- Nutrition -

5 No-Cook Summer Meals

Step away from the stove! These simple recipes will help you make the most of the season’s prime produce while keeping your cool.

Two summer salads are pictured.

The last thing I want to do on a sweltering summer night is preheat the oven. As much as I love to cook, once the temperature starts to climb, standing over a hot stove makes concocting a meal seem like a real chore. This time of year, I want to enjoy practically effortless healthful fare without heating up my kitchen.

Fortunately, some of the summer’s best produce is on display at local farmers’ markets in July and August. Those plump tomatoes and juicy peaches are at their peak this time of year, so I don’t need to fuss with them too much for their flavors to shine.

These are the simple recipes I rely on in the summertime. Try them out, and you too can enjoy the best of this bountiful season without turning on your stove or oven. These meals are fast, fresh, and flavorful, and they won’t leave you stuck with a pile of pots and pans at the end — so you can get back outside to enjoy more of these endless summer nights.

WEB EXTRA!

Quick Pickles

The main difference between quick pickling and regular pickling is that quick pickles aren’t canned in a hot-water bath, which means they must be kept in the refrigerator and eaten within two months.

Pickled vegetables

Quick-Pickled Ginger

Makes about 1 1/2 cups
Prep time: five minutes, plus 30 minutes to brine and a week or more pickling time

Ingredients

  • 12 oz. fresh ginger, peeled and thinly sliced
  • 1 cup water
  • 1/2 cup rice vinegar
  • 1 tbs. sugar
  • 2 tbs. plus 1 tsp. kosher salt

Directions

  1. Wash a 1-pint wide-mouth canning jar and lid in hot soapy water and let air dry.
  2. Place sliced ginger in a medium bowl. Sprinkle with 1 tsp. kosher salt and toss to coat. Let sit 30 minutes to soften.
  3. Pack ginger into the canning jar. In a spare jar or other airtight container, combine water, vinegar, sugar, and remaining 2 tbs. salt. Seal and shake vigorously until the salt and sugar dissolve. Pour brine mixture over the ginger to cover completely.
  4. Tap jar on the counter to release any air bubbles. Top off with more brine if necessary, then secure the lid and place in the refrigerator. Leave the jar in the fridge for at least a week before tasting. Pickled ginger will mellow in taste as it ages and will last up to two months in the refrigerator.

Quick-Pickled Veggies

Makes about 1 1/2 cups
Prep time: five minutes, plus 48 hours or more pickling time

Ingredients

  • 1 1/2 cups thinly sliced carrots or radishes, whole green beans, asparagus stalks, cauliflower florets, or other vegetable of choice
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 1/3 cup white vinegar
  • 1 tbs. sugar
  • 2 tbs. kosher salt
  • Optional: 1 tsp. peppercorns, 2 small chili peppers, 2 smashed garlic cloves, 2 smashed lemongrass stalks, or other herbs and spices of choice

Directions

  1. Wash a 1-pint wide-mouth canning jar and lid in hot soapy water and let dry.
  2. Pack sliced vegetables into the jar with any additional herbs or spices. In a spare jar or other airtight container, combine water, vinegar, sugar, and salt. Seal and shake vigorously until the salt and sugar dissolve. Pour brine mixture over the vegetables to cover completely.
  3. Tap jar on the counter to release any air bubbles. Top with more brine if necessary, then secure the lid and place in the refrigerator. Leave the jar in the fridge for at least 48 hours before tasting. The pickles will become more flavorful as they age. Quick pickles will last up to one month in the refrigerator.

This originally appeared as "No-Sweat Summer Meals” in the July/August 2019 print issue of Experience Life.

is an Experience Life senior editor.

Photos by: Andrea D’Agosto; Prop Styling: Alicia Buszczak; Food Stylist: Paul Jackman

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