Let’s face it. Sometimes cooking just isn’t an appealing option.
Whether it’s the middle of Summer and you’re sweltering through a week of 35+C (95+F) days. Or you’re under pressure at work and getting home late and starving night after night.
Or maybe you’re on holidays and keen to take a break from the stove as well as everything else.
Today I want to share with you some of my favourite un-cooking meals. Dishes that don’t require any heat, just assembling and the odd spot of chopping or shaving.
12 meals to ‘assemble’ when you can’t be bothered to cook
1. carrot ribbon salad with pesto
I’d forgotten about this until recently. Just love the combo of crunchy carrot ribbons with flavour-packed pesto.
2. washing up free salad
For days when you definitely don’t want to be doing dishes.
3. cabbage & crispy noodle salad
Lovely little dish that makes the most of the crunch and convenience of commercial ‘fried noodles’.
4. tuna & white bean salad
An oldie but a goodie. I made this last week and was reminded again just how good the simple things can be.
5. tomato, almond & pesto salad
A great little lunch you can even make at work.
6. mixed sprout & avocado salad
Another favourite work lunch.
7. winter ‘slaw
A great little salad that makes the most of two of my favourite Winter veg – brussels sprouts and cabbage.
8. raw broccoli salad
A super-fresh and crunchy favourite of finely chopped raw broccoli teamed with rich avocado. So good.
9. roast beet, lentil & balsamic onion salad
This recipe is an all-time favourite. The only thing is, if you want to keep it in the ‘assemble’ rather than cooking category you’ll need to use canned lentils and shop-bought cooked beets and onions.
10. a few of my favourite things salad
Aka shaved beet and asparagus salad with goats cheese. A brilliant example of where finely slicing vegetables can remove the need to cook.
11. coronation cauliflower
A more unusual dish of finely chopped raw cauliflower tossed in a creamy dressing spiked with a little curry powder. Served with coriander leaves (cilantro) for freshness and almonds for crunch and to make it more substantial.
12. toblerone ice cream
Just because you don’t feel like cooking, doesn’t mean you don’t need something sweet! Also check out this post for 7 other deadly ‘no bake’ desserts.
green chickpea salad
Canned chickpeas are one of my go-to items when I’m looking for something quick. This salad started out without the chilli or greens but has evolved over the years.
The chilli is very much optional but adds some lovely warmth.
This is a pretty forgiving salad and will keep in the fridge for a few hours or even overnight without any ill effects – so it’s great for work lunches or picnics.
1 small red chilli, finely diced, optional
1 tablespoon sherry vinegar or lemon juice
1 can chickpeas (400g / 14oz), drained
1/2 bunch cavalo nero, kale, spinch or silverbeet (chard)
2 handfuls finely grated parmesan
1. Combine chilli, if using, with vinegar or lemon juice and 3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil. Season.
2. Toss chickpeas in the dressing.
3. Slice cavalo nero or kale super finely into shreds, removing the stem if it is too coarse. Toss the shredded greens into the salad with the parmesan.
summery – replace the cavalo nero or kale with a punnet of cherry tomatoes and a few handfuls of torn basil leaves.
dairy-free / vegan – replace the parmesan with finely grated brazil nuts or sliced almonds.
lighter – replace the cavalo nero or kale with a few handfuls of rocket (arugula) or baby spinach.
legume-free – replace the chickpeas with 2-3 hard boiled eggs.
carnivore – serve with finely sliced proscuitto draped over the top.
chicken salad – add in some shredded BBQ chicken as well as or instead of the chickpeas.
other legumes – replace the chickpeas with other cooked or canned legumes such as lentils, white beans, black beans, split peas or butter beans. You’ll need about 250g (9oz) of cooked legumes.
warm salad - heat chickpeas in a little olive oil in a pan or the microwave before tossing in the salad.
video version of the recipe