Oven-Free Summer: 5 Meals For When It’s Too Hot To Use the Oven

Here you go: Refreshing, simple ways to eat oven-free this July.

It’s hot out. The last thing you want to do is stand over a steaming hot oven on a muggy summer day – let alone heat up the kitchen to an insanely hot degree. (Or possibly your tiny NYC flat, in our case.) What do you do? Well, summer should feel light and easy, so we try our best to limit our oven-cooking during hotter months. Here are our five tips for having an oven-free, refreshing lunch or dinner that’s packed with flavor.

#1 Freshly.

Pork Tenderloin with Ragu

The simplest way is, well, not to cook at all, and spend as little time in the kitchen as possible. It’s possible to eat healthy, flavorful dinners without your oven. In fact, you can eat all the meals in the picture above without one.

Meal delivery services aren’t just restricted to unhealthy takeout and seemingly “seamless” restaurant food, anymore. A crop of health-conscious, high-quality meal services that deliver ready-to-eat meals are now at your fingertips. At Freshly, we do all the cooking for you and deliver fresh meals to your door so all you have to do is heat them and eat. And before you ask – the microwave is a low-effort, low-heat appliance that doesn’t damage your health as the myth suggests. Another great thing about our dishes is that you can remix them in tons of different ways. Our turkey chili, for example, can be made into delicious no-cook mini tacos. Be sure to check out our menu to see our complete collection of delicious lunches and dinners.

#2 Throw together a hearty, refreshing salad.

Source: The Iron You
Source: The Iron You

We love a good, hearty salad because they’re generally easy to make and there’s so much recipe variety. By ‘salad’ we don’t just mean a weak little bowl of lettuce, dressing, and a few pine nuts either. (No offense to those.) We mean a real wholesome salad that incorporates a variety of ingredients from smoked salmon to seasoned quinoa to creamy avocado. Try this recipe, from blogger the Iron You for a tasty Avocado Caprese salad. If you have a spiralizer handy, a tasty gluten-free pasta salad made from zucchini (zucchini noodles are also called zoodles) or squash also makes for a cool, refreshing, nutrient-rich dinner.  We like this super-easy, one-bowl recipe for Spiralized Yellow Squash with Basil and Mint from the blog, Inspiralized.

#3 Get your grill on.

Source: The Endless Meal
Source: The Endless Meal

For us, summer is synonymous with spending as much time outside in the sunshine as possible without getting a third-degree burn. The grill is a great way to embrace the melt-your-face-off heat while keeping the heated appliances outside. Grilling, by the way, isn’t confined to steaks and hot dogs anymore. 

#4 Get cooler with no-cook cold soups.

Source: Bon Appetit

Cold soups are kind of weird at first, but you do get used to them, like we did. Cold soups are mostly whipped up in a blender and require pretty minimal effort to make. They’re refreshing, low-calorie, and can be packed with delicious seasonal veggies and fruits. Our favorite cold soups are a nice chilled zucchini soup, a zesty tomato gazpacho, and a fresh avocado and spinach bowl. Here’s one great recipe for Green Gazpacho soup from Bon Appetit

#5 Use your slow cooker.

Source: Damn Delicious
Source: Damn Delicious

Like the microwave, the slow cooker (also called the crock pot or the “grok pot” by some paleo friends) is a low-effort, low-heat kitchen appliance that allows you to make hearty meals without slaving over a hot stove. In most cases, you can just throw in a bunch of ingredients before you leave in the morning, and come back to a warm meal after work. Here’s a great crock pot recipe for beef and broccoli from the blog, Damn Delicious. Prep time: 10 minutes.