20 Cooling Summer Recipes for When It’s Too Hot To Cook

Summertime is one of our favourite seasons: the gloriously vibrant summer produce, the lingering hours of sunlight, the relaxed vacation vibes from everyone around us, traveling with kids, lazy weekends spent with friends. When the heat is blistering, though, you don’t always feel like standing over a cooktop in the kitchen. That’s why we love making cooling summer recipes for when it’s too hot to cook.

The summer can lure us away from healthy habits, especially when a hot kitchen deters us from whipping up a homemade meal. However, we need energy for those exciting summer activities – and that comes from eating real, nutritious foods.

Here are some of our favourite cooling summer recipes for when it’s too hot to cook. These gems will help you stay cool, stay nourished and enjoy the fresh bounty of fruits and vegetables that summer has to offer.

(And, if you’re looking for even more summer-friendly recipe options, you can also check out our 20 Best Guacamole Recipes, 20 Best Dairy-free Ice Cream Recipes, or 20 Best Slow Cooker Recipes.)

Spiralized Sesame Noodle Salad

Gluten-Free Sesame Noodle Salad - Cooling Summer Recipes

Spiralized Sesame Noodle Salad by My Fresh Perspective

Spiralizers are a fun kitchen tool to use in the summertime. You can make noodles out of anything, and they make the veggies you might not normally eat raw taste wonderfully palatable. In this vegan salad, you’ll be tantalized by a variety of textures tossed in a bright citrus dressing.

Paleo Blueberry Beach Parfaits

Paleo Blueberry Beach Parfaits - Cooling Summer Recipes

Blueberry Beach Parfaits by A Saucy Kitchen

Layer upon layer of dairy-free coconut cream, fruit and grain-free granola – we can’t decide if we want to eat this for breakfast or dessert!

Strawberry Mint Salsa

Strawberry Salsa - Cooling Summer Recipes

Strawberry Mint Salsa by Sheena Scott (*ACN Program Coach)

An unconventional salsa that is loaded with flavour twists like mint and jalapeno. You’ll have no problem digging into this recipe with your favourite gluten-free chips.

Salmon Salad Salad

Gluten-Free Salmon Salad - Cooling Summer Recipes

Salmon Salad Salad by Sarah J. Hauser

Nope, we didn’t miss a typo. This quick + easy salad recipe is a green salad with a salmon salad – perfect for lunch or dinner when it’s too hot to cook.

Chilled Avocado Cucumber Soup

Chilled Avocado Cucumber Soup

Chilled Avocado Cucumber Soup by The Simple Veganista

All you need to make this chilled vegan soup is 10 minutes and a blender. We know you can make it happen – and then have more time for lounging on the patio.

Berry Pitaya Smoothie Bowl

Berry Pitaya Smoothie Bowl - Cooling Summer Recipes

Berry Pitaya Smoothie Bowl by Bakerita

Take advantage of summer berries while they’re here and use them to blend up an awesome vegan smoothie bowl. And you know what’s a perfect topping for your smoothie bowl? More berries!

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Raw Peach Cream Pie

Dairy-Free-Peach-Cream-Pie - Cooling Summer Recipes

Raw Peach Cream Pie by Meghan Telpner (*ACN Founder and Director)

Don’t worry, this roundup isn’t all salads and smoothies. Case in point: this delectable raw, gluten-free and grain-free peach cream pie. Instead of the oven, your food processor and freezer do all the work.

Vegan Mocha Frappe

Vegan Mocha Frappe

Vegan Mocha Frappe by Delightful Adventures

A dairy-free and vegan frappe that has a nutritious protein boost. And since there isn’t any sugar in this recipe, you can add your own natural sweeteners as you see fit. For a coffee-free version, try substituting Dandy Blend.

Garlic Scape Pesto

Garlic Scape Pesto - Vegan - Cooling Summer Recipes

Garlic Scape Pesto by Vanilla and Bean

Kale pesto is old news. Try this ultra-flavourful garlic scape pesto, which is dairy-free and can be used in a multitude of ways – dip chips or crudites in it, spread it on toast, toss into pasta, or dollop onto salads.

Gluten-Free Andalusian Gazpacho

Gluten-Free Gazpacho - Cooling Summer Recipes

Gluten-Free Andalusian Gazpacho by The Endless Meal

The beautiful thing about this gluten-free and vegan recipe is there is no need to blanch the tomatoes! Instead, there is a secret technique to getting the veggies soft and smooth.

Berry Cashew Cream No Bake Bars

Berry Cashew No-Bake Bars

Berry Cashew Cream No Bake Bars by Food Faith Fitness

This gorgeous tri-coloured treat is like a cross between vegan cheesecake and Neopolitan ice cream. With the freezing time for each layer, you’ll need to wait awhile to devour them, but there isn’t a lot of active prep time to make up for it. The best things come to those who wait, right?

Zucchini Squash Salad

Zucchini Squash Salad -Cooling Summer Recipes

Zucchini Squash Salad by Feed Your Soul

A simple and elegant salad that you can make using a mandolin, a vegetable peeler, or a sharp knife.

Rice Noodle Salad with Sesame Dressing

Gluten-Free Rice Noodle Salad with Sesame Dressing - Cooling Summer Recipes

Rice Noodle Salad with Sesame Dressing by Lazy Cat Kitchen

Rice vermicelli noodles are a fabulous gluten-free no-cook alternative when you don’t want to turn up the heat. But you can barely see them in this photo because this salad is bursting with fresh veggies – which is how we like it!

Beetroot Soup

Chilled Beetroot Soup - Cooling Summer Recipes

Beetroot Soup by The Luminous Kitchen

Check out the gorgeous colour of this soup! For a dairy-free version, sub in your favourite brand of dairy-free yogurt or try cashew sour cream. And, for those of you who are into food photography, this post offers some behind-the-scenes tips for getting great food shots.

Raw, Nut-Free Chocolate Brownies

Raw, Nut-Free Chocolate Brownies - Cooling Summer Recipes

Raw, Nut-Free Chocolate Brownies by Sondi Bruner (*ACN Head Program Coach)

A three-ingredient raw chocolate brownie that tastes like dense, fudgy heaven. Great to nibble on for dessert at your next BBQ, or to take as a snack when you’re on the go.

Za’atar Tomatoes with Hummus

Za'atar Tomatoes with Hummus - Cooling Summer Recipes

Za’aatar Tomatoes with Hummus by I Will Not Eat Oysters

The spiced tomatoes that pool in the centre of this hummus recipe take hummus-eating to a whole new level. A beautiful visual on the plate for guests, too – you may need to make a double batch.

Veggie Sushi Rolls

Raw Veggie Sushi Rolls - Cooling Summer Recipes

Veggie Sushi Rolls by Nutrition Stripped

This ain’t your average sushi – avocados step in for rice in these veggie-loaded sushi rolls. Easy, refreshing, delicious and ultra nourishing!

Gluten-Free No-Cook Muesli


Gluten-Free No-Cook Muesli by Meghan Telpner (*founder of Academy of Culinary Nutrition)

A raw alternative to granola that only needs 6 ingredients. Eat this on its own as a snack, use it to top your smoothie bowl or chia pudding, or mix it with nuts and dried fruit as a healthy travel snack.

Peach Green Smoothie

Dairy-Free Peach Green Smoothie - Cooling Summer Recipes

Peach Green Smoothie by What the Fork Food Blog

Peach season doesn’t last very long – so make the most of it by using fresh peaches and local, seasonal greens to create this dairy-free smoothie.

Vegan Watermelon Fruit Pizza

Watermelon Pizza

Vegan Watermelon Fruit Pizza by Eating by Elaine

A fun twist on a pizza, with coconut yogurt for the ‘sauce’ and fruit, and whatever else you desire as the toppings (chocolate chips anyone?). A great way to get the kiddos to eat their fruit!

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