Welcome to The Cool Down, Hunker's definitive guide for staying cool, calm, and collected all summer long.
It's probably safe to say that most of us tend to look forward to the summer when the days are longer, skies are sunnier, and temps are warmer. Unfortunately, nothing in life is perfect, least of all the weather. And while we wish that every day could be a balmy 75 degrees, more often than not we are left to suffer through heat waves bringing record highs.
As a result, every meal comes down to two choices: Do we dare turn on the stove and risk getting any hotter and sweatier than we already are? Or, do we settle for eating cold cereal while sitting in front of the fan again? Before you run off to grab a bowl and some milk, allow us to suggest a third option: no-cook recipes. There are so many colorful and flavorful meal options to choose from that don't require the use of a hot appliance — so you can go ahead and retire your stove for the time being.
Scroll on for 11 mouthwatering no-cook summer recipes that will keep you cool and awaken your taste buds.
We love this seasonal twist on a classic caprese salad. Instead of tomatoes, Amanda from Heartbeet Kitchen opted for ripe strawberries, resulting in an explosion of sweet and savory flavors with each and every bite.
Nom nom nom. Not sure about you, but just looking at this masterpiece crafted by Tieghan from Half Baked Harvest is making us salivate. It has everything you could possibly want in a pressed Italian sandwich, from salami and prosciutto to mozzarella and provolone to sun-dried tomatoes and artichokes. And let's not forget the best part: the ciabatta bread. Bellisimo!
Who wants piping hot bowl of steel-cut oats for breakfast when you can chow down on this almost-too-pretty-to-eat smoothie bowl by Renee from Will Frolic for Food?
If you're a fan of tuna sandwiches (and who isn't?), you're going to love, love, love the way Bon Appétit has reinvented the lunchtime favorite. Fair warning though, with a lightly toasted English muffin and a zesty lemon, basil, parsley, and tarragon dressing, you may never want to go back to the traditional version again.
The summer is peak season for ripe tomatoes, so there is no better time to take full advantage of all the different varieties that nature has to offer. Clearly Maria and Josh of Two Peas & Their Pod got the memo, as witnessed by this refreshing and vibrant salad.
Ice cream and summer pretty much go hand in hand. And besides, your sweet tooth shouldn't have to suffer just because it's too hot to turn on the stove. Enter this indulgent no-churn recipe by The Broken Bread. Is there any better way to cool down?
We wouldn't dare put together a list of no-cook recipes and not include avocado toast, but the same old, same old just won't do. However, this bagel-inspired rendition by Brittany from Toasted Table has a little extra flair. Topped with smoked salmon, labneh, and Trader Joe's Everything but the Bagel Sesame Seasoning (here's how to make your own), this recipe offers a fresh take on the cult fave.
Arugula, blackberries, and goat cheese ... what else do you need in life? This summer salad is the perfect combination of tantalizing flavors thanks to sweet vine-ripe fruit and peppery greens. The pistachios provide just the right amount of crunch to complete the seasonal dish.
If ice cream really isn't your cup of tea, may we introduce you to this tasty snack instead? Follow the lead of Lisa from Downshiftology and cover your bananas in a variety of toppings, from sprinkles to nuts to dried fruit, to keep things interesting. And bonus, this recipe is easy enough that the kiddos can get in on the fun, too.
Ummm ... yes, to everything that is happening on this plate. If you're feeling kind of fancy, try this stone fruit and cucumber salad whipped up by Anna over at The Féministe. The combination of textures — from creamy to crunchy — and flavors — from sweet to tangy — are a delectable treat that you won't soon forget.
Summer salads are great and all, but sometimes you just want something a little different. If that's the case, give this gazpacho recipe by Lindsay from Tipps in the Kitch a try. It's a cold soup loaded with yummy, fresh ingredients like tomatoes, cucumber, bell pepper, and garlic. Serve with a slice of toasted sourdough bread and enjoy.
Ariane Moore is an Editor at Hunker. After earning her B.S. in Interior Architecture and Design, she enjoyed working on a variety of projects ranging from residential to hospitality at award winning design firms in both Las Vegas and Los Angeles. She also served as Design Editor at Natural Child World magazine.