Recipes That Don’t Require Heat

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The last thing most of us feel like doing on a sweltering summer day is turning on a hot stove or oven to make dinner. These refreshing no-heat recipes will help you stay cool in the kitchen.

Chilled Soups

Take soup beyond the role of just a steamy hot bowl to warm a frosty night. These smooth, cold soups will help take the burn out of the hottest summer days:

Cold Cucumber Soup

Yield: 4 servings

Calories per serving: 126

  • 3 medium cucumbers, peeled and chopped
  • 3/4 cup of chopped scallions
  • 1½ tablespoons of lemon juice
  • 1 teaspoon of lemon zest
  • 1¼ teaspoons of sea salt
  • ½ teaspoon of fresh ground pepper
  • 1 teaspoon of fresh dill
  • 1½ cups of low-sodium vegetable broth
  • ½ cup of sour cream
  1. Puree first eight ingredients in blender or food processor.
  2. Pour into large serving bowl and stir in sour cream.
  3. Chill at least one hour in the refrigerator, until very cold.
  4. Top with additional dill for garnish.

Tomato and Avocado Soup

Yield: 6 servings

Calories per serving: 216

  • 1 tomato, chopped
  • 2 avocados, peeled, pitted, and sliced
  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 1 green bell pepper, chopped
  • 1/8 cup of lemon juice
  • 1/8 cup of lime juice
  • 1 quart of tomato-vegetable juice
  • 1 cup of plain nonfat yogurt
  • Salt, fresh ground pepper and cayenne pepper, to taste
  • 1/3 cup of chopped fresh chives
  1. Process the first 6 ingredients in a food processor until smooth.
  2. Add 1 cup of tomato-vegetable juice, and process to blend.
  3. Pour soup into a large serving bowl and mix in seasonings, yogurt and remaining juice.
  4. Chill for at least two hours before serving.

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Sweet and Savory Salads

Ripe summer fruits add a touch of sweetness to these cool, crisp salads:

Apple Greens Salad

Yield: 6 servings

Calories: 355

  • 8 cups mixed salad greens
  • 2 cups of diced golden delicious apples
  • ½ cup crumbled of Gorgonzola cheese
  • ½ cup chopped and toasted walnuts or pecans
  • 2/3 cup of extra virgin olive oil
  • 2/3 cup of balsamic vinegar
  • 2 cloves of garlic, crushed
  • 1 teaspoons ground mustard
  • Sea salt and fresh ground pepper to taste.
  1. Toss together first 4 ingredients in serving bowl and set aside.
  2. In a separate bowl, whisk together remaining ingredients for vinaigrette dressing.
  3. Drizzle vinaigrette over salad and serve.

Mango Berry Green Salad

Yield: 12 servings

Calories per serving: 326

  • 1/8 cup of sugar
  • ¾ cup of vegetable oil
  • ½ teaspoon of salt
  • ¼ cup of balsamic vinegar
  • 8 cups mixed salad greens
  • 2 cups of dried mixed berries (blueberries, cranberries, strawberries, etc.)
  • 1 cup of fresh blackberries, quartered
  • 1 mango, peeled, pitted and cubed
  • ½ cup of red onion, chopped cup
  • 1 cup of cashews
  1. Whisk together sugar, oil, salt and vinegar for dressing.
  2. Toss remaining ingredients together in a large serving bowl and add dressing.

Frosty Summer Desserts

You won't need to turn on the oven or even heat ingredients on your stovetop to create these decadent summer pies:

Creamy Peach-Raspberry Ice Box Pie

Yield: 8 servings

Calories per serving: 155

  • 3 ripe peaches, peeled and chopped
  • ½ cup of fresh raspberries
  • 3 tablespoons sugar, divided
  • 1 cup of heavy cream
  • 3/4 cup of plain yogurt
  • 1 prepared graham cracker piecrust
  1. Combine fruit and 1 tablespoon of sugar in a bowl. Stir and set aside for about a half hour, then mash slightly with a fork.
  2. Whip cream with an electric mixer for about one minute, adding the remaining sugar after 30 seconds. Cream should thicken and form soft peaks.
  3. Mix the yogurt into the bowl of fruit.
  4. Fold in whipped cream, reserving a little bit for a decorative topping.
  5. Pour filling into piecrust, cover and freeze at least several hours, until firm.

Key Lime Icebox Pie

Yield: 8 servings

Calories per serving: 480 (excludes whipped topping)

  • 1 9-inch prepared graham cracker crust
  • 2 8-ounce packages of cream cheese, softened
  • 1 14-ounce can sweetened condensed milk
  • 4 tablespoons of fresh key lime juice
  • 1 teaspoon of key lime zest
  • Whipped topping, key lime slices and fresh peppermint leaves for garnish, optional
  1. Beat Neufchatel cheese until fluffy in a medium bowl.
  2. Mix in condensed milk, key lime juice, and key lime zest until smooth.
  3. Pour filling into prepared crust.
  4. Refrigerate at least two hours before serving.
  5. Garnish with whipped topping and peppermint leaves, if desired.

A Taste of India

This chilled traditional Indian yogurt dressing helps take the heat out of spicy foods and blistering hot days:

Cucumber-Peppermint Raita

Yield: 6 servings

Calories per serving: 68

  • 2 seedless cucumbers - peeled, and grated
  • 2 cups of plain whole milk yogurt
  • 3 tablespoons of lemon juice
  • 2½ tablespoons of chopped fresh mint
  • ½ teaspoon of cumin
  • Pinch of black pepper
  • Pinch of paprika
  • Pinch of sugar
  • Kosher salt, to taste.

Stir together the cucumber, yogurt, lemon juice, mint, sugar, and salt in a bowl. Cover and refrigerate at least 3 hours, preferably overnight.

You truly don't have to light a fire at mealtimes on hot days. With fresh ingredients and a little creativity, you and your family will enjoy delicious dishes with no added heat required.

Last Updated: June 24, 2012
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About Roberta Pescow Roberta Pescow holds a bachelor's degree in communications from City University of New York, Queens College and is a freelance writer and editor in the NJ area. The author of "A Life In The Service" and "A Monster's Tears," she enjoys writing informative articles, personal essays, fiction and music.  Roberta is a proud mother of two. Her other interests include fitness, photography, sculpture and meditation. She is a voracious reader and holds a 2nd degree black belt in Tae Kwan Do. Roberta enjoys decorating her hectic, but happy home and garden in original and affordable ways.  

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