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How to Make No-Cook Dinners

No stove, no oven, no problem! These no-cook recipes are sure to please.

You read the headline right: No. Cook. As in you don’t have to cook -- at all! And there’s a bonus: No-cook meals tend to be healthy(ish), and you can pretend you’re being trendy or “Mediterranean” (as opposed to just not up for the task). Here are a few faves from Long Island-based personal chef Emilie Raffa.

Antipasti Platter: Get a few good cheeses (like fresh mozzarella, provolone and manchego) and roasted red peppers, plus some marinated artichokes and proscuitto. Put them all on a pretty plate and you’re set. Voila!

Gazpacho:
Toss 2 cups of chopped tomatoes (fresh, vine-ripened ones are best) and a cup of watermelon in the blender. Slowly stream in olive oil, and process until combined but not too thick. Pour into a pot or large bowl. Next, dice half of a hot house cucumber, quarter of a Vidalia onion, and a yellow bell pepper. Add them to the mix. Finally, splash in a tablespoon of sherry vinegar and taste the soup. Emilie says it should taste “bright and clean.” Add more vinegar if you think it needs it, and season with salt and pepper to taste. Stir in one bunch of chopped chives, and sprinkle a little goat cheese on top (adds a subtle tang). Yummy. Serves four.

Salad: Emilie loves salads because they’re “a great way of using what’s left in the fridge.” A yummy one: Try mixing romaine with butter lettuce so you’ll have a couple of different textures. Add garbanzo beans, heirloom tomatoes and toss with a buttermilk ranch dressing.

Avocado and Sweet Corn Salad with Fresh Herb Vinaigrette:
Start with the vinaigrette -- juice two limes, slowly streaming in olive oil until thick and emulsified. Fold in ¼ cup cilantro and ¼ cup chives, and season with salt and pepper. Next, chop a couple of avocados and toss with a little of the vinaigrette (keeps the avo from turning brown). Hold two ears of corn (well, one at a time) straight up in a high-sided bowl and cut off the kernels with a serrated bread knife. Add the corn to the avo, and then add in a cup of halved grape tomatoes, a can of black beans, and a cup of Monterey Jack cheese cubes. Toss it all with what’s left of your dressing, add more salt and pepper, and serve with pita chips. Serves four.

And For Dessert…: Layer sweetened crème fraiche with fresh seasonal berries, and sprinkle crushed meringue cookies on top. (Or you could just dive into a pint of Haagen-Dazs.)

-- Erin Walters

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