Five summer meals for hot days that don’t need the oven

Putting the oven on on a hot summer’s day can heat the house up and leave it too warm to sleep in the evenings. It also seems a bit counter-intuitive to waste money and power turning the oven on, then opening all the windows to let the heat out! We’ve put together five delicious meal ideas that require very minimal cooking, and that use the hob rather than the oven.

Vegan rainbow couscous salad

The beauty of couscous is that it doesn’t need cooking at all – just add boiling water. To serve four, you’ll need:

  • 250g couscous
  • 375ml boiling water
  • 2 spring onions, chopped
  • juice of 1/2 a lemon
  • splash of olive oil
  • fresh chives, chopped
  • fresh parsley, chopped
  • 100g cashew nuts
  • tin of chickpeas, drained
  • 1 red pepper, finely chopped
  • 1 green pepper, finely chopped
  • 100g sultanas

Put the couscous, sultanas and boiling water in a large heatproof bowl, cover and leave to stand for 10 minutes. Fluff the couscous up with a fork, add all the other ingredients and give it a good stir. Serve with a green salad. (You can use any type of couscous you like, but check the packet as soaking times may vary.)

Avocado, tomato and mozzarella wraps

These make great picnic sandwiches, if you want to take your dinner alfresco! To serve four, you’ll need:

  • four tortilla wraps
  • 4 vine tomatoes
  • 1 pack of mozzarella cheese
  • 2 ripe avocados
  • tablespoon lemon juice

Peel and de-stone the avocados and roughly mash the flesh. Spread 1/4 of the avocado on each wrap (leave about 1/3 of the wrap bare or all the filling will squirt out when you roll it up!). Slice the cheese and tomatoes arrange over the wraps. Roll up tightly and cut in half. Serve with a green salad.

Tuna pasta salad

Yes, you do need to cook the pasta, but you can do it first thing in the morning when it’s cool enough to cook. To serve four, you’ll need:

  • 350g dried pasta shapes of your choice
  • 1 tin tuna in sunflower oil
  • 2 teaspoons wholegrain mustard
  • two tablespoons reduced fat mayonnaise
  • 1/2 cucumber, finely chopped
  • 1 red onion, finely chopped
  • around 20 cherry tomatoes, cut in half
  • small handful fresh parsley
  • 100g frozen sweetcorn

Cook the pasta according to the packet instructions. For the last minute of cooking, add the sweetcorn. Drain and set aside to cool while you prepare the vegetables. Drain the tuna. When the pasta is cool, mix in all the remaining ingredients and put it in the fridge until required.

Gazpacho

This refreshing chilled soup is perfect on a hot day, and only requires a blender.¬† To serve four, you’ll need:

  • 1 yellow or orange pepper, de-seeded and cut into four
  • 1/2 cucumber
  • 1 red pepper, de-seeded and cut into four
  • 8 ripe vine tomatoes
  • 1 red onion
  • 2 to 3 cloves of garlic
  • 1 stick celery, trimmed
  • 3 tablespoons olive oil
  • 100g slightly stale white bread (fresh bread doesn’t blend as well)
  • 2 tablespoons sherry vinegar

Put most of each vegetable in the blender, reserving a few cubes for a garnish. Blend to a puree, then add the bread, oil and vinegar and blend again. Put into a jug, cover and refrigerate for at least 20 minutes to allow the flavours to blend. Serve garnished with the reserved vegetables and with strips of toasted flatbread.

Smoked mackerel and salmon pate

This simple pate is no-cook, and is delicious served with toasted baguettes and a green salad. To serve four, you’ll need:

  • 200g smoked mackerel and 100g smoked salmon (some supermarkets sell smoked salmon trimmings which are ideal for this)
  • small handful fresh parsley
  • 1 lemon
  • 150g reduced-fat cream cheese

Put the fish, parsley, and lemon juice and rind in a blender, discarding any fish skin. Pulse until combined – it doesn’t have to be smooth. Stir in the cream cheese and chill until required.

All images (c) Pixabay 2020

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