6 oven-free summer meals


When your central air is working so hard to keep the apartment cool in the summer months, the last thing you want to do is fire up the oven to make dinner. But you’ll get sick of making the same old salads and sandwiches if you rely entirely on your own brain for oven-free meal ideas. Here are six creative recipes for lunch or dinner that don’t require the oven.

  1. Cucumber tomato avocado salad [Natasha’s Kitchen]. Summery salads are perfect for a light meal when the weather warms up, and this one is excellent if you find yourself in a romaine-and-carrot rut. This pretty summer salad incorporates creamy avocado—which is packed with healthy fats—and fresh tomatoes and cucumbers. Red onion brings big flavor to the salad as well as lemon, cilantro, and a dash of salt and pepper.
  2. Slow cooker cheesy BBQ chicken bacon sandwiches [Six Sisters’ Stuff]. When you don’t want to turn on the oven, your crockpot is a good alternative. It gives off little heat and doesn’t require you to hover over it, anyway. Sear chicken smothered in barbecue sauce slowly in the crockpot while you’re at work, then shred it and stuff it inside sandwiches with bacon—which you can make in the microwave. This recipe does call for onion rolls, but you can buy them ready to go at the store.
  3. Black beans and rice [Mel’s Kitchen Cafe]. Since you’ll probably be doing your fair share of barbecuing this summer, spend your nights in making some meat-free meals. This simple recipe for black beans and rice requires only a single stovetop burner, and it packs a lot of nutrition and plant-based protein too.
  4. Chicken salad croissant sandwiches [Life in the Lofthouse]. Chicken salad is a quintessential summer cookout eat, and when it’s stuffed inside a flaky croissant, it tastes just a little bit fancy. You can cook your chicken in the crockpot or use canned chicken to make this simple chicken salad recipe, which includes celery and red grapes for a bit of crunch and natural sweetness.
  5. BLT pita pockets [Mel’s Kitchen Cafe]. Sear bacon on the stove or cook it to crispy in the microwave, and you’ll be ready to create these BLT pita pockets. Use turkey bacon to cut down on the fat as well as reduced-fat mayo, or perhaps try mayo made with olive oil. Avocado, tomatoes, romaine lettuce, and whole wheat pita pockets make these summertime sandwiches a pretty healthy option.
  6. Slow cooker Chili’s steak fajitas [Six Sister’s Stuff]. Again, the slow cooker comes to the summer chef’s rescue in this recipe. Recreate the steak fajitas on the menu at Chili’s with this simple at-home recipe. It’s as easy as putting a pound and a half of sirloin steak in the crockpot with water and onion soup mix, stepping away for eight hours, and then shredding it to stuff inside soft tortillas. Sear some green peppers and onions on the stove top to add to the mix.