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Even if you go into the week with the best intentions, it’s likely that you’ll finish at least one day way too tired—or, if we’re being honest, not in the mood—to cook dinner. Takeout and make-ahead freezer meals (if you have the forethought to prep them, of course) are always good options, but it’s also great to have an arsenal of quick, no-cook dinner recipes to pull from in times of need. Because sometimes it just takes too much effort to even put some water in a pot and make a bowl of ramen. It might sound a tad dramatic, but it’s definitely true.
Of course, no-cook dinner recipes do require a bit of grocery prep—considering they often call upon pre-cooked staples like rotisserie chicken, canned fish and bread products—but honestly, many of the items in the 17 recipes below are made from items you already have in your fridge or pantry. In general, though, it’s definitely worth stocking at least a few of these in your kitchen at all times. After all, the possibilities for using them are pretty endless—even beyond quick, no-cook recipes.
Browse the recipes below for some major no-cook dinner inspiration. There’s everything from raw salads to easy sandwiches, and nothing takes much time or skill to make. So even those who have only once (or maybe twice) stepped foot in the kitchen to do more than grab a fork can whip up something spectacular for dinner. Whether you’re planning for a busy week or trying to cut back on your takeout spending, these simple recipes are here to help.
1. Salmon & Kale Caesar Wraps
Chicken Caesar wraps are great, but these kale and salmon wraps (made with canned salmon!) are a nice way to switch it up.
2. Avocado Toast With Smoked Salmon
You’ll need to fire up your toaster for this tasty avocado and smoked salmon on toast option, but that hardly counts as cooking.
3. Chinese Chicken Salad Spring Rolls
Thanks to rotisserie chicken and easy-to-soak rice paper wraps, these fresh spring rolls don’t require any heat.
4. No-Cook Burrito Bowls
These no-cook burrito bowls are an obvious choice for packed lunches, but they also make a great quick dinner.
5. Cold Lentil Salad With Cucumbers and Olives
This salty, crunchy lentil salad not only makes a great party side dish, it also works as an easy no-cook dinner.
6. Black Bean Succotash
Corn and beans might seem too simple to be satisfying, but one bite of this black bean succotash and you’ll know otherwise.
7. Quinoa Tabouleh With Tahini Dressing
The key to this quinoa salad is the salty, creamy, practically drinkable tahini dressing.
8. Rainbow Veggie Spring Rolls
What makes these colorful veggie spring rolls so fantastic is the easy, nutty dipping sauce that goes alongside them.
9. Greek-Style Tuna Salad
Fans of Greek salad will love this variation, which is bulked up with canned tuna.
10. White Bean Kale Salad With Tahini Dressing
You don’t need to add meat to turn a salad into a filling meal. Instead, this kale salad calls for protein- and fiber-rich white beans, plus a creamy seed-based dressing.
11. White Bean Caprese
Pro tip: This caprese salad tastes great alongside a nice chunk of baguette.
12. Beet Noodle, Pea and Arugula Salad with Lemon-Garlic Tahini Sauce
No-cook doesn’t always need to mean simple. If you want to go the extra mile (without turning on your stove or oven), this colorful, multi-texture vegetable salad is worth a try.
13. Crunchy Ramen Salad
Ever tried using dry ramen noodles as salad croutons? No? Give it a shot!
14. Easy Chicken Gyros
Nobody will ever know that these chicken gyros (made with shredded rotisserie chicken) are no-cook.
15. Healthy Buffalo Chicken Sandwiches
Trade greasy, messy Buffalo wings for a simple, equally flavorful buffalo chicken sandwich.
16. Raw Kale and Brussels Sprout Salad With Tahini Dressing
If you’re sick of roasting Brussels sprouts, go an alternative route with this raw salad. You’ll shave the sprouts small enough that they’ll soften a bit when dressed.
17. Raw Pad Thai With Spicy Almond Sauce
This zoodle-based Pad Thai is great for days when you’re craving something crunchy and refreshing.
A version of this article was originally published on September 3, 2019.