ICYMI, it's f***ing hot outside. And not to go full-on One Tree Hill levels of dramatic, but having to use my oven or stovetop when the heat is already sweltering feels like a fate worse than a golden retriever eating my transplant heart. Hot, sweaty summer nights require something refreshing that can be made without expending too many more brain cells. That's where these no-cook vegetarian meals become life savers.
Eating a plant-based diet is considered one of the best—if not the best—diets for healthy aging. Plus, many experts believe that eating a diet that consists mostly of plants is generally better for the environment than meat-heavy diets. It's no meat, no heat with these six easy, no-cook, veggie-forward dinner recipes. (Be sure to try one of these delicious no-bake desserts after for a little something sweet.)
Keep reading for 6 delicious, no-cook vegetarian meals that will keep you cool on hot days:
1. Haile Thomas's sun-dried tomato and walnut tacos
These tacos were a staple meal for certified health coach and chef Haile Thomas when she first began to eat plant-based. The "meat" skips the usual vegetarian subs like tofu, instead opting for a blend of walnuts and sun-dried tomatoes as the filling. (The addition of cilantro, tamari, and spices keep it from tasting too much like ground-up walnuts.) There's zero heat required to make this dish, making it perfect for hot summer nights.
Get the recipe: Vegan sun-dried tomato and walnut tacos
2. Palak Patel's green goddess harvest bowl
In this video, chef Palak Patel shows how to make a harvest grain bowl that's packed with veggies and fiber. The green chutney sauce takes a mere 30 seconds to make, and ties the whole dish together with a flavorful blend of cilantro, mint, garlic, and serrano. To make this recipe no-cook, use pre-made lentils or quinoa, both of which are widely available at grocery stores, and skip the roasted carrots and asparagus for leftover cooked veggies you have on hand.
Get the recipe: Green goddess harvest bowl
3. Julia Turshen's copper penny salad
This easy kale salad comes courtesy of chef and cookbook author Julia Turshen. A typical copper penny salad (named after sliced carrot pieces used in the dish) often involves cooked vegetables, but Turshen leaves the veggies raw for extra crunch. In the video she toasts her own almonds, but you can skip that step if you want (or buy pre-toasted nuts) so you don't have to turn on the burner for even a second.
Get the recipe: Copper penny kale salad
4. Sam Kass's anti-inflammatory salad
Former White House chef Sam Kass's five-minute turmeric salad dressing will take you to Flavortown. In the video he shows how to use it on both a cold and a warm salad—the former of which works as a no-cook vegetarian dinner that's packed with anti-inflammatory ingredients.
Get the recipe: Anti-inflammatory salad, two ways
5. Nyesha Arrington's vegan Swiss chard rolls
These delicious, veggie-packed wraps make for a simple, cool dinner no matter how sweaty you feel in your kitchen. There's very minimal cooking involved (you just have to blanch the chard leaves, which you can easily do in the morning before the temps creep up). Fill the leaves with your favorite store-bought hummus and pre-cooked vegetables, roll them up, and that's a wrap!
Get the recipe: Vegan Swiss chard rolls
6. Maya Feller's simple coconut smoothie bowl
Breakfast for dinner is always a good idea. This coconut smoothie bowl from nutrition expert Maya Feller, RD, is a refreshing way to end a sweltering day. “My family is from the Caribbean, and we grew up doing coconut everything,” says Feller. “I absolutely love coconut.” Coconut is full of hydration-boosting electrolytes—especially needed if you've been sweating your butt off all day. Antioxidant- and nutrient-rich toppings round out the bowl.
Get the recipe: Coconut smoothie bowl
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