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Food52’s No-Cook Summer Recipes

Save yourself from the kitchen’s heat with recipes that require no cooking at all. We’ve chosen summer dishes that are refreshing, easy to put together, and will keep you far, far away from a hot oven or stove. And they’ll pack up well, too. Make these dishes ahead of time, store them in your fridge, and then find a cool, shady spot to enjoy your meal. 

Recipe: Zuccaghetti

Photo by Sarah Shatz

Zucchini and summer squash, if sliced thinly enough, resemble spaghetti -- or, zuccaghetti! -- and make for a tender salad far that’s lighter than one made with real pasta. The thin, dewy zucchini are dressed in a tarragon vinaigrette that’s rounded out with cream. This is a salad that gets even better with a little sitting.

Recipe: Chilled Cantaloupe Soup

Photo by Sarah Shatz

Cantaloupe soup is often overly sweet and one-dimensional, but that’s not the case with this version. The addition of orange, lemon and lime juice gives it a healthy blast of acidity, while cinnamon adds depth. The soup, which takes five minutes to prepare, is best served ice cold, so you know it will be refreshing.

Recipe: Summer Ceviche

Photo by Sarah Shatz

Watermelon in a ceviche is not something you see every day, but it should be. This recipe is the essence of summer: the fish soaks up the lime juice, taking on a citrusy brightness, and the sweetness of the tomato and watermelon juices prevent the acid from overtaking. Onion, jalapeno, and cilantro remind you that the inspiration for this dish comes straight from Mexico. 

Recipe: Amangansett Corn Salad

Photo by Sarah Shatz

This corn salad captures the freshness of summer produce. Sweet, raw corn kernels and their milk mix with the bright acid of tomatoes and the kick of red onion. A hint of balsamic vinegar adds a caramel tang. 

Recipe: Plum Avocado Summer Salad

Photo by James Ransom

A study in contrasts, this salad will blow you away with its unexpected combination of flavors and textures. It's as if the marriage of tart-sweet plum and buttery avocado was always meant to be -- and the fragrant cilantro-garlic dressing brings just the right amount of heat to the party, thanks to the addition of a dried chili. Don't skimp on the lemon -- it’s crucial for balance. 

Recipe: Dark Chocolate & Coconut Bites

Photo by James Ransom

Introducing your new multi-purpose, five-minute dessert. These sweet treats are a mix between a no-bake cookie and a truffle, and you probably already have the ingredients to make them on hand. After only five minutes of preparation and a little nap in the fridge, these gems are ready to impress everyone from picnic-goers to fancy dinner guests.

What dishes do you enjoy making when it’s too hot to cook? Share your comments below!