Don’t Break a Sweat with These No-Heat-Required Recipes

When it is the dead of summer and there seems to be no way to beat the heat, the last thing you want to do is slave over a hot stove. Ordering takeout or going to restaurants for meals just to avoid the heat can get expensive and wreak havoc on healthy diets.

Now you are in luck! This roundup of recipes requires no heat whatsoever. That means no hot oven, no sizzling grills, not even a microwave or toaster! An added bonus of heat-free recipes is being able to prep them with your kids. You don’t want the temperature of your home to go up a single degree, and these recipes will help you keep your cool.

Breakfast

  • Breakfast popsicles: You heard right! Popsicles are not just for dessert anymore. Granola and bananas make this a nutrient-packed breakfast on the go.
  • No-bake muffins: Get this bakery treat without turning on the oven with this no-bake muffin recipe.
  • Frozen bananas: The secret to a healthy, heat-free treat is in the banana stand! This is a lighter twist on the boardwalk favorite. Prep the bananas by adding skewers or wood craft sticks before dipping in yogurt, honey or peanut butter. Then coat them with dried fruits, toasted coconut, granola, chocolate shavings or nuts. Prep a few at a time with your favorite toppings for a treat at any time of the day.

Lunch

  • Apple PB&J sandwiches: Swap bread with apple disks for a sweet twist on a classic PB&J sandwich.
  • Black bean & guacamole wrap: This hearty wrap isn’t short on flavor. You can spice things up without raising the temperature with hot peppers or add even more crunch with fresh, crisp produce.
  • Fresh spring rolls: Roll up fresh, crunchy veggies like carrots, lettuce, peppers and sprouts along with fresh herbs like mint or cilantro. Then, in rice paper wrappers, pair with your favorite homemade dipping sauces like this simple, Thai-inspired peanut sauce.

Dinner

  • Homemade sushi: Transform leftover white rice and your favorite sushi fillings with homemade sushi! Skipping the not-so-healthy tempura rolls and substituting vegetables, fresh herbs and fruits requires no frying in hot oil and makes use of fresh, local produce. Try rolling mango slices, strips of cucumber and avocado in seaweed and rice for a refreshing, slightly sweet take on sushi.
  • Zucchini manicotti: Indulge in this Italian classic without a boiling pot of water that feels like a personal sauna. Slice zucchini into long, flat strips with a knife or mandolin. Kids can help assemble the rollups using a low-fat ricotta-mozzarella cheese blend in the center and spooning marinara sauce on top. You can also fill up the manicotti with a blend of cheese, spinach, parsley, mushrooms and other fillings.
  • Zucchini “pasta” salad: No heat and no recipe required? It seems like everyone has a go-to pasta salad recipe that is a staple at picnics and potlucks. Substituting pasta with “zoodles” in your tried-and-true pasta salad dish will save time and energy because it requires no boiling pots of pasta and the hours of cooling afterwards.
  • Tostadas: These tostadas are piled high with fresh ingredients, none of them requiring a single pot or pan. Get the kids involved to make their own crazy combinations or keep it simple with this recipe idea.

Dessert

  • Frozen yogurt bark – Spread a layer of Greek yogurt on a cookie sheet and top with berries, nuts and dark chocolate shavings before freezing. Kids love smashing the bark into pieces before diving in.
  • Homemade freeze pops: Combinations of fresh fruits, fruit juices, coconut water and homemade smoothie mixes are perfect for freezing in fun-shaped molds. Pack your Popsicle mold with your favorite flavors and enjoy on a hot day!
  • Fresh fruit sorbets: Skip the store-bought ice creams and sorbets, and make your own sorbets at home with seasonal produce. Check out your local farmers market for fresh, in-season produce that will make a frozen treat you and your family will love.

Snacks

  • Frozen yogurt berry bites: Coat berries of your choice in Greek yogurt for a cool, portable snack that kids will love. Before freezing, either spread the yogurt bites out on a cookie sheet or stick them on skewers to make kebobs.
  • Fruit salsa: Homemade salsa combinations such as a strawberry mango salsa with pita or tortilla chips is a sweet, unprocessed alternative to store-bought salsas. Finely chopped strawberries, mangoes, red onion and jalapenos mix well with lime juice and cilantro. Or try this peach and cucumber salsa recipe here.
  • Peanut butter fruit dip: Dip apple slices and graham crackers in a peanut butter dip made from just peanut butter and vanilla Greek yogurt. It can’t get simpler with just two ingredients!

Do you have any recipes or kitchen hacks that help you stand the heat in the kitchen? Comment below and help save fellow cooks!

Photo credit: Katrina Danko, A Healthier Michigan

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