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Summer Food Ideas that Don’t Require Turning on the Heat

When the July sun is making it feel like an oven outside, the last thing you want to do is use your actual oven inside. So here are some tips for heat-free dishes you can make for dinner, potlucks, backyard barbeques, or wherever the summer takes you.

4 min read

Pot-Luck Dishes


Fruit salad is fun, but why not try something new and different? For a just-as-colorful treat, use a spiralizer to shred red cabbage and make it into a purple slaw using your favorite coleslaw recipe -- something more classic like mayonnaise, sugar, lemon juice, vinegar, or add something to spice it up like dijon mustard, or cumin and jalapeño.

Prep is easy (see how our lead engineer, Mack, makes slaw here(Opens in a new window))- some quick slicing, shredding and whisking, then you're ready to go. No sauteeing, baking, or sweating.

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You would be surprised by how put-together and impressive it can look when all you really did was put a bunch of food on a stick. Alternate between grape tomatoes, basil leaves, and little balls of mozzarella tossed in a vinaigrette, and just like that you have a beautiful, delicious, and unique appetizer for any summer gathering.

For a more colorful twist, head to the grocery store or farmer's market and get a rainbow of raw veggies to skewer for snacking.

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Stuffed Peppers

Stuffed peppers can come in all shapes and sizes, but mixing hummus with fresh herbs, or goat cheese, thyme and sesame seeds, and putting it inside sweet mini peppers can make it seem like you slaved over this app for hours when really you could throw it together in just a few minutes. Bite-sized apps, bite-sized prep time. (And if you're in a pinch, plain hummus in mini peppers still looks cute and saves snackers the dipping step!)

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Main Dishes


Ceviche is a game-changer. It's basically magic (okay fine, it's science) but all you need are scallops - or diced red snapper, tilapia, or any firm fish -  and you "cook" it by soaking it in lime juice. Then you add any flavorings you want - onion, tomato, pepper and cilantro are the most common.

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Veggie Noodles

For an aesthetically pleasing twist on a classic dish, try replacing your greens with veggie noodles using zucchini, golden beets or carrots. Mix up the mix-ins, adding avocado and tomato or goat cheese and pomegranate. You can even add a honey and vinegar dressing to spiralized cucumbers for a refreshing new dish.

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And now you have a whole stockpile of oven-free meals for all your summer days (and nights). If it's no-bake desserts you're looking for, we have some ideas for that too here(Opens in a new window) and here(Opens in a new window), including ice cream sandwiches, trifles and other red, white, and blue treats you can make.


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