Let's face it, turning on the oven is the last thing you want to do during the middle of a heat wave, but it can also be an essential step in your lunch or dinner-making process. Instead of making your stifling apartment or dorm room even hotter, opt for a no-bake, no-cook meal. There are so many meals that can be made without an oven, stovetop, or microwave. Think bigger than ants on a log or peanut butter-dipped rice cakes!

The recipe ideas in this article are the perfect solution to your hot summer meltdown. And while these recipes are all about beating the summer heat, they can easily be made anytime you're too busy, or too lazy, to cook. Added bonus: since none of these recipes require a full-on kitchen, apartment and dorm undergrads can rejoice together! So if you're reading this with little more than a mixing bowl, spatula, and measuring cups, then you're in luck!


Salads are the quintessential no-cook meal and for good reason. They can quickly become a complete meal with protein-filled pantry staples like black beans or green peas. Leftovers also make for a great addition to any salad. Essentially any leftover ingredients you have can be a part of your salad. Still have that quarter of a red onion on its way out of your fridge? Cut it up and add it to your salad! Have some extra cheese on hand? Toss it in! Remember: anything can be a salad if you believe in yourself.  


While pesto may seem like just another condiment or sauce, it can be both filling and delicious. Packed with herbs and flavor, it's the perfect addition to any pasta, salad, or chicken. If you have some wilting herbs (the ones you let sit in your fridge for almost a month), olive oil, parmesan, and a handful of nuts, then you have pesto! If you want to go caveman style feel free to make your pesto using a mortar and pestle. Otherwise, join the twenty-first century and make pesto in your blender!


Yes, you can easily buy a three-dollar container of hummus from the grocery store. But making your own from scratch is an activity you should try at least once in your life. Much like making pesto, making hummus is both fast and easy. You'll be left with the creamy dip you know and love.

Caprese Toast/Salad

Still don't know how to pronounce this Italian salad? Same. But don't let that discourage you from making your own Caprese salad at home. If you have tomatoes, fresh mozzarella, basil, and balsamic vinegar then you have your own taste of Italy without even leaving your house. Let this be the recipe you make as all your friends are booking tickets to Italy. 

Tuna Salad Sandwich

Canned tuna and tuna salad often get a bad rep. While you may be scared to try a fish that's sitting in an airtight can, just know that it is preserved and is safe to eat. Putting your canned fish feelings aside, canned tuna is a super cheap and valuable resource that you need in your college kitchen. Tuna salad makes for a great tuna sandwich. If a tuna sandwich isn't your thing, try topping rice cakes with tuna salad or dipping chips into your tuna salad.  

Dairy Parfait

I call this no-cook meal idea a dairy parfait, rather than a yogurt parfait because not all parfaits have to be made with yogurt! Aside from the countless dairy-free yogurts out there, (think coconut, cashew, soy, etc) parfaits can also be made from other dairy products. Try swapping in some cottage cheese, or even ricotta cheese to your next parfait. Since ricotta cheese has a high-fat content, a little can go a long way. On top of your creamy and protein-filled base, parfaits typically include fruit and granola, followed by more of your base and stacked in layers from the bottom to the top of a jar. Always make sure to add your fruit directly to your base to avoid your granola from getting soggy (because there are few things worse than soggy granola).