Five Years! ✹ A Roundup of No-Heat Dishes for Summer’s Swelter

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OMG, is it scorching hot where you live? Are the humidex levels crazy high? It’s been a long, hot summer where I live in Southwestern Ontario, and we’ve had little relief in the way of rain and cooler temperatures. I don’t know about you, but in conditions like these I’m not much motivated to cook, let alone turn on the stove.

This seems a fitting time for roundup of recipes for food that’s cool (or cold) and refreshing, and requires no heat to make. The only exception here is the panna cotta section, because panna cotta is just so wonderful that it’s worth the short time on the stovetop to make it. Oh, and some toast. Otherwise, no heat is required to make this selection of dishes that will nourish and cool you during these dog days of summer.

This month just happens to mark five years of writing this blog for me. When I started, originally under the name of Life Through the Kitchen Window, I didn’t have a clue what I was doing! Today I have much more of a clue, but there’s still so much to learn and improve upon — each recipe, post and photo provides an opportunity for me to grow. I love everything about this endeavour, especially the wonderful people who have read the blog and provided support and encouragement along the way, whether fellow food bloggers from across Canada or afar, or folks just looking for something to make for dinner. Thanks to all of you! I’m eager to see what the years ahead have in store for Urban Cottage Life.


Southwest Shaved Cauliflower Salad | © Life Through the Kitchen Window

While I love to incorporate pulses and grains into salads to add important nutrients like protein, they do need to be cooked. It’s great if you have them in the freezer already, but if not here’s a selection of salad recipes that don’t require any cooking. If you happen to have any pre-made or canned proteins around, like poached chicken cut into strips and frozen, leftover grilled steak cut, a can of tuna or salmon, or the afore-mentioned pre-cooked pulses, by all means add them to any of the salads below to make them more of a complete meal. Not that there’s anything wrong with a massive green salad for supper once in a while, says I.

Southwest Shaved Cauliflower Salad

Pickled Strawberry, Goat Cheese & Honeyed Walnut Salad — if you don’t have pickled strawberries n the fridge, just substitute fresh strawberries and make a regular vinaigrette

Parsley & Kale Salad with Pomegranate

Black Bean Salad — here’s a tip I learned from the incomparable  Mairlyn Smith: keep your cans of beans in the fridge to make a summer bean salad even more refreshing!

Black Bean Salad with Grilled Corn & Grilled Peaches — again, when the humidex is around 40, who wants to grill? Just use fresh corn and peaches in this recipe

Summer Jumble Salad

Tomato & Avocado Salad with Avocado Lime Vinaigrette

Brussels Sprout Salad (okay, sprouts aren’t a summer vegetable; can you even find them now? If you do, this would be a great summer salad!)

Finally the Bride Celery Salad

Fennel Orange Salad

Ginger-Scented Celery, Fennel & Golden Beet Slaw

Quick-Pickled Beets


There’s only one chilled soup on the blog, but it’s unique and a real conversation starter!

Chilled Thai-Inspired Watermelon Soup | ©

Thai-Inspired Chilled Watermelon Soup

Appetizers & Snacks

Avocado Toast |©

Guacamole — my recipe for chunky guacamole makes for a great appetizer or snack (think Grey Cup!), but when you think about it, it’s really like a salad

Avocado Hummus

Avocado Toast — oops, I’m bending the rules (it’s great to be boss around here), but I don’t think making toast constitutes “heating up the kitchen”!

Chocolate Almond Spread — since you were making toast for the avocado anyway …

No-Cook Puddings

Oh, creamy rich desserts are a passion of mine. I could eat chocolate pudding until the cows come home, but many puddings need to be cooked on the stove. Here’s a selection of puddings that require no heat to make, and are so nutritious that they not only make a great dessert but could pass for breakfast, too!

Strawberry Chia Seed Pudding | © Urban Cottage

Raspberry Chia Seed Pudding — you can substitute strawberries or other fruit too

Chocolate Avocado Mousse

Just a Brief Time on the Stove Puddings

I’m indulging in yet another bit of rule breaking by including these panna cotta and posset recipes (variations on what I think of as traditional puddings) because they take very little time on the stove top. I enjoy them so much that I think it’s worth just a little more heat in the kitchen. My tip: make them first thing in the morning before it’s too hot out, to enjoy chilled later in the day.

Milk Chocolate Panna Cotta | ©


Lemon Posset

Panna Cotta with Blackberry Coulis

Milk Chocolate Panna Cotta

Strawberry Panna Cotta


Nutritious smoothies are a popular choice for breakfast and lunch, even more so when it’s too hot to turn on anything but the blender.

Peach Ginger Smoothie |©

Homemade Almond Milk — this is the base for many of my smoothies, although you could use a purchased almond milk too

Date and Almond Smoothie

Raspberry Cacao Smoothie

Peach Ginger Smoothie

Iced Strawberry Smoothie

Frozen Treats

Who doesn’t love a dish of (n)ice cream or a frozen pop at the height of summer? (Or anytime, really?)

Strawberry Mint Nice Cream | © Urban Cottage

Blueberry Sweet Cherry Nice Cream

Strawberry Mint Nice Cream

Pineapple Mint Nice Cream

Sweet Cherry Nice Cream

Watermelon Lime Cutie Pops

Strawberry Yogourt Smoothie Pops

So there you go, people, more than 30 recipes to help you — and your kitchen — stay cool. Enjoy!


  1. I wish… here (near Oslo, Norway) we’ve had a grand total of two summery weeks. Split into three. It’s been way too nippy and windy and wet. I can remember not wanting anything but salad a few days, but also insisting on salad – because it’s summer, dammit! 😉

  2. What a great round-up, Mar, just perfect for the weather we’ve been experiencing. You’re right, too, about enjoying (n)ice cream no matter the temp outdoors. Frozen treats are too good to restrict them to the summer months only. Love, too, chia puddings and couldn’t begin to guess how many mornings I’ve enjoyed one to start my day, Never have pureed them, however. Thanks for the tip. Here’s wishing us all a fantastic September!

    • Thanks, John. I’m so behind on my blog reading and even responding to comments! Another move took over everything, it seems, but I can’t complain too much as I’m on vacay right now. As for that pureed chia seed pudding, I have to say I prefer it just the regular way, but it worked for my daughter!

  3. I’m sorry that I missed your five year anniversary, congratulations on such a fine achievement. This is a nice roundup of summer foods. Even though it is almost at an end, here in Florida it will feel like summer for sometime to come.

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