Summer is the perfect time for picnics in the park and BBQs in the backyard. But nothing’s worse than cooking and eating when it’s a bajillion degrees outside. So to save yourself from sweating through the heat, whip up these cool and refreshing yet filling dishes to keep yourself cool as a cucumber.

1. Oriental Ramen Salad

cold dishes

Photo courtesy of Austin Allem

This simple salad uses uncooked ramen as the star ingredient, and I promise it’s way better than it sounds. This salad can be enjoyed two ways: fresh, for a nice crunchy salad, or the following day, which allows the ramen to soak up the delicious dressing. Recipe here.

2. Hummus Salad Platter

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Photo by Krysten Dorfman

Salad always seems to have a bad rep, but that doesn’t mean it can’t be delicious. This refreshing hummus, chicken and corn salad platter takes less than 20 minutes to prepare, it tastes really good, and it’ll actually fill you up. Make it like this.

3. Fruity Salsa

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Photo by Santina Renzi

Sweet salsa is the perfect app whip up this summer because it’s so good and is so easy to make. And might I add it’s super healthy, too. Get the recipe here.

4. Yogurt & Honey Dip with Apple Slices

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Photo by Kathryn Stouffer

This light yet creamy yogurt dip is a great dish to share with friends. It’s sure to satisfy any sweet tooth cravings and it’s a quick and easy breakfast, too. Get the recipe here.

5. Quinoa Salad

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Photo by Spoon University

This bright red summer salad is the perfect meal for those hot summer days when you just can’t stand anything from the grill. It’s cool, refreshing, healthy and filling – what more could you ask for? Make it like this.

6. Sushi

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Photo by Lily Lou

Sushi is one of my personal favorites all year round, and the sushi burrito takes this traditional meal to a whole new level. DIY using this recipe.

7. Corn Salad

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Photo by Wallis Linker

Nothing screams summer like some fresh Jersey corn. And instead of gnawing on a hot cob, try this cold and delicioso Mexican-inspired salad. Recipe here.

8. Gazpacho

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Photo by Piril Dobrucali

Gazpacho is chilled tomato soup that’s perfect for a hot summer day. It doesn’t require any cooking, which means more time in the sunshine and less time in the kitchen. To create this refreshing, nutritious meal in less than 10 minutes use this recipe.

9. Peanut Sesame Noodles

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Photo by Julia Liang

Cold sesame noodles are another one of my all-time favorites. This dish is super easy to make and it’s packed with vitamin C, fiber and protein. Get the recipe here.

10. Strawberry Peach Guacamole

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Photo by Natalie Cantave

I don’t know about you, but I can make a meal out of chips and guac. And the fresh, fruity take on this just pushes it up a notch. It’s insanely easy to make, guaranteed to impress, and is perfect for summer barbecues or a midday snack. Find the recipe here.

11. Inarizushi

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Photo by Eva Chen

Ina-whaa? Don’t worry if you can’t pronounce inarizushi, it’s basically just cold rice wrapped in tofu skin and it’s extremely good. The best part about this is that you can add all sorts of ingredients to the rice base depending on your personal taste. Here’s how.

12. Watermelon, Mint & Feta Salad

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Photo by Tiare Brown

This is a super simple and refreshing way you can reinvent the juiciest fruit out there. And, really, what’s summer without watermelon? Make it like this.

13. Mango Salsa

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Photo by Steven Baboun

A unique twist on the traditional chips and salsa, this addictive and healthy alternative is the perfect mix of sweet ‘n spicy. Find the recipe here.

14. Ham & Pickle Pinwheels

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Photo by Elizabeth Layman

This is a super unique finger food that all meat eaters will love. The sour pickles combined with the ham and thick cream cheese is just delectable. Sounds kinda gross, but tastes good. Recipe here.

15. Bruschetta

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Photo by Yair Sakols

Bread and tomatoes sound pretty boring, but when you whip it up like this, you just won’t be able to pass it up. Find the recipe here.

16. Marinated Olives

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Photo by Charlotte Hull

If you’re a fan of olives, now you can make ’em yourself with a mix of citrus, thyme, coriander, chili, bay leaves and garlic. They’re super easy to make, keep well in the fridge and show well at parties. Recipe here.

17. Black Bean Dip

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Photo by Kathryn Stouffer

If you never really liked hummus, this is a great alternative. It’s a flavorful, salty and smooth creation that’ll fill you up with protein and fiber. Pair it with sweet potato chips or tortilla chips and you’ll be in love. Make it like this.

18. Healthy Chicken Salad

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Photo by Lauren Feld

Traditional chicken salad is extremely high in fat and calories cause it’s loaded with mayo,. But this recipe ditches the mayo and uses the healthy fats of avocado and the creaminess of Greek yogurt to recreate an old classic with a healthy twist. Recipe here.

19. Buddha Bowl

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Photo by Hannah Cather

A Buddha bowl is a meal when the bowl you’re eating from is so full that it looks like a “rounded belly,” similar to Buddha’s. You also have to include three ingredient requirements: veggies or fruits, a starch and a protein. For more on the Buddha bowl, click here.

20. Quinoa and Edamame Salad

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Photos by Ashley Crompton

Here’s how to make a filling yet light summer dish that’s good for you and doesn’t taste like a dirty old tree branch. Get the recipe here.

21. Apricot, Goat Cheese & Almond Bites

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Photo by Aarthi Chezian

The sweetness of the apricot, the creaminess of the goat cheese, the crunch and salt of the almonds, and the tangy umami of the balsamic vinegar create the perfect cool and poppable bite that won’t wreck your diet. Make it like this.