Food & Drink

17 Easy No-Cook Meals That Keep the Oven Off

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Before we get started on a subject dear to our hearts, let’s define the term “no-cook,” since it can be interpreted in many ways. Long, philosophical essays have been written on what it means to cook, but for the purposes of this post, let’s say that “no-cook” simply means no heat, as in keeping the stove and oven off. This leaves us free to chop, squeeze, slice, arrange, dollop, scatter, mix, gently fold, and … well, you get the picture. Basically no-cook means assembling, sometimes with things that have already been cooked (like rotisserie chicken, hard-boiled eggs, slices of ham). Make sense? Good! Let’s get started on some of the best meals out there.

Since these meals are more about assembly, no-cook meals begin in two places: the grocery store and the leftover shelf of your refrigerator. Picking up a rotisserie chicken, a couple cans of beans, tinned fish, or cured meats basically gives you a running start on meal time. To help with the grocery store, be sure to read our comprehensive 31 essential ingredients for no-cook meals and make a list! Your leftover stash will vary widely, but in general keeping things like hard-boiled eggs, a pot of rice or other favorite grain, leftover meats, and roasted vegetables is a good place to start.

Ready to get going? When it feel too hot to turn on the oven or you just don’t feel like stepping up to the stove, here are 17 no-cook meals to lean on.

Do you have a favorite no-cook dinner? Something that just comes together with the magic of a few leftovers or a quick trip to the store?

Dana Velden


Dana Velden’s first book, Finding Yourself in the Kitchen: Kitchen Meditations and Inspired Recipes from a Mindful Cook (Rodale Books) is available where ever books are sold. She lives in Oakland, CA.

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