Cool Dishes for Hot Days

Beat the heat with main dishes, sides, and desserts that are meant to be enjoyed chilled.

  • Seared Tuna and Radish Salad with Wasabi Dressing
    Randy Mayor

    Seared Tuna and Radish Salad with Wasabi Dressing

    Add fresh tuna to your diet using a recipe that calls for minimal cooking. Searing the tuna seals in the juices and flavor, so make sure the skillet is hot when you add the steaks. They only need to cook about two minutes per side, so your kitchen will stay cool.
  • <p>Quinoa-Arugula Layered Salad</p>

    Quinoa-Arugula Layered Salad

    This salad is the perfect solution to lunch or dinner on warm summer days and nights spent out side at the park, beach, or lake.
  • Butter-Crunch Lemon Bars
    Photo: Oxmoor House

    Butter-Crunch Lemon Bars

    A buttery, crunchy pastry crust forms the base for a tangy lemon filling. You can substitute fresh orange juice and grated orange rind for lemon, if you wish. These are best served chilled.
  • Strawberry Frozen Yogurt with Balsamic Syrup
    Photo: Yunhee Kim; Styling: Karen Shinto

    Strawberry Frozen Yogurt Pie with Balsamic Syrup

    Preserves and jams are great to use in ice cream, because their high sugar content keeps the fruit from freezing rock-hard.
  • <p>Nectarine Caprese Salad</p>

    Nectarine Caprese Salad

    Made with white nectarines, this savory-sweet Caprese just might trump the classic version. Burrata cheese adds richness, but feel free to sub in fresh mozzarella.
  • Zucchini-and-Mint Gazpacho with Radish Salsa
    Photo: Aran Goyoaga

    Zucchini-and-Mint Gazpacho with Radish Salsa

    It only takes 15 minutes of prep time and 1 hour to chill this beautiful Gazpacho for a no-fuss cooling summer side.
  • <p>Yogurt "Romesco" Dip</p>

    Yogurt "Romesco" Dip

    Grill the bell pepper half with Friday night dinner until it's nicely charred, peel and chop it, and then refrigerate in a zip-top plastic bag. It'll be ready to go for this quick dip served with Saturday lunch.
  • Quinoa Salad Ni&#231;oise with Lemon-Caper Vinaigrette
    Photo: Antonis Achilleos; Styling: Gerri Williams  

    Quinoa Salad Niçoise with Lemon-Caper Vinaigrette

    Quinoa Salad Niçoise with Lemon-Caper Vinaigrette makes a striking presentation for a luncheon and it's protein-packed.
  • Strawberry-Pretzel Ice Cream
    Photo: Hector Sanchez; Stylist: Buffy Hargett

    Strawberry-Pretzel Ice Cream

    Serve this top-rated Strawberry-Pretzel Ice Cream in between two of your favorite sugar cookies for a salty-sweet flavor, hinting of fresh basil.
  • Pineapple Chicken Salad Pitas
    Photo: Lee Harrelson; Styling: Melanie J. Clarke

    Pineapple Chicken Salad Pitas

    Serve this pineapple chicken salad pita recipe with a side of baked potato chips to round out a perfect portable picnic meal.
  • Blueberry-Cheesecake Ice Cream Pie
    Photo: Hector Sanchez; Stylist: Buffy Hargett

    Blueberry-Cheesecake Ice-Cream Pie

    No cooking is needed to make this simple Blueberry-Cheesecake Ice-Cream Pie. Just be sure to freeze Blueberry-Cheesecake Ice-Cream Pie after adding each layer to ensure easy assembly and a layered look.
  • Mixed-Berry Crumble

    Mixed-Berry Crumble

    Double the crumble mixture. Freeze half in a ziplock bag and use it on yogurt.
  • Caprese Pasta Salad
    Photo: Antonis Achilleos; Styling: Gerri Williams for James Reps  

    Caprese Pasta Salad

    Brimming with delicious Greek ingredients, chilling allows the flavors of basil, olives, and mozzarella to come together beautifully in this pasta salad.
  • <p>Farro Salad with Cherry Tomato, Onion, and Almonds</p>

    Farro Salad with Cherry Tomato, Onion, and Almonds

    This effortless salad features pearled farro, cucumbers, cherry tomatoes, creamy mascarpone cheese, and smoked almonds. Pack it for a nutritious lunch or as an easy make-ahead meal on your next hiking trip.
  • Orzo Salad
    Photo: Becky Luigart-Stayner; Styling: Melanie J. Clarke

    Orzo Salad

    If you do decide to heat the grill for your main dish, serve a cool side dish like this orzo salad. Feta cheese, parsley, and balsamic vinegar add bright flavor to the cooked pasta. Make ahead and chill for an hour before serving. To serve it as a main dish, add leftover chicken and toss well.
  • Brownie Ice-Cream Sandwiches
    Charles E. Walton IV

    Brownie Ice-Cream Sandwiches

    Fruit cobblers and chocolate pies always have a place the dessert buffet, but when the heat of summer is on, serve a frozen ice-cream sandwich. Follow the recipe to make the brownies from scratch or substitute your favorite box mix.
  • <p>Grilled Gazpacho</p>

    Grilled Gazpacho

    Grilling adds a smoky dimension to Spain's favorite chilled summertime soup. The trick is to grill the veggies over a screaming-hot fire, just long enough to char the exterior while leaving the vegetables raw in the center.
  • <p>Blueberry-and-Kale Grain Salad</p>

    Blueberry-and-Kale Grain Salad

    Trust us--you're going to want to try this crunchy, sweet, and salty combo. Any variety of kale will do, and feel free to sub cooked farro, wild rice, or quinoa for the wheat berries.
  • Shrimp and Scallop Ceviche
    James Carrier

    Shrimp and Scallop Ceviche

    Start the cooking process by boiling the seafood for a few minutes, then douse the shrimp and scallops in cold water and let the citrus juice takeover. The lime juice slowly finishes "cooking" the seafood as it chills overnight.
  • Poached Pear, Macadamia, and Spinach Salad with Goat Cheese
    Monica Buck

    Poached Pear, Macadamia, and Spinach Salad with Goat Cheese

    Poaching is an ideal way to cook and still keep the kitchen cool. Serve this pear salad for a light dinner—you can poach the pears up to three days ahead. Then simply assemble the salad, toss, and serve.
  • <p>No-Bake Peach Pie</p>

    No-Bake Peach Pie

    This luscious dessert comes together easily and is the perfect ending to summer supper with friends. Use the softest and juiciest peaches you have, even slightly overripe fruit.
  • Peach, Tomato and Basil Salad

    Peach, Tomato and Basil Salad

    This tomato and basil salad is just peachy, especially since it only requires 5 ingredients and about 5 minutes to prepare.
  • Curried Chicken Salad
    Karry Hosford

    Curried Chicken Salad

    Just because you want to keep the kitchen cool doesn't mean you can't have some heat in your dinner. Curry powder adds a spicy kick to this fruit-packed version of chicken salad–It's loaded with grapes, apples, pineapple, and lemon juice.
  • Best Friends Iced Coffee Frappe

    Best Friends Iced Coffee Frappe

    Make your own version of the coffeehouse favorite. The surprise ingredient, ginger ale, adds a zesty fizz to the finished chocolate-flavored treat.
  • Avocado and Shrimp Sushi
    Photo: Jan Smith

    Avocado and Shrimp Sushi

    Invite friends into the kitchen and have fun making your own sushi. Set up rolling stations and use cooked shrimp to speed along preparation time. Pour individual soy sauce bowls, hand out chopsticks, and enjoy.
  • Chilled Corn Soup
    Thomas J. Story

    Chilled Corn Soup

    Take advantage of summer's fresh produce and serve a flavor-packed soup that won't leave you overheated. The corn only needs three minutes to cook, so boil it quickly, purée, and chill for about three hours, or overnight if you prefer.
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