From no-cook to low-cook: A recipe roundup for supper in the summer

How to savour summer without spending it in the kitchen.

How to savour summer without spending it in the kitchen

(Credit: iStock/Getty Images)

This article was originally published August 1, 2018.

It's super hot out there. And although this is the weather we spent the winter daydreaming about, it can be a little overwhelming, especially when deciding what to make for dinner. The seasonal produce abounds and the days still seem long when we leave the office, but that doesn't mean we want to spend hours in the kitchen to enjoy a satisfying summertime meal. Plus, it's just too hot to fuss! So to help you beat the heat and make the most of this delicious season, we've rounded up recipes for low-cook to no-cook dishes. Here's how to plan meals just right for right now, whether for your al fresco feasts or simply to keep cool and relaxed this summer....

Let someone else do the cooking for you!

Those rotisserie chickens at your local grocer make for dinner in a flash, and a lot less heat in the house. Chop up some chicken and add it on salads, rice bowls, and in sandwiches for a speedy supper that's still substantial. We're particularly enamoured with this option:

Italian Cobb Salad

Those summertime sandwiches

Quick and easy, sandwiches are the ultimate summer supper — we're looking at you, lobster rolls! The sandwich is an artful creation — a compilation of our fave ingredients stuffed between some delicious carbs. Plus they're often portable and packable so you can take them to your patio, or to any and all beach and park hangs this season. These are sure to please:

Ultimate Lobster Rolls

Tuna and Fennel Salad Sandwich

Andrea's Brie and Mushroom Grilled Cheese

Take it outside

(Credit: Ksenija Hotic)

And by that we mean cook outdoors. Keep your house from heating up and fire up that grill as much as possible if you've got one. Everyone needs a burger or two this season, BBQ-ing is synonymous with summer, so we've also listed some quintessential eats for this season. And while you're at it, may we suggest taking that seafood boil outside, too?

Greenhouse Juice Co.'s Juice Pulp Burger

Cheddar Bacon Turkey Dogs

The Sailors' N'awlins Crawfish Boil

Eat raw

Yes, we're suggesting shucking a few oysters, but we're also talking about veggies. If you're looking for a little something more than a giant salad, may we suggest a supper of salad rolls, bowls and even a raw pad thai? These dishes are full of flavour and those crunchy, uncooked vegetables feel fresh for when it's absolutely sweltering.

Shrimp Salad Rolls with Citrus Sweet Chili Sauce

Tofu Salad Rolls with Spicy Peanut Sauce

Steven's Couscous, Cauliflower and Cabbage Bowl with Sesame Soy Dressing

Vegetarian Sushi Rice Bowls

Charcuterie for dinner

More than just a tasty trend, the platter approach to dining is easy-peasy and there's no cooking required. It's a wonderful approach to entertaining a crowd and curating a tasty spread is a perfect excuse to stop by your favourite butcher shop or cheesemonger. Don't forget to add a little crudite from the garden or market; the produce is so good right now, you can basically wash, add it to a platter and serve. Here are some pro tips for plating, ingredients for building the best boards and some excellent accompaniments to make:

The Great Canadian Charcuterie Board

Pickled Dilly Carrots and Apricot Butter

Savour all the salads

It's the season of fresh produce and what better way to celebrate than with salads? Local greens just taste better, please grab some from the market if you haven't tried truly fresh lettuce before. We're all for salad as a side, but we adore it as an entrée. The combos are endless; load up a plate of fresh greens, crisp vegetables and whatever you decide to add to the grill and you've got a great meal. So fresh and so satisfying, it may be hard to pick what you're in the mood for, so here are some salads we highly recommend.

Arlene Dickinson's Perfect Salad

A Really Good Kale Salad

Chiffonade Salad

Shahir's Perfect Salad

Keep it quick

If you're in the mood for cooking, amidst this heat strategy is key. Keep it quick and opt for something that is done in no time and/or requires low prep. We're strong supporters of cooking once and eating twice, so make a double batch to ensure you'll have leftovers. Put the rice cooker to good use, the slow cooker, or whatever you have at your disposal to get you out of that kitchen and onto the patio — or in your air conditioned-living room. Here are some recipes to help make that happen:

Shahir's Perfect Omelette

Low-Prep, High-flavour Porcini Risotto

Curry in a Hurry

Paella del Carmen

Choose noodles!

Picnic-perfect pastas are where our heads are at these days. These super simple pastas are ready in no time and use up some of those summer herbs. And did we mention they make for lovely leftovers? Carb up, friends!

Buckwheat Noodles and Assorted Vegetables with Gochujang Vinaigrette

Massimo Bottura's Mint and Breadcrumb Pesto

Make tonight taco night

(Photograph copyright © 2017 by Dylan James Ho and Jeni Afuso)

Whether it calls for a quick saute in the skillet or grilling on the BBQ, taco night is summer done right. Plus, this meal is an excellent opportunity to load up some tortillas with that farmers' market produce you picked up this weekend. Add in a selection of salsas and a great guac, and taco night will be on heavy rotation this season. Here are some of our fave selects:

Tuna Poke and Sea Urchin Tostadas

Sheet Pan Shrimp and Pineapple Tacos

Spicy Fish Tacos with Veggie Slaw

Kid-Approved Taco Cups

Alexis Hillyard's Guacamole

And don't forget dessert

We're here to tell you that you can still have all the cheesecakes, tarts and trifles without turning on the oven this summer. No-bake treats are perfect to prep in advance and they're simple as can be. We're also in peak peach, cherry and berry season, so sweets are almost required eating in these fruit-filled months.

No-Bake Matcha Honey Cheesecake

Joy McCarthy's Triple Berry No-Bake Tart

No-Bake Orange, Honey & Pistachio Trifle

Lidia Bastianich's Berry Tiramisu

Frozen Cheesecake Bites

Easy No-Bake Mini Doughnut Cake

Pink Margarita Popsicles

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