Summer Non-Cooking: What to Make When It’s Too Hot to Cook

Summer Non-Cooking: What to Make When It’s Too Hot to Cook

Even for those who love cooking, there are certain hot days where just the thought of turning on an oven or stove is enough to bring on another bead of sweat. It’s enough to make you want to order takeout and call it a night, but that can get expensive, repetitive and unhealthy very quickly. Instead, take the opportunity to expand your culinary horizons and get creative in the kitchen with some no-cook meals. Defy the phrase “If you can’t stand the heat, get out of the kitchen” by making one of these dishes that don’t require any heat in the first place.

1. Sonoma Chicken Salad

This crowd-pleasing chicken salad is the perfect balance of sweet and savory.


  • 1 cup mayonnaise
  • 4 teaspoons apple cider vinegar
  • 5 teaspoons honey
  • 2 teaspoons poppy seeds
  • 1 rotisserie chicken, meat separated from bone and cubed
  • ¾ cup chopped pecans
  • 2 cups seedless grapes, halved
  • 3 stalks celery, thinly sliced
  • Salt and pepper to taste

In a large bowl, stir together the mayonnaise, vinegar, honey, poppy seeds, salt and pepper. Add the chicken, pecans, grapes and celery and stir until evenly coated with the dressing. Cover and chill in the refrigerator if you prefer your chicken salad cold. Serve alone or on sliced bread, crackers or lettuce cups.

Adapted from Whole Foods Market

2. Naan Flatbread with Smoked Salmon

Inspired by a New York bagel with the works.


  • ½ cup plain cream cheese
  • 1 lemon, zested
  • ¼ cup fresh dill, chopped, divided
  • Salt and pepper
  • 2 naan flatbreads
  • 4 ounces smoked salmon
  • 10 cherry tomatoes, halved
  • ½ small red onion, thinly sliced
  • 2 tablespoons capers, rinsed
  • 1 green onion, thinly sliced
  • Everything bagel seasoning (optional)

In a small bowl, combine the cream cheese, lemon zest and half of the fresh dill. Stir, seasoning with salt and pepper to taste. Spread the cream cheese mixture over each flatbread. Top with the smoked salmon, cherry tomatoes, red onion and capers. Sprinkle the rest of the dill over the flatbread, then the salt, pepper and everything bagel seasoning (if using). Cut each flatbread into triangles.

Adapted from The Cutting Veg

3. Caprese Stuffed Avocados

Try this summery spin on the classic caprese salad.


  • 2 avocados, halved and pitted
  • ½ cup cherry tomatoes, halved
  • ½ cup fresh mozzarella, cubed
  • 1 teaspoon Italian seasoning
  • 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar
  • ¼ cup basil, thinly sliced into ribbons
  • Salt and pepper

Scoop some flesh out from the center of each avocado half, leaving a small border and creating a cup. Dice the scooped avocado and set aside. In a large bowl, toss the diced avocado with the tomatoes, mozzarella, basil, Italian seasoning, olive oil and vinegar. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Spoon the salad mixture into the avocado halves.

Adapted from Delish

4. Summer Rolls with Peanut Dipping Sauce

These summer rolls are light, colorful and packed with flavor.


For the dipping sauce:

  • ¼ cup creamy peanut butter
  • 1 tablespoon hoisin sauce
  • 2 teaspoons soy sauce
  • 1 teaspoon minced garlic
  • 1 teaspoon Sriracha (optional)
  • 1-2 tablespoons warm water, or more as needed
  • Optional garnishes: chopped peanuts, crushed red pepper

For the summer rolls:

  • 10 spring roll rice paper wrappers
  • 1 large carrot, peeled and julienned
  • 1 large cucumber, julienned
  • ½ large red bell pepper, julienned
  • ⅓ cup chopped purple cabbage
  • 1 avocado, sliced
  • Handful fresh cilantro, mint or Thai basil
  • 5 large butter lettuce leaves, torn in half
  • 20 medium cooked shrimp, peeled and halved length-wise
  • Sesame seeds for garnish (optional)

Prepare the dipping sauce by whisking all the ingredients except the water and garnishes together in a medium bowl. Add 1-2 tablespoons of warm water until the sauce reaches your desired consistency. Pour into a serving bowl and top with the garnish. Set aside.

Prepare the rice paper wrappers by pouring warm water into a large bowl or 9-inch baking pan. One at a time, dip the rice paper wrapper into the warm water for 15-20 seconds. It should be soft, yet still slightly firm and pliable. Remove from the water and lay flat onto a work surface such as a large cutting board. Pat the wrapper slightly dry.

To make the rolls, start by placing a few sticks of carrot, cucumber and red pepper and a sprinkle of cabbage on top of the bottom third of the rice paper. Add a slice or two of avocado and a bit of cilantro. Lay one of the lettuce leaf halves and 4 slices of shrimp on top. Roll everything up tightly by gently pulling up the bottom of the roll and rolling it over the filling. Keep rolling and use your hands to tuck the filling in as you go. Fold in the sides of the rice paper roll if you wish.

Place the rolls on a serving plate, cut in half, sprinkle with sesame seeds (if using) and serve with the peanut dipping sauce.

Adapted from Sally’s Baking Addiction

5. Moroccan Watermelon Salad with Pistachio

An exotic and refreshing salad.


  • 4-5 Cups watermelon, cut into 1-inch cubes
  • 4 Turkish cucumbers or one English cucumber, cut into ¾-inch cubes
  • ¼ cup thinly sliced red onion
  • ½ cup chopped mint
  • ½ cup chopped Italian parsley
  • ½ cup crumbled feta cheese
  • ¼ cup pistachios
  • ¼ cup olive oil
  • ⅛ cup red wine or white balsamic vinegar
  • Salt and pepper
  • 1 pinch ground clove

Place the watermelon, cucumber and onion in a large bowl. Add the herbs, feta and pistachios and gently mix everything together. Add the olive oil, vinegar, salt and pepper (to taste) and stir to incorporate.

Adapted from Feasting at Home

Whether you’re using the oven and stove or not, the inclusion of a full-sized, fully equipped kitchen in each room at Q&A Hotel allows you to prepare your own food and avoid dining out for every meal. Book now, or check the Q&A Hotel blog for more recipes, local events, travel tips and more.