30 No-Cook Recipes for Labor Day
Labor Day may signal the unofficial end of summer, but we all know the heat isn’t gone yet. And just because you may be firing up the grill doesn’t mean you have to blast your oven or stove to prepare the rest of your Labor Day feast. These no-cook appetizers, salads, sides, and desserts will keep you—and your kitchen—nice and cool, no matter how hot Labor Day gets.
Summer Melon Salad with Ham and Mint Vinaigrette
Restaurant Style Salsa
Just like the dip at your favorite Mexican restaurant—only better! This fresh and spicy homemade salsa makes a big batch, but trust us, it won't last long.
Tangy Red Cabbage Slaw
Fruit juices, oil, and sugar combine to make a delicious and flavorful dressing for red cabbage and shredded carrots.
Classic Pimiento Cheese
Flashback: We lightened up the original that ran in August 2001 and got 35% fewer calories and 45% fewer fat grams!
Kung Pao Chicken Salad
Creamy chicken salad gets a major punch of personality with this wow-worthy, kung pao makeover. Featuring all of the flavors you know and love about kung pao chicken, the incredible savory-sweet dressing only gets tastier as it sits, so feel free to prep your chicken salad in advance and allow it some time to chill in the refrigerator. Kewpie mayonnaise is a Japanese brand of mayo that’s slightly sweeter than the standard U.S. supermarket standbys (like Hellman’s or Duke’s) and has a distinct savory richness—and it’s definitely worth seeking out. That, and the spicy chile crisp (don’t worry, it’s not as spicy as it looks in the jar), can be found at most Asian markets or ordered online.
Zoodles with Shrimp and Green Goddess Dressing
Using a blend of spiralized summer squash and zucchini “noodles,” this light and bright summer entree is as refreshing as they come. We absolutely love the fresh flavors this simple green goddess dressing packs into the dish; any leftover dressing would be great for dipping veggies into for an easy snack. Taking advantage of already steamed shrimp from the seafood counter of your favorite grocery store keeps this vibrant dish entirely no-cook and incredibly speedy. And to save a few extra minutes, you can grab containers of pre-spiralized vegetables from the produce section. In order to prevent sogginess, wait until it’s time to eat before assembling the components of your zoodle bowl.
Yellow tomatoes are a little less acidic than red, making this chilled soup's flavor sublime.
Rebecca's Black Bottom Icebox Pie
Green Pea and Parsley Hummus
Creamy Cucumber Salad
Cool, herbaceous, and refreshing, this creamy cucumber salad is the perfect accompaniment to any number of summer entrees, including barbecue pulled pork, grilled chicken, smoked brisket, and more. If you can’t find English cucumbers, simply use regular cukes, but peel them first.
Copycat Olive Garden Salad
This colorful dip can double as a side salad or topper for seared fish. It tastes even better the next day.
Everything Bagel Cheese Ball
The mega-flavor of an everything bagel can be rolled into a savory, satisfying cheese ball that your guests are sure to love. Prep the cheese ball in advance and roll it in everything spice blend just before your friends arrive for an easy, crowd-pleasing appetizer.
Easy Key Lime Pie
Dessert doesn’t get easier, or more delicious, than a no-bake key lime pie. Requiring just a handful of ingredients, this easy pie is a great recipe for less experienced bakers—especially considering what a crowd-pleaser it is. Perfect for the hot summer months when you’d rather reduce your oven use, the luscious key lime filling sets up to creamy perfection with the help of Cool Whip. Though we provide instructions for a homemade graham cracker crust, you can make this key lime pie recipe all the easier (and skip the oven altogether) by opting for a pre-made, store-bought pie crust instead.
Greek Tomato and Cucumber Salad with Farro
Whole-grain farro bulks up this hearty Mediterranean salad. If you like the crunch of fresh red onion but not the full pungency, give the slices a 30-second dip in ice water to tame the flavor; drain and toss in the salad.
Tomato Salad with Herbed Ricotta and Balsamic Vinaigrette
Sliced heirloom tomatoes are wow-worthy on their own--a simple vinaigrette and dollops of basil-flecked ricotta take them over the top. Serve with toasted baguette slices to sop up any tomato juices.
Black Bean Hummus with Queso Fresco
Try this Mexican-inspired hummus instead of queso for taco night. Top with queso fresco, onion, and cilantro and serve with tortilla chips.
Brussels Sprout Slaw with Apples and Pecans
Ice Cream-Only Ice Cream Cake
For some, a typical ice cream cake is a wonderful, frozen amalgamation of two of life’s great desserts: ice cream and cake (obviously). However, for others—those who truly prefer ice cream over cake—the fact that most ice cream cakes still contain layers of frozen cake is… a disappointment. And it is for these ice cream loving people that we created this “cake,” made purely of frozen dairy goodness. We use fresh whipped cream fortified with gelatin to “frost” the cake, holding the layered scoops together and coating the exterior, because a stabilized whipped cream holds its texture incredibly well (without becoming rock-hard) in the freezer. You can use any number and variety of flavors/colors to create your own take on this ice cream-only cake; we opted to go with a rainbow of colors to achieve a festive feel in every slice. Use any custom combination to create the perfect frozen cake for a birthday party, gender reveal party, college game day event, etc. You can even dress the concept up to create an adorable Ice Cream Princess Cake.
Super Simple Pimiento Cheese
This foolproof recipe for classic pimiento cheese comes from Damaris Phillip's cookbook Southern Girl Meets Vegetarian Boy: Down Home Classics for Vegetarians (and the Meat Eaters Who Love Them). The mainstay Southern cheese spread makes for an excellent appetizer served with crackers, and is equally delicious in recipes like this Pimiento Cheese Roasted Chicken.
Rainbow Tomato Bruschetta
Notes: Linda Wisner of Portland, Oregon uses a mix of heirloom tomato varieties from her garden; heirlooms are available in many farmers' markets. Toast the baguette slices up to 1 day ahead; cool, wrap airtight, and store at room temperature. Prepare tomatoes up to 1 hour ahead; cover and let stand at room temperature.
Watermelon Grain Bowl
Primary Ingredients - watermelon, wheat berries, cucumber, ricotta salata, and radish sprouts
Creamy Tahini Hummus
The key to achieving this rich hummus’s creamy texture is an unexpected pantry staple: baking soda. Simmering dried chickpeas in a baking soda solution helps the legumes break down faster and more efficiently, resulting in an impossibly smooth spread. While 1/2 cup may seem like a generous measure of tahini, this is what will give your hummus its signature deeply toasty flavor—so don’t cut yourself short. We especially love Soom brand tahini, as this is a high-quality product made from single origin sesame seeds. Better than anything you’ll buy in your grocery store deli, this velvety and delicious homemade hummus is perfect served with warm, fluffy pita and crudite, or spread onto sandwiches.
Pesto Chickpea Salad with Summer Squash
Stop searching, because we’ve got the best 15-minute summer side dish right here. The fresh aroma of basil, the nutty flavors from raw squash and pungent red onion all combine for a taste that perfectly reflects the season. The chickpeas offer a little more substance, making it hearty enough to leave you satisfied, which the light, lemony dressing and Parmesan make your taste buds happy. Bonus points if you can pick your own basil and squash from your garden.
Caprese Tomato Salad
Green Goddess Dressing
Green Goddess Dressing RecipeThe smooth texture of the Green Goddess becomes romaine-friendly and creamy to perfection with more parsley and fresh lemon. Because these fresh herbs are readily available, make this tangy, peppery dip year-round.
Vegan Coconut Cream Tart with White Peaches and Blueberries
This nutrient-rich twist on coconut cream pie is lusciously smooth and decadent… it’s also vegan, paleo, gluten-fee, and raw. In other words, you’re looking at a tart with a stacked resume. Perfect for a special occasion, especially if you’re looking to clean up your diet a bit, this show-stopping vegan dessert offers rich, toasty flavor and sweet tooth satisfaction—without adding refined sugar. And since there’s no need to crank up the oven to make it, this treat especially ideal for summer. Keep in mind, whipping coconut cream can sometimes be tricky. If you forget to refrigerate your cans overnight or if too much of the liquid gets mixed in, it will most likely separate. But not to worry—mixing in a bit of tapioca flour (arrowroot would also work) can bring the mixture back together in a snap. To save yourself time, go ahead and place your mixing bowl and whisk attachment in the fridge to chill as soon as you are ready to start prepping your tart.
A little chipotle pepper in the dressing lends smoky heat to the dish. A touch of sugar and tangy lime juice balance the pleasant bitterness of radicchio. You can make this slaw up to a day ahead. The radicchio will soften a little as it chills, but the broccoli and cabbage stay crunchy.
Oreo Icebox Cake
This decadent Oreo icebox cake is incredibly easy to make and requires only six ingredients. It’s a perfect dessert for kids birthday parties that doesn’t require heating up the kitchen. As is, this cooling cake offers a delightful cookies-n-cream flavor profile, but feel free to switch things up by using your favorite Oreo cookie flavor.
Watermelon, Cucumber, and Feta Salad
Cucumbers add a welcome crunch to this refreshing summer salad of cubed watermelon, fresh herbs, and crumbled feta cheese. You can replace the fresh mint with basil if you prefer, or use a combination of both herbs. A personal-sized seedless watermelon is just the right size for this salad, but you can also use pre-cut melon or a portion of a larger watermelon. Be sure to dress the salad right before serving it to prevent the melon and cucumbers from watering down the vinaigrette