Who wants to cook in the heat of summer? We compiled three of our favorite no-cook recipe ideas to help you keep cool for dinner tonight:
Take everything you love about summer and arrange it beautifully on a plate. Juicy heirloom tomato wedges and bright chunks of cool watermelon come together perfectly in this salad from the Hungry Cat, punctuated with the light spice of arugula and floral notes of fresh basil and mint. Crumbled feta adds a nice hint of richness, and the tangy watermelon vinaigrette brings it all together.
Mild yet refreshing, this chilled cucumber soup comes together in about 20 minutes, combining cucumbers with tangy yogurt, a little garlic and bright vinegar. Make it first thing in the morning, then chill until ready to serve for dinner. Garnish with slivered radish and julienned basil right before serving.
For a variation on classic gazpacho, try this white gazpacho with grapes. Nicely thickened with soaked bread and ground almonds, the simple soup is further flavored with a few cloves of garlic, extra-virgin olive oil and sherry vinegar. Garnish it with green grapes and dinner is served.
You can find all four recipes below.
And for more ideas, click through our easy dinner recipes gallery and check out our Dinner Tonight page, devoted to recipes that can be made in an hour or less. Looking for a particular type of recipe? Comment below or email me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
HUNGRY CAT'S TOMATO AND WATERMELON SALAD
Total time: 40 minutes
Note: Adapted from the Hungry Cat in Hollywood. To make a watermelon reduction, juice all or part of a watermelon (using a juicer, a blender or food processor and straining), then simmer until the juice is reduced by half.
1/2 shallot, minced
1 clove garlic, minced
1 1/2 teaspoons Dijon mustard
1 tablespoon sherry vinegar
1/4 to 1/3 cup watermelon reduction
3/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons olive oil
Salt and pepper
In a medium bowl, whisk together the shallot, garlic, mustard and vinegar. Slowly whisk in the watermelon reduction, then whisk in the oil until fully incorporated. Season to taste with salt and pepper. This makes about 1 1/3 cups vinaigrette, more than is needed for the remainder of the recipe; the vinaigrette will keep, covered and refrigerated, up to 1 week.
Tomato and watermelon salad
3/4 teaspoon salt, divided, more to taste
3/4 teaspoon pepper, divided, more to taste
4 cups diced seedless watermelon
1/2 red onion, thinly sliced
1 cup crumbled feta cheese, preferably French feta
8 to 10 basil leaves, torn (preferably opal basil)
8 to 10 mint leaves, torn (preferably Persian mint)
4 cups loosely packed arugula
1/3 cup watermelon vinaigrette, or to taste
1. Cut the tomatoes into wedges and spread them out on a sheet pan. Season with one-half teaspoon each salt and pepper and set aside for 15 minutes.
2. In a large bowl, toss together the tomatoes, watermelon, onion, feta, basil, mint and arugula. Gently toss in the vinaigrette. Taste and season with one-fourth teaspoon each salt and pepper, or to taste. Add additional vinaigrette to taste as desired before serving.
Each serving: 300 calories; 9 grams protein; 23 grams carbohydrates; 4 grams fiber; 21 grams fat; 7 grams saturated fat; 33 mg cholesterol; 17 grams sugar; 883 mg sodium.
CHILLED CUCUMBER SOUP
Total time: About 20 minutes, plus chilling time
Servings: 4 to 6
Note: From test kitchen director Donna Deane.
2 European cucumbers (about 1 pound each), cut into 2-inch chunks
2 cups plain yogurt
1 clove garlic, finely minced
1 teaspoon white wine vinegar
3/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon white pepper
2 tablespoons slivered radish (1 to 2 radishes), reserved in ice water
Maldon sea salt
4 small basil leaves, cut into julienne strips
1. In a blender, puree the cucumber and yogurt together in batches until smooth. Pour each batch into a large bowl.
2. Stir in the garlic, vinegar, salt and pepper. This makes about 6 cups soup.
3. Cover and refrigerate several hours or overnight until well chilled.
4. To serve, top each serving with slivered radish, a sprinkle of Maldon salt and a few julienne-cut basil leaves.
Each of 6 servings: 76 calories; 5 grams protein; 12 grams carbohydrates; 1 gram fiber; 1 gram fat; 1 gram saturated fat; 5 mg. cholesterol; 351 mg. sodium.
WHITE GAZPACHO WITH GRAPES (Ajo blanco con uvas)
Total time: 25 minutes, plus optional chilling time
Note: This gazpacho is best made with fresh almonds, shelled, blanched and skinned. To blanch and skin almonds: bring a saucepan of water to a full boil. Add the almonds and blanch them for 60 seconds. Drain. While they are still warm, slip the skins off.
6 slices day-old bread, crusts removed (6 ounces)
1 cup blanched and skinned almonds
3 cloves garlic
1/2 cup extra-virgin olive oil
1/4 cup sherry vinegar
2 teaspoons salt
2 cups water, plus extra for soaking the bread, divided
12 green grapes, seeds removed if there are any
1. Soak the bread in enough water to cover until it is softened. Squeeze out the water and place the bread in a food processor or blender with the almonds and garlic. Pulse until the almonds are finely ground.
2. With the motor running, add the oil in a slow stream, then the vinegar and salt. Blend in some of the 2 cups water, then pour the mixture into a pitcher and add remaining water. This makes about 4 1/2 cups gazpacho.
3. Serve immediately or chill until serving time. Stir before serving. Serve the gazpacho in small bowls with grapes.
Each of 4 servings: 576 calories; 11 grams protein; 32 grams carbohydrates; 5 grams fiber; 47 grams fat; 5 grams saturated fat; 0 cholesterol; 6 grams sugar; 1,464 mg. sodium.