Let’s face it: We all get a little bit lazier around summertime, especially when it comes to cooking in 90 degree weather. So for those days when turning on the stove or—heaven forbid the oven—sounds like a sweat-filled nightmare, we’ve got recipe ideas that can be put together without using any heat (or fully outdoors). Plus: they’re hearty enough to satisfy, and—as you might’ve guessed—incorporate plenty of cheese.
For when you’re entertaining during a heatwave
Stuffed olives are a good-for-you crowd pleaser. And this recipe is the easiest way to look like the host-with-the-most while putting in very little effort.
Medjool dates, creamy blue cheese, and hazelnuts. It doesn’t get much easier (or more decadent) than that.
Most creamy dips that we know and love require baking time. Not this one! This savory dip comes together with whole-milk yogurt (or whatever you prefer) and a variety of spices you probably already have on hand. Just add fresh crudité.
If you’re still reserving paté for special occasions, you’re missing out. There are countless delicious varieties on the market (including vegetarian options!) that pair wonderfully with cheese. No cooking required.
For when you’re craving something fresh
Rich in Mediterranean flavors like high-quality tuna, fresh green olives, and chunks of Manchego cheese, this recipe will become a go-to for when you’re craving something fresh, healthy, and delicious.
Crumbled queso fresco rounds out this salad that pairs sweet, salty, and bright acidic flavors. Perfect for a side dish at a barbecue or as a light lunch with extra country ham.
BBQ season means lots of grilled leftovers all season long. Don’t let all that meat sit in the fridge—steak salad makes for a hearty lunch and is a waste-free option for leftover cooked steak. Don’t forget to add some fresh goat’s or sheep’s milk cheese to the mix.
It’s just not summer without Caprese salad. This recipe is a tried-and-true favorite, comes together quickly, and requires few ingredients. (Summer tip: Make extra pesto at the beginning of the season to keep it on hand all season long.)
For when you want to bring the kitchen outside
A simple sammie for summer, this meal is ultra-fresh, filled with veggies, and is a snap to put together once the zucchini has been prepared. Add cured meat like salami or prosciutto if you’re looking for extra protein.
If you’re going to have a cheeseburger, you might as well pile it high. This hefty burger is stacked with three types of melty cheese, prosciutto, and board-friendly accoutrements—offering all the best parts of cheese boards and burgers.
Each of these five cheesy flatbread recipes are simple to make (use easy homemade dough or store-bought naan as the base) and exploding with flavor from ripe fruits and vegetables, bright sauces, and myriad cheeses.
Halloumi on the grill is one of the best parts of summer, and this recipe elevates that magic. Sherry vinegar and mushroom powder add a meaty umami element, while the honey imparts a bit of earthy sweetness. Pair it with fresh figs and roasted walnuts as a starter or with an after-dinner cheese course.
For when preheating the oven is not in the cards
If you have an ice cream maker, you’ll want to bookmark this recipe. Flavored simply with lemon juice and zest, this ice cream has a slightly thicker texture thanks to its mascarpone base. It’s equally creamy and refreshing, making it the perfect palate cleanser after a big meal.
Remember those whackable chocolate oranges you ate as a kid? Imagine that, as a buttery spread. This recipe is super easy to put together and requires zero baking time. Try it on cookies, toast, or right off the spoon.
Prefer your dessert with a little extra cheese? This pairing of strawberries and feta is striking yet simple. A light sugar syrup, infused with fresh mint and vanilla, lends the berries just the oomph needed to stand up to the zesty cheese.
And when all else fails…
The best way to beat the summer heat is with (you guessed it) a cheese plate—For breakfast, lunch, dinner, (and) or dessert. They’re crowd-pleasers, require zero cooking time, and are incredibly versatile to cater to your guests. Browse the many cheese plates we’ve curated over the years here and don’t be afraid to experiment on your own.