No-Cook Meal Plan: 5 Dinners to Keep Cool All Week

A healthy no cook dinner with avocado filled crab

If you’re checking the weather report, and next week looks like it’s going to be a scorcher, don’t sweat dinner. Here’s a healthy eating plan that will have you in and out of the grocery store in an air-conditioned breeze, and save you from laying a finger on the oven or stove. With cool soups, salads, and wraps, these recipes are easy to chop and drop, assemble and roll. Plus, there’s a sweet treat to pop in the freezer. Stay cool, health nuts!

This  week’s worth of no-sweat summer suppers features five easy recipes. It covers Sunday through Thursday, and leaves the weekend open for leftovers. Each recipe makes 2 servings, but you can easily double up, if you’ve got more mouths to feed. There’s a shopping list for what to buy, with a few pantry staples at the bottom—check to make sure you have those on hand.

SHOPPING LIST

2 large heirloom tomatoes
1 red bell pepper
2 English cucumbers
1 shallot
1 bag (about 5 oz/155 g) mixed greens
1 heart romaine lettuce
2 avocados
1 seedless mini watermelon
2 limes
1 bunch fresh mint
1 bunch fresh cilantro

1 lb (500 g) shrimp, cooked, peeled, tail on
½ lb (250 g) lump crabmeat
2 grilled chicken breasts

Plain, low-fat Greek yogurt
Salsa fresca
Queso fresco

1 can (15 oz/470 g) chickpeas, no salt added
1 can (15 oz/470 g) black beans, no salt added
Dried brown rice vermicelli noodles
Dried brown rice paper wrappers
Spicy peanut sauce

Crusty whole-wheat bread
Small corn tortillas

Frozen corn

PANTRY STAPLES

Garlic
Red wine vinegar
Extra-virgin olive oil
Salt and pepper
Ground cayenne pepper

RECIPES

Sunday: Tomato Gazpacho with Chilled Shrimp

Gazpacho is soup-er easy, coming together with the push of a button. Seed and roughly chop 1 large heirloom tomato, ½ red bell pepper, ½ English cucumber, 1 shallot, and 1 clove garlic. Drop them in a high-power blender or food processor. Add 2 tablespoons red wine vinegar and 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil. Season with ½ teaspoon salt. Blend until thick but still rugged. Pour into a pitcher, cover, and refrigerate to chill. Pour into bowls or glasses and serve the gazpacho cold, with ½ lb (250 g) chilled shrimp and crusty whole-wheat bread.

Bonus: Watermelon Ice Pops with Mint

Don’t forget dessert! Put ice pops in the freezer on Sunday, so you can enjoy them all week. Peel and roughly chop 1 seedless mini watermelon. Drop it in a blender or food processor. Add the juice of 1 lime and a handful of fresh mint leaves. Blend until smooth. Pour into molds or small glasses. Freeze for 1 hour, insert sticks, and continue to freeze until solid, at least 4 hours or overnight. Run warm water over the outside of the molds for a few seconds, if necessary, to help loosen and remove the ice pops.

Monday: A Chop & Drop Chicken & Avocado Salad

Chop up a cool salad, straight from the fridge. Chop 1 large heirloom tomato and ½ English cucumber. Drop them in a large bowl. Rinse and drain 1 can chickpeas, and add to the bowl, along with 4 cups (4 oz/125 g) mixed greens. Drizzle with red wine vinegar and extra-virgin olive oil, season with salt and freshly ground pepper, and toss to coat. Pit, peel, and slice ½ avocado, and fold in last. Divide the salad between plates. Slice 2 grilled chicken breasts, and fan the chicken on top.

Tuesday: Shrimp Fresh Rolls with Spicy Peanut Sauce

These rolls are minty fresh, and the noodles and wrappers soak, so you don’t even have to boil water. Wash and dry 4 small romaine leaves. Soak 1 oz (30 g) rice vermicelli in hot water, according to package directions. Drain and set aside. Seed and cut ½ English cucumber and ½ red bell pepper into matchsticks. Take 8 large shrimp, remove the tails, and cut in half lengthwise. Pick a small handful of fresh mint leaves. Fill a large bowl with warm water, set up a work surface, and line up the fillings. Take 4 rice paper wrappers, and working with one at a time, dip into the water for a few seconds, then place on the surface. Arrange the lettuce, noodles, cucumber, bell pepper, shrimp, and mint leaves on top. Gently roll up the fresh roll, tucking in the ends like a burrito. Serve with spicy peanut sauce for dipping.

Wednesday: Black Bean & Corn Tacos

Give canned beans a quick rinse, and you can have tacos on the table in minutes. Rinse and drain 1 can (15 oz/470 g) black beans, and transfer to a bowl. Rinse and drain 1 cup (6 oz/185 g) frozen corn to thaw. Place 4 corn tortillas on plates, and fill with beans and corn. Top with salsa fresca and ½ avocado, sliced. Sprinkle with queso fresco and fresh cilantro leaves.

Thursday: Stuffed Avocados with Crab Salad

Avocados filled with fresh crab are a decadent summer treat. Pick over ½ lb (250 g) lump crabmeat, and remove any shells. In a bowl, combine ¼ cup (2 oz/60 g) Greek yogurt, juice of 1 lime, a pinch of salt, and a pinch of cayenne, and stir to combine. Add the crabmeat and stir to coat. Finely chop 1 handful fresh cilantro leaves, and fold in last. Halve and pit 1 avocado and place on plates. Fill the avocado halves with the crab salad. Serve with the remaining mixed greens and slices of whole-wheat toast, drizzled with olive oil and sprinkled lightly with salt.

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