 of 13

Sugared Melon with Cardamom and Mint

Don't Forget The Melon
Cedric Angeles

Sugar, cardamom, and fresh mint are all you need to transform ripe melon into a memorable dessert. Muskmelons, such as cantaloupe and honeydew, are sometimes treated like an afterthought — that's why chef Vishwesh Bhatt sometimes calls this recipe Don't Forget the Melon. "If you have the right melon that's nice and ripe, it's just so good," he says. "Summer is just the perfect time for melons. If you think they're boring, then jazz them up with this recipe. Just a tiny bit of sugar, cardamom, and fresh mint transform ripe melon into something so special you'll want to eat it over and over again." Ripe, peak-season cantaloupe, honeydew, or other muskmelon will all work beautifully here. Serve it over ice cream for an extra-special treat.

08 of 13

Carrot Aguachile with Trout Roe

Carrot and Trout Roe Aguachile
Photo by Victor Protasio / Food Styling by Margaret Monroe Dickey / Prop Styling by Claire Spollen

Chef Claudette Zepeda uses fresh carrot juice as the base for this aguachile, which is complemented by fresh ginger, spicy habanero, and scallions to amp up the flavor of the juice. Thin strips of carrot and cucumber are mixed and topped with salty smoked roe, thinly sliced red onion, and roasted cashews for a dish with deep layers of flavor and complex textures. For a vegan alternative, replace the trout roe with one bunch of roasted or grilled carrots.

09 of 13

Green Peppercorn-Marinated Feta

Green Peppercorn Marinated Feta
Photo by Victor Protasio / Food Styling by Rishon Hanners / Prop Styling by Claire Spollen

Marinating cubed feta is a low-effort move with big-flavor results. Pair it with crackers and fruit to anchor your cheese board. Feta's slightly airy texture makes it perfect for soaking up bold flavors, such as these briny, piquant peppercorns. For the best results, look for feta in brine, and drain off the brine before marinating. Save the feta brine to marinate chicken or pork chops.

10 of 13

Maria Cookie Icebox Cake

Maria Cookies Icebox Cake
Photo by Jennifer Causey / Food Styling by Emily Nabors Hall / Prop Styling by Lydia Pursell

Toasty, slightly sweet Maria cookies were an after-school snack staple for pastry chef Paola Velez while growing up in the Bronx — here, she transforms those beloved cookies into an icebox cake, layered with a sweetly spiced cream filling, topped with luscious dulce de leche, and festooned with strawberries and flowers. Can't find Maria cookies? Velez says that any variety of thin, crunchy cookie will be delicious here. Just don't skimp on the time in the fridge; this cake tastes best when it has been refrigerated overnight.

11 of 13

Smoked Salmon Dip

Smoked salmon dip with crostini and white wine
Photo by Jennifer Causey / Food Styling by Margaret Monroe Dickey / Prop Styling by Lydia Pursell

This creamy, smoky dip features flaky smoked salmon two ways: half is finely chopped to add a pleasant texture to the dip alongside briny pops of capers, and the rest is pureed with the mayonnaise, sour cream, and cream cheese, lending its beautiful color and deepening the flavor. Fresh dill and chives keep the dip light while lemon juice adds brightness while also keeping the dip perfectly scoopable — no broken chips here.

12 of 13

The Best Cucumber Sandwich

The Best Cucumber Sandwich
Cedric Angeles

The only reason you think cucumber sandwiches are boring is because you haven't had one that is made right, says chef Vishwesh Bhatt. Benedictine, a creamy spread of cucumber and herbs; along with a spicy and herbaceous peanut pesto with serrano chile, cilantro, and citrus; and chaat masala add verve to these sandwiches. And after layering in the crisp cucumbers, spicy chile slices, and juicy tomatoes, take a bite. "Once you serve this one, it's going to become a fixture at your summer parties," Bhatt says.

13 of 13

Sugar Snap Pea Salad

Sugar Snap Pea Salad Recipe
Photo by Greg DuPree / Prop Styling by Christine Keely / Food Styling by Chelsea Zimmer

Sweet sugar snap peas give this light summer salad from Ivan Conill's Branch Line in Boston a satisfying crunch, while whole-milk ricotta adds heft with its mild, creamy richness. Shredded rotisserie chicken may be omitted for a vegetarian version, or you can substitute with flaked hot smoked salmon.

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