Finding the time to prep for meals in my busy work schedule can be difficult. Sweating over the stove when its peaking 40 degrees is another story, and one that I’d prefer not to endure. But how am I supposed to survive the heavy February heat when hunger strikes, and my belly is rumbling? And, I don’t think my bank account is too happy with me buying take-outs all the time.
Luckily I had a light-bulb moment; easy-to prepare meal options that do not need cooking! So, I gave it some thought and was pleasantly surprised to find that the options are endless. From sensational salad options full of yummy goodness, to repurposed sarmies, and wraps to chilled soups, here are a few of my favourite meals when it’s too hot to cook.
For the perfect taste of summer, I love a good salad during this sunny season. When I say salad, I don’t mean a few meager lettuce leaves, I mean a flavour creation with all sorts of yummy goodies. I hand-picked these three salad recipes that will make those melting moments, when it’s just too darn hot, more bearable. Why not try them out!
A combination of fresh flavours with just a touch of spiciness, my family’s customised Raita Salad recipe is a tongue tickler, perfect for those hot sultry days.
What you will need:
- 1 cup chopped cucumber
- ½ cup chopped apple
- 1 cup Greek yogurt
- Sprig of fresh mint, finely chopped
- 1 tablespoon honey
- 1 teaspoon medium curry powder/ turmeric
- Salt and pepper to taste
- Sprinkle of Sunflower seeds and raisins (optional)
And, it’s oh so simple to make:
- Stir in curry powder/ turmeric, salt and pepper into the Greek yogurt.
- Add the dollop of honey and whip up until nice and smooth using a metal spoon.
- Throw in the chopped cucumber, apple and mint and toss together until evenly distributed.
I came across this Watermelon salad at my friend’s braai, and was instantly seduced by its refreshing sweetness kissed with a dash of rich saltiness. Obviously, I asked her for the recipe and she told me she just threw it together herself using just three ingredients:
- Half Watermelon,
- 2 rounds of feta, cut into cubes
- Fresh mint, chopped finely
Nothing beats good ol’ Mediterranean flavours in summer, and this simplistic salad recipe (which I may have hacked from my time working at Gino’s Restaurant) is enough to make my mouth water.
Layer tomato slices on mozzarella cheese and arrange like leaning dominoes on a platter (vary amounts depending on preferred portion size). Top with fresh basil and serve with garlic focaccia bread along with a drizzle of balsamic dressing.
Tuna open Sarmie
Because it offers substance without being too heavy, I do enjoy a classic tuna mayo sandwich. Packed with protein power and rich in essential oils, combined with whole-grain and a touch of green goodness, this light meal option ticks all the boxes. Best of all it only takes a few minutes to prepare, with no cooking involved.
- 170g shredded tuna
- Teaspoon lemon juice
- 2 tablespoons mayo
- Sprig of dill – chopped
- 1 slice Whole-wheat seeded bread
Making it has never been easier:
Toss together tuna, lemon juice and mayo in a bowl, and add seasoning. Pile the tuna mixture onto the whole-wheat seeded bread and top with dill.
Avo and Halloumi wrap
As wraps are indeed the talk of the town during summer, this avo and halloumi wrap is a definite must.
Be sure to stock up on these ingredients (vary amounts depending on preference):
- Halloumi cheese
- Baby spinach
- Fresh mint
Layer the wrap with slices of avocado, halloumi cheese and top with a dollop of hummus, a few pieces of sliced cucumber, a couple of baby spinach leaves and a sprinkle of chopped mint leaves. Fold over, flip, cut and enjoy!
Chicken-mayo style wrap
I’m now an official believer of repurposing leftovers, so I decided to wrap up my own chicken mayo style meal option. When the thermometer spikes, this chicken-mayo wrap, using leftover chicken and basic salad ingredients, is light but will certainly satisfy those hunger pangs.
Here are the basic ingredients I used:
- 1 wrap
- ½ cup Leftover roast chicken
- 2 tablespoons Mayonnaise
- 1 carrot – finely grated
- 2 large butter lettuce leaves
Now let’s get wrapping
- Lay out the lettuce lives on the wrap
- Place the leftover chicken in a bowl and add the mayonnaise. Mix well and spoon on top of the lettuce leaves. Make sure the chicken mayo runs down the centre of the wrap.
- Top with the grated carrot and fold the wrap closed. Flip the wrap over, cut in half and dig in!
When I think soup, I immediately imagine warming myself to a piping bowl of broth on a cold winter’s night. Wait, freeze for a second; there is, in fact, such a thing as Gazpacho soup which is far from piping hot. It’s deliciously cool, but just as wholesome. And even better, it’s not even necessary to turn up the heat to make it.
Here is a great recipe to use (sourced from gordonramsay.com):
- 1 cucumber – peel skin and chop into small pieces
- 1 red pepper – remove the seeds and chop into small pieces
- 1 green pepper – remove the seeds and chop into small pieces
- 1 kg plum tomatoes – remove core and chop into cubes
- 2 garlic cloves – remove the out layer and crush using –
- 2 spring onions – trim the ends and chop into finely
- 75 g stale bread (white or brown, depending on preference)
- 2 tablespoons sherry vinegar (alternately balsamic vinegar or apple cider vinegar)
Now, let’s get going:
- Toss together the cucumber, peppers, tomatoes, garlic and spring onions in a large bowl.
- Throw in the bread crumbs and sprinkle with salt and pepper.
- Add the sherry vinegar along with the olive oil. Using hands, combine all the ingredients
together and press down to release the juices.
- Cover the bowl with a cloth, place in the refrigerator and leave the mixture to marinate for at least 30 minutes.
- Using a blender, wizz the mixture until smooth. (Now it’s time to check consistency and taste. Add a dollop of olive oil if it’s still a bit thick, and add seasoning or more vinegar to taste preference)
- Once again cover and leave to chill. Before serving, taste the gazpacho as the seasoning may have altered during chilling process.
- Add a few ice blocks to the soup garnish with chopped basil, and serve with toast
What is your go to meal when it’s too hot to cook? Feel free to share in the comment section below.