Oh, Charleston. How I love you, in so many ways. But in the dead of summer, when your heat index is 105°, you leave something to be desired. Like oxygen. There’s so much moisture in the air that stepping outside and into your sweaty embrace feels like I’m breathing underwater.
I’m not sure how summertime is for you guys – maybe you live in New England, where it stays cooler in the summer with less humidity, or maybe you’re like my sister and you live in Hawaii where it’s 80 degrees year round. But if your hometown is anything like mine, it’s hot right now. And turning on the stove and cooking a big meal is the last thing I’m interested in doing. I want to eat things that are easy, light, and require minimal to no cooking.
Here are 15 easy paleo recipes, from salads to grilling options to fresh and easy desserts that will make you thankful for summer veggie abundance and glad you don’t have to turn on the stove.
1. Baked Eggplant Salad
Truth be told, I’ve never been a big eggplant fan. I’ve made Nom Nom Paleo’s eggplant stacks, and I do like those, but typically I steer clear of it because I don’t enjoy the texture of it. But if you’re growing eggplant in your garden, or looking for an easy and light dish for summertime, this Baked Eggplant Salad from The Delicious Crescent might be just what you’re looking for!
2. Harissa Potato Salad
If you’re not familiar with harissa, it’s chili paste that originates from Tunisia. This easy Harissa Potato Salad from Strength & Sunshine combines sweet potatoes, white potatoes, and a bunch of other veggies with some spices and the harissa to create a really unique flavor for your next summertime cookout or potluck.
3. Southwest Cauliflower Salad
A quick and easy recipe for a Southwestern Cauliflower Salad from Joy Filled Eats using steamed cauliflower, a chipotle pepper purée, and mayo for a creamy-spicy combo. I love recipes like this one in the summertime because the leftovers can be refrigerated and eaten cold, no turning on the stove necessary! Mix it up with a batch of my homemade 5-minute mayo for extra deliciousness. If you’re not familiar with chipotle peppers in adobo sauce, these are what you’re looking for!
4. Healthy Tuna Salad
Apple, bell peppers, and dates in a tuna salad? Um, yes please! I love how unique this Healthy Tuna Salad from Confetti Kitchen is. The flavors look delicious, and there’s no cooking required. My kind of summertime recipe.
5. Pressed Cabbage Salad with Ginger Miso Vinaigrette
I’ve never made pressed vegetables before. The technique involves combining raw veggies and salt and then using pressure on them for a few hours to draw out the moisture and tenderize them. This recipe for Pressed Cabbage Salad from Eating Works does call for a bit of rice to be added, but honestly I would just leave that out – it means less (no) cooking or turning on the stove, and also keeps it paleo!
6. Gluten Free Tabouli Salad
Traditional tabouli salad uses bulgur, a grain – this Gluten Free Tabouli Salad from Avocado Pesto substitutes cauliflower rice to keep it gluten free and paleo. It’s raw, involves no cooking, and comes together in just a few minutes. And if you want to cut down your time even more, just use a bag of pre-riced cauliflower!
7. Summer Squash, Zucchini, and Tomato Salad
With quick easy steamed veggies and raw tomatoes, this Summer Squash, Zucchini and Tomato Salad from Low Carb Yum is a quick and easy dish bursting with summertime flavors. The recipe does call for “stevia packets,” which are not paleo, but I’d recommend subbing either a touch of honey for the added sweetness, or just leaving it out altogether, especially if you’re on Whole30.
8. Cilantro Lime Grilled Shrimp with Pineapple Salsa
Sometimes, when it’s too hot to cook in the kitchen, we like to grill outside. It keeps the inside nice and cool, and we can throw a bunch of stuff on the grill to cook for the week. These Cilantro Lime Grilled Shrimp Skewers from Taste and See look like the perfect summertime recipe. Oh, and they’re topped with a pineapple salsa, which you can make while the skewers are grilling. Summertime perfection.
9. Bloody Mary Steak Kabobs
I don’t drink bloody mary cocktails, for multiple reasons – I don’t like drinking tomato juice, I don’t like eating raw celery, and I’d much rather have a mimosa or a screwdriver with my Sunday brunch! That being said, these Bloody Mary Steak Kabobs from Hungry Hobby have an incredibly unique mix of veggies, everything you would find in a bloody mary all grilled up together. Again, grilling outside is my summertime answer to avoiding indoor cooking. And can we just talk about how perfect her blog name is? After all, being hungry IS my hobby!
10. Sheet Pan Salmon
What can I say, Hungry Hobby has it on point again with her Sheet Pan Salmon. Mixed with summer veggies and roasted on a single pan, this is the definition of an easy summer recipe.
11. Chicken Bacon Ranch Burgers
Remember my Chicken Bacon Ranch Casserole? That one is modeled after one of my favorite pizza flavor combos from a local pizza joint here, but in a much healthier way. Nothing says summertime like a good burger, though, and these Chicken Bacon Ranch Burgers from Nerdy Foodie Mom sound like their seasoning is on point. Add a bit of my homemade ranch dressing (because, say it with me, Sauce is King!) and I think you’ve got a winning combo.
12. “Chickzza” Chicken Pizza
You know how I feel about all things pizza, and this recipe right here has my heart. I’ve heard of “meatza” before, where the crust is made of ground beef. Well this Chicken Crust Pizza from Wanna Bite puts a new twist on that, using chicken for the crust. Now obviously the cheese isn’t paleo, so you can certainly leave it off if you want to, but unless you’re allergic, I can’t imagine wanting to do something like that. All things in moderation, and this is a cheese-exception.
13. Paleo Lemon Curd
Normally, I’m an all things chocolate kind of dessert girl. We have a saying in our house – “fruit in a dessert takes up the space where chocolate could be.” But in summertime, when it’s 105° outside, there’s something about a cold, refreshing, bright dessert like this Paleo Lemon Curd from What the Fork that hits the spot. You’ll need to plan ahead just a bit for this one, as it will need to cool and then set in the fridge, but I have a feeling it will be worth it.
14. Vegan Sweet Potato Chocolate Ice Cream
So I’ve read a lot of paleo ice cream recipes, and even tried a few in my Kitchen Aid mixer ice cream attachment. After freezing, it always ends up icy and not creamy enough for me. I’m thinking this Chocolate Sweet Potato Ice Cream from Rhian’s Recipes might be the answer to my problems. Her recipe calls for coconut “yogurt” but I think you could just use the coconut cream from a can of coconut milk and get the same effect, with the sweet potato adding a bit of sweetness and creaminess at the same time!
15. Berry Cherry Chia Pudding
Last but not least, another “no-cook” summer recipe. I’m a big fan of Danielle Walker’s chocolate chia pudding in her Meals Made Simple cookbook, but this Berry-Cherry Protein Chia Pudding from Easy Cooking with Molly looks like it might give it a run for it’s money. If you’ve never worked with chia seeds before, they basically absorb moisture and make whatever liquid they are in sort of gelatinous. These are the chia seeds I use. This recipe also calls for some protein powder; however, the one she uses is not paleo, as it uses pea protein (a legume) and has sugar in it. If you’re looking to keep it strictly paleo, I’ve used this one in the past and really liked it, and I’ve also heard recently from a few people that they like this one.
Do you have a favorite summertime n0-cook or easy paleo recipe that you love? Share it with everyone in the comments below!