The richness of summer is so vibrant and delicious that it’s easy and pleasant to forgo cooking by making seasonal produce the star of a dish. Focus on smart shopping and artful assembly for a meal as satisfying as one you’ve spent all day cooking. Here’s the formula to remember: Pick at least one type of ripe raw fruit or vegetable, one prepared protein, one starch, and spices, and combine them into a large salad, generously topped toast, savory dip, or a rich snack tray .
By having just one or two ingredients on hand from each of the following categories, you have everything you need to prepare a complete no-cook meal in minutes. Finally, you want to combine contrasting textures, such as B. Soft tofu with thinly sliced sugar snap peas, so be sure to choose a mix of crunchy, creamy and juicy basics. In addition to the standard pantry condiments, stock up on pre-seasoned options for an instant boost, such as: B. Goat cheese with herbs.
Raw fruits and vegetables: melons, berries, citrus fruits and avocado; crunchy vegetables like cucumbers, peas, and radishes; leafy greens like bok choy, kale, and soft herbs; and other summer staples like corn, peppers, and zucchini.
Prepared Proteins: Boiled or cured meats such as rotisserie chicken, prosciutto, and jerky; canned tuna or salmon; smoked salmon or trout; canned beans; hummus; Tofu; nuts, seeds and butter; soft or hard dairy products such as yoghurt, ricotta and crème fraîche or parmesan, manchego and cheddar.
Strengthen: Bread, chips, crackers, rice cakes, pretzels, corn nuts and other snacks that will make you smile.
Spices: Oil, vinegar, salt, and pepper are essential, but consider ground spices and spice mixes (all-bagel spice, za’atar); savory foods like pickles, olives, and capers; Sauces such as mustard, hot sauce, chili oil, fish sauce and mayonnaise.
Arrange your ingredients in any of the formats below, follow the no-recipe recipes, or create your own. Cold foods and raw produce require a lot of salt to bring out their flavor. So remember to taste and adjust the seasoning before serving.
Large salads: Include a variety of fats, starches, and proteins for weight. The dressing can be as simple as oil and vinegar or as elaborate as creamy blue cheese.
Macerate shallots and nectarines in lemon juice, then toss with spinach, shredded chicken, and pita chips. Eat with buttermilk goat cheese dressing. (See recipe.)
Combine cooked lentils, mashed green raw beans, sliced apricots, fresh mint leaves and candied pecans with a blue cheese dressing. Top with crushed rosemary crackers.
Mix thinly sliced raw shishito peppers and spring onions with canned tuna and canned kidney beans. Dress with lemon juice and zest and toasted sesame oil. Garnish with nori rice crackers.
Toasted Toasts: Stack toppings on bread and use something creamy like ricotta or hummus to help cling loose ingredients to the toast. Or fold, roll or sandwich toppings in a tortilla, pita, lavash or flatbread.
Mix fresh corn kernels with chopped cantaloupe, coriander, salami and almonds. Place on the baguettes spread with ricotta. (See recipe.)
Layer avocado, sprouts, hummus, sliced feta, and pickled jalapeños between potato buns.
Spread mayonnaise on a pumpernickel bagel, then top with canned sardines, thinly sliced bok choy, grated parmesan, and toasted sesame seeds.
Savory Dips: Make a high-protein dip by using mashed beans, silken tofu, nut butters, or smoked fish or meat.
Serve smoked salmon dip with cucumber, tomatoes, bagel chips and pickles. (See recipe.)
Stir together fresh corn, ricotta, and ‘nduja. Use radishes and multigrain crackers for dipping.
Make a seven-layer dip with drained canned black beans, then serve with tortillas and spicy chips.
Snack trays: Arrange the ingredients artfully on a baking sheet or platter and see, you’ve made dinner.
Assemble an antipasti platter for the main course with celery, avocado, cured meats, mozzarella, focaccia, pickled peppers, and mustard.
Dress peeled raw beets with vinegar and serve with grapes, smoked salmon, pastrami, cheddar, pretzel chips and sauerkraut.
Mix white beans with harissa and serve with tomatoes, watermelon, mint, almonds, goat cheese and olive bread.
Now that the dinner question is answered, what are you going to do with your free time? Enjoy the setting sun? Chasing the ice cream truck? Thinking about what not to cook for dinner tomorrow?
Recipes: Chicken salad with nectarines and goat cheese | Everything Bagel Smoked Salmon Dip | Ricotta toast with melon, corn and salami