The higher temperatures climb, the less appealing it is to turn on the oven or cook something over a hot stove.
So why bother? There are plenty of appealing cold recipes that involve little to no hot preparation — without being limited to various salad combinations. We asked chefs, bloggers and other foodies to share their favorite cheap chilled recipes, both savory and sweet.
Haru Sushi in New York suggests serving this cold cocktail garnished with a piece of watermelon. Or, for a party, preparing a batch to serve in a hollowed-out melon.
For one serving, muddle three ounces of watermelon in a glass with five pieces of cilantro. Add ice, an ounce of simple syrup and an ounce of tequila. Shake vigorously and pour everything into a rocks glass. Add an ounce of soda water and garnish with a piece of watermelon on a bamboo spike.
“I do twist the recipe a bit, replacing the tomatoes with red bell pepper,” says home cook Mihaela Lica Butler. “They are sweet and they give a nice ’crunch’ to the dish.”
To make, chop five ounces parsley and an ounce of mint. Dice two spring onions, a cucumber and a red bell pepper. Cook a quarter-cup bulgur and then mix in the herbs and vegetables, along with salt, pepper, olive oil and lemon zest to taste.
Let refrigerate overnight. “The secret to this recipe is to chop the parsley finely, and dice the other ingredients as small as you can, except the cucumbers, which can be a bit bigger,” Butler says.
If you have leftover mashed potatoes on hand, this cold soup from Vicki Chelf, the author of “Vicki’s Vegan Kitchen” takes just a few minutes to make.
Chef Eric O’Neill of SmartKitchen.com came up with both fast and more intricate ways of making this dish. For the quick and easy kind, peel and de-pit two ripe avocados and place in a blender with a thinly sliced stalk of lemongrass, a half-teaspoon lime zest, a quarter-cup lime juice and a half-cup whole milk. Blend until smooth, and season to taste with salt and pepper. Adjust the consistency as needed with more milk.
Strain the soup through a fine mesh sieve. Serve in chilled soup bowls garnished with radishes, chives, olive oil and a squeeze of lime juice. Want a little more nuance? Try the version with a wine and lemongrass reduction.
Cucumber Yogurt Soup
Anne Maxfield of “Accidental Locavore” turns to this pepperoncini-spiked cold soup to avoid cooking on hot days.
Pine Nut Gazpacho
Cold gazpacho is a warm-weather staple (we offered up a watermelon version last year). Chelf gives hers a twist with pine nuts.
To make, put in a blender two pounds of coarsely chopped tomatoes, a half-cup pine nuts, two tablespoons red wine vinegar and a half-teaspoon sea salt . Blend until very smooth and creamy. Transfer to a large bowl and stir in a cup of grated cucumber.
Top with a quarter-cup fresh basil and serve. If desired, refrigerate in a covered container to serve later.
Mason Jar Faux Ice Cream
Steph Calvert of “Hearts and Laser Beams” made the life-changing discovery earlier this year that blender blades can easily screw onto pint-size Mason jars. The result: fast and easy homemade “ice cream” with little mess.
Frozen Lemonade Pie
“I can remember the first time I tasted lemonade pie,” recalls Kristl Story of TheBudgetDiet.com. “I was seven years old, and our babysitter brought this over.” Now, it’s a family staple for hot summer days.
To make, combine a thawed 12-ounce container of cool whip, a can of sweetened condensed milk and a six-ounce can of thawed lemonade concentrate. Mix until smooth. Pour into a graham cracker crust and garnish with lemon zest. Refrigerate or freeze until time to serve.
“Thin Mint” Mini Ice Cream Sandwiches
Out of Girl Scout cookies? Mini mint ice cream sandwiches from “The Chef” and “The Lucky Wife” at TheSaturdayEveningPot.com may hit the spot. “The flavors are reminiscent of Thin Mints,” she says.
Frugal Foodie is a journalist based in New York City who spends her days writing about personal finance and obsessing about what she’ll have for dinner. Chat with her on Twitter through @MintFoodie.