There’s a time and a place for hearty, warming meals. It just doesn’t happen to be when the sun is shining and we’ve got the air conditioning on. During that time, we turn to simple, cold dinners that are light but totally satisfying (and some are even no-cook). Here, 30 cold dinner recipes you most certainly won’t burn your tongue on.
1. Cold Sesame Cucumber Noodles
Store-bought marinated baked tofu combined with cold noodles makes this dish hearty, healthy and super simple to whip up.
2. Chicken Orzo Salad
Add whatever veggies you picked up from the farmers’ market this week. The best part? If you plan for leftovers you can enjoy this guy more than just once.
3. Quinoa and Shaved Carrot Salad with Chickpeas, Currants and Cashews
One of those recipes that’s easy, customizable (use whatever fruit or nuts you have lying around the cupboard) and can be eaten warm or cold. The choice is yours.
4. Watermelon Poke Bowls
Ideal for when we want something cool and crunchy. Did we mention this one’s vegetarian (and photogenic)?
5. Clean Broccoli Salad with Creamy Almond Dressing
Featuring purple cabbage, broccoli, raisins, almonds, green onions and a creamy vegan almond-miso-orange dressing.
6. Honey-Miso Summer Salad Bowls
Have you ever seen anything so beautiful? And you’re definitely going to want to put this savory-sweet dressing on just about everything.
7. Charred Corn and Goat Cheese Avocado Toast
Topped with corn, chives, lemon, salt and pepper, this is not your average avocado toast. (Thanks, Coterie member Gaby Dalkin.)
8. Grilled Peach, Prosciutto and Mozzarella Sandwich
Sweet, salty and savory. Our new favorite sammy is what we call the ultimate triple threat.
9. Aglio Olio Zoodles with Summer Vegetables and Shrimp
This lighter take on a classic Italian dish is packed with flavor. Just don’t forget to pile on the freshly grated cheese.
10. Spiralized Sushi Bowl with Salmon Sashimi and Ginger Miso Dressing
PureWow Coterie member Ali Maffucci gave us this beautiful (not to mention colorful) bowl and we are forever grateful. Taste the rainbow.
11. Mediterranean Tuna Salad
Packed with so many flavors and textures (veggies, artichokes, capers, avocado and a red wine vinaigrette), you won’t even miss the mayo.
12. Shredded Thai Salad with Avocado
Ready thy Instagram, because this array of shredded cabbage, peppers and other fresh veggies—topped with vibrant slices of avocado—is too beautiful not to share.
13. Cheesy Raw Vegan Zucchini Lasagna
Meet the clean-eating version of your favorite comfort food: Stacks on stacks of our favorite veggies topped with extra cheesy goodness.
14. The Ultimate Quinoa-Avocado Bowl
Crispy kale? Check. Spicy shrimp? Check. Avocado slices, watermelon radishes and quinoa? Check, check and oh yeah, check.
15. Pineapple Mango Salsa Chicken Lettuce Wraps
If you’re looking for something that’s on your diet, these guys—courtesy of Coterie member Liz Falcigno—are completely gluten-free, Paleo, and Whole30. And you can have them on the table in just 20 minutes.
16. Beet Noodle, Pea and Arugula Salad
Topped with a lemon garlic-tahini sauce, this crunchy salad is the ideal cold dinner for a warm evening.
17. Aran Goyoaga’s Niçoise Salad
This is so much more exciting than the average Niçoise salad. It makes for a quick and hearty dinner and is easy to scale up or down.
18. Kelp and Zucchini Noodle Pad Thai
Coterie member Jodi Moreno recently stopped by the PureWow test kitchen to whip up this light gluten-free, Paleo and nutrient-rich dish.
19. Summer Corn and Heirloom Salad with Spicy Breadcrumbs, Goat Cheese and Tomatillo Salsa Verde
This is the summer salad of our dreams. Don’t forget to grab a handful of toasted bread cubes and crumble them over the dish for additional texture.
20. 15-Minute Cucumber-Avocado Blender Soup
Making soup can feel like a lot of effort for something that we could just get from a can. Enter: this flavorful recipe that's ready in no time.
21. Cold Lemon Zoodles
A light, zesty dressing and no actual cooking required make this dish our summer night go-to. Who needs a stove anyway?
22. 15-Minute Gazpacho with Cucumber, Red Pepper and Basil
With some ripe produce and a blender or food processor, you can whip up this guy in no time. No heat (or effort) required.
23. Buddha Bowl with Kale, Avocado, Orange and Wild Rice
This grain bowl, filled to the brim with the freshest ingredients (avocado, orange, pumpkin seeds and more), is about to become your new go-to dinner.
24. Rainbow Collard Wraps with Peanut Butter Dipping Sauce
So easy and refreshing. You can even make them ahead of time (up to two days in advance) and they won’t get soggy in the fridge.
25. Greek Yogurt Chicken Salad Stuffed Peppers
Serve the leftovers of this lightened-up tangy chicken salad for lunch. If there’s any left, we mean.
26. Summer Abundance Salad
Let seasonal produce be the star of your meal, because this vegan salad is packed with whole grains, protein, fruits and your favorite veggies.
27. BLT Pasta Salad
We’re combining all of the crunchy, savory, creamy ingredients of the classic sandwich—minus, well, the bread. Go ahead, fry up all of your bacon at your next brunch, then save the leftovers for this meal.
28. Cold Soba Noodle Salad with Strawberries
This dish is almost no-cook, takes less than 30 minutes and can be made up to one day in advance. Just toss the strawberries in right before serving so they don’t get mushy.
Take a page out of Coterie member Jerrelle Guy’s book and make a salad…out of bread.
30. Yellow Tomato Gazpacho
Yellow tomatoes are milder and less acidic than most red ones, and pair beautifully with sweet summer peaches. Top it all off with extra crunchy cucumbers and croutons.