Hot Weather Recipe Roundup

Guuuurrrl, it’s hot outside!

The temperature is starting to climb, you’re hungry, and you don’t feel like heating up the kitchen. What do you do? Order take out? Noooooooo!

This is a particularly difficult situation for me because most of my favorite recipes involve oven roasting vegetables or meat, and that just doesn’t work in a south Louisiana summer. The air conditioner is already working full blast just to keep the outside heat at bay, and it can’t handle the extra challenge of a hot oven. If it’s summer and I’m in the kitchen, I’m sweating. Ick.

Sooo, in hopes that I’ll get my creative juices flowing and come up with some great new hot weather recipes, I went through my archives and pulled the best hot weather recipes thus far. What makes a recipe good for hot weather? I like recipes that are either eaten cold, include a lot of fresh, crunchy vegetables (hello, high water content/hydration), require very little cooking, or are in the form of a icy cold, slushy beverage. Here are my favorite hot weather picks, divided into four categories: salads, sandwiches, hot meals (because sometimes you still want cooked hot meal), and beverages.

Best Hot Weather Recipes:


Falafel Salad

Falafel Salad – This is my new favorite salad! With tons of fresh parsley, cold juicy tomatoes, and chickpeas, this salad is refreshing and filling at the same time (but really, it’s all about the amazing lemon tahini dressing! YUM).


Summer Vegetable Pasta Salad

Summer Vegetable Pasta Salad – One of the best aspects of summer is all the fresh produce, so take advantage of it with this awesomely fresh pasta salad. The dressing is light and tangy, making this salad perfectly refreshing for outdoor BBQ’s and summer potlucks.


Crunchy Asian Salad

Crunchy Asian Salad – Crunchy vegetables just say “summer” to me, so this one is a no brainer. The extra crunchy cabbage and carrots, plus fresh, breezy cilantro make an ultra light, but filling summer salad.


Quinoa Tabbouleh

Quinoa Tabbouleh – It must have been summer the first time I ate tabbouleh because now I crave it every summer. Fresh tomatoes, cucumber, parsley, and plenty of lemon juice will help you beat the heat. Protein packed quinoa ups the ante and make the salad meal worthy.


Shrimp & Rice Salad

Shrimp & Rice Salad – Serve this salad cold for a cool summer supper. It has plenty of protein and fresh vegetables to balance the rice and make it not too carb-heavy. You’ll feel full but light after eating this salad.


Lemony Cucumber Couscous Salad

Lemony Cucumber Couscous – Just like with the tabbouleh, the combination of cucumber and lemon makes a heat squashingly fresh meal. Make sure it’s well chilled for maximum cucumber cooling magic.



Spinach Feta Grilled Cheese

Spinach & Feta Grilled Cheese – It only takes a few minutes worth of skillet heat to make this totally melty and flavorful grilled cheese. Plus, it’s got green in it, so it’s a little more well rounded than a plain grilled cheese, right? Right.


Hearty Black Bean Quesadillas

Hearty Black Bean Quesadillas – Lots of flavor, lots of fiber, and only a few minutes in the skillet. You can’t lose here (plus, this is one of Budget Bytes best reader rated recipes EVER, so you know it’s good!).


Tuna & White Bean Salad

Tuna & White Bean Salad – Whether you’re eating it with crackers, stuffed into a pita, or between two slices of bread, this salad is a super satisfying cold meal without any heat required.


Curry Chicken Salad

Curry Chicken Salad – Same concept, different flavors. Eat it cold by itself, scooped up with some crackers, stuffed into pita, or as a sandwich on bread. You can either cook your own chicken (a little heat required), or take a short cut and use a pre-cooked rotisserie chicken from the grocery store deli. Plus, I love the cold crunchy celery and bits of sweet raisins!


Hot Meals (that won’t have you sweating)

Taco Chicken Bowls

Slow Cooker Taco Chicken Bowls – The slow cooker is a life saver in the summer. You can still cook things long and slow without heating up your whole kitchen! Plus, something about hot, spicy southwest flavors still works when it’s 100 degrees outside. I don’t get it, but it works.


Ready to Cook

Spinach & Artichoke Wonderpot – Ahh, the beauty of the wonderpot. Everything cooks together in one pot in under 30 minutes because let’s face it, summer is short and you’ve got a lot of fun to be having. I especially like the light flavors of this spinach & artichoke version because they’d go perfectly with a cold glass of crisp white wine! (Some people love the wonderpots, some people hate them. Read the reviews to see if might be your cup of tea.)


Creamy Tomato Spinach Pasta

Creamy Tomato & Spinach Pasta – This meal cooks up so fast you won’t even have time to break a sweat! Seriously fast, seriously creamy, and seriously delicious.


Southwest Chicken Skillet

Southwest Chicken Skillet – Another super fast skillet meal to get dinner on the table in next to no time at all. Mix everything together, turn on the heat, and then crack open an ice cold beverage while this one simmers away.



Pineapple Ginger Lassi

Pineapple Ginger Lassi – Cool yogurt, summery pineapple, and zesty ginger. This drink will cut through summer humidity and make you feel alive and refreshed. Best. Summer. Slushy. Ever.


Smoothie Packs

Smoothie Packs – My freezer is always stocked with smoothie packs during the warm weather months (um, all year in Louisiana?). This time saving trick makes it fast and easy to have a filling and delicious smoothie whenever you want it.


Gin Cooler

Gin Cooler – Aaaaand I saved the best for last! If you haven’t noticed, cucumber and lemon is my favorite summertime combo, so I also use it in my cocktails! This drink is very fast, easy, and refreshing (plus it looks pinterest-cute in a mason jar). Try it. Trust me.

I’d love to hear your summer favorites, too! I’m always open to inspiration!


  1. Carly says:

    Thanks Beth. I live in Florida, and NOTHING sounds good except for salads and sandwiches right now. I’m super excited about having new recipes to add to my (perpetual) summertime line-up.

  2. Awesome suggestions! I’ve been panicking, wondering what was going to happen to my meal planning and budgeting with the hot weather, and *boom* you have this post!

    Thanks Beth!
    (and yes, I changed my user name, and took the plunge into self hosting my blog…eeep!)

  3. Thank you so much for this post! I made the veggie pasta salad the other day and it was delicious. Also the leftovers made for a perfect dinner yesterday, when the heat index reached 107 degrees here in DC. I already had dinner in the fridge ready to go, no re-heating necessary! I also make your smoothies for breakfast all summer, using almond butter and yogurt instead of almond milk.

  4. Amanda says:

    I’m so glad you posted this, because I’ve been eating your cumin lime chickpeas for days now. Such a great light thing to eat at the office when I don’t want cooked food!

    I still have yet to try the falafel salad because I need to get some bulghur, but I cannot wait. Theres a can of tahini and some chickpeas in my fridge just waiting for me to get to the store. :)

  5. Michykeen says:

    It’s been 7 years since I first saw it, but Mark Bittman’s “summer express” recipes remain my go to for hot weather eating. So many good ideas with lots of room to improvise

  6. It’s not a meal, unless you eat enough, but it’s good

    Vegetables for dipping. You’ll figure out what is best for you. I like Club Crackers or another rich cracker with this.

    Onions – I like Green and mostly the green part. Regular onions cut thick.
    Carrots – pencil size
    Mushrooms – halved
    Celery – peeled and sized, like carrots
    Radishes – sliced for bite size.
    Cauliflower – break off a chunk and half or quarter it.
    Broccoli – same as Cauliflower
    Or any other vegetable you care to use to dip with.

    1 – 16oz Sour Cream
    1 – package of Hidden Valley Ranch Salad Dressing

    Combine the Sour Cream and Dressing and refrigerate for a couple of hours or more. Overnight really makes it.

    • Amanda says:

      John, try using half sour cream, half plain yogurt (not greek) and a tad bit of mayo with the packet of ranch. We’ve been making our dip like this for years and for some reason, the yogurt lightens it up a bit. It’s funny because I can notice the dip when yogurt isn’t used.

      This stays in my fridge almost all year with cut up vegetables, but especially in the summer when I don’t want to eat cooked food. My favorites to dip this in are red bell peppers, cucumbers, and carrots.

      I am always offering to bring veggies and dip to parties or get togethers, and everyone LOVES this. They can never pin point how the ranch tastes SO good, and I think it might be the yogurt added because they are so surprised when I tell them!

  7. We’ve had a lot of nice, cool rain lately where I live, but the heat is coming. I can’t wait to try your Falafel Salad. A smoothie sounds great, too. Thanks for this great list.

  8. They all look wonderful, but the shrimp and rice salad is really sounding tasty right now!

  9. Dana H says:

    After the ridiculous winter we just endured…it’s hard to complain about the heat (but dah-ng it is hot in the mitten!) Thanks for this great list Beth, you have NO idea how much my family appreciates YOU! ;-)

  10. Karin says:

    Awesome ideas! I’m always looking for quick easy recipes for 3 very picky teens :)

  11. I’ve just found your blog today and I’m making two of your recipes tonight! Your pics are great. You make great food look easy and accessible. I will probably end up pinning your whole site before I’m done!

  12. I started making Tori Avey’s ( Israeli salad not too long ago: tomatoes, cucumber, onion, parsley dressed with lemon and olive oil, s&p. Equal parts tomato and cucumber, about 1/4 amount of onion…the rest to taste. Simple and amazingly tasty – easy to add some feta, beans, kalamata olives, etc. for a “meal”, or it makes a refreshing side. Tori uses Persian cukes which are small and sweet.

    Years ago, Pioneer Woman had a recipe for a Spicy MacnCheese: pepper jack cheese, red and jalapeno peppers, corn… I like to use the same ingredients without the heavy cream and less cheese, for a cold macaroni or pasta salad (I like to use ditalini or very small shells)

    Cucumbers, onions and a yogurt/dill mix – again, add some feta, avocado, beans and have a meal.

    I’m in Northwest MT with no humidity and heat…work from a home office and I’m an early riser so I often do some baking/roasting as soon as get up – like you, I like having roast, shredded chicken in the freezer and/or frig.

    I’m not a tuna fan, but I love cold salmon. My fav source for canned salmon is Salmon, onion, cuke and capers on toast spread with goat cheese – easy, quick, no heat other than the toaster.

    I recently quit buying Outshine bars and make my own pineapple-coconut popsicles:
    1 ounce shredded coconut (I use Let’s do Organic)
    8 ounces water (hot – let it sit with the coconut for 5 min.)
    1/2 a fresh pineapple cut up
    a little fresh ginger
    vanilla protein powder
    Whiz in my Vitamix until smooth and into the molds.

    This year, for sipping: Julia’s Dazzle Rose . It has been at my Costco – a pinot grigio dry rose which I’ve been enjoying as both a cocktail and with my supper…very food friendly!

  13. Colette M McWilliams says:

    I decided to make a pot of 90 min beans yesterday. As I laid in bed I thought about the same thing..How hot it was.. I decided I would use my toaster over, set it up on my patio and made my beans..

    • That’s a brilliant and simple idea to put the toaster oven outside! I have a small table next to an outlet. Thanks for sharing.

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