By Wendy Ruopp
No-cook dinners? I never cook dinner. You might find it hard to believe, considering I started working at EatingWell in 1990, but I don’t cook. I can cook—I just don’t have to. I’m not bragging (well, maybe a little); I fully appreciate how lucky I am to have married someone who can manage menu planning, grocery shopping and meal prep way better than I ever could. When I try to feed the family, it’s often a recipe for disaster, or at least disappointment. First I get sidetracked deciding what to make. Then I underestimate how long everything will take and can never get everything on the table at the same time. When I realize there isn’t quite enough of what I’ve managed to produce to go around, it’s too late. It just makes sense to let him do dinner while I stick to what I’m good at: pouring the wine.
For this issue, though, the Test Kitchen has cleverly trumped my excuses by removing cooking from the equation altogether. These five recipes can be made—in under 25 minutes—by anyone wielding nothing more than a sharp knife and a good attitude. There’s nothing a hungry family has to wait around for: Roll up an easy Creamy Avocado & White Bean Wrap and dinner is ready. Smoky Ham & Corn Salad and Chopped Greek Salad with Chicken take advantage of the summer-fresh vegetables that are falling over themselves to be part of your meals at this time of year. Toss the ingredients in a big bowl: done. You can take a mini European vacation by serving Mediterranean Tuna Antipasto Salad or Italian Vegetable Hoagies. (I don’t think they call them “hoagies” in Italy, but you can still imagine you’re enjoying this savory baguette at a coastal café.)
By the end of the week, you won’t have used the stove once. We can all drink to that.
MONDAY: Creamy Avocado & White Bean Wrap—White beans mashed with ripe avocado and blended with sharp Cheddar and onion makes an incredibly rich, flavorful filling for this wrap. The tangy, spicy slaw adds crunch. A pinch (or more) of ground chipotle pepper and an extra dash of cider vinegar can be used in place of the canned chipotles in adobo sauce. Serve with tortilla chips, salsa and Tecate beer.
TUESDAY: Smoky Ham & Corn Salad—Fresh corn, diced deli ham and crunchy croutons are tossed with a smoky, creamy tomato dressing in this light summer salad. Serve with a crisp glass of rosé and sliced melon.
WEDNESDAY: Mediterranean Tuna Antipasto Salad—Packed with protein and fiber, this tuna and bean salad is ready in a flash. Serve with warm, crusty bread or pack it in a pita for a sandwich. For an extra kick, add a pinch of crushed red pepper or cayenne.
THURSDAY: Chopped Greek Salad with Chicken—Chicken turns this Greek-inspired salad into a substantial main course. Feel free to substitute other chopped fresh vegetables, such as broccoli or bell peppers, for the tomatoes or cucumber. Use leftover chicken, store-roasted chicken or quickly poach a couple boneless, skinless chicken breasts while you prepare the rest of the salad. Serve with pita bread and hummus.
FRIDAY: Italian Vegetable Hoagies—This delightfully easy, and somewhat messy, sandwich packs a punch with sweet balsamic vinegar, artichoke hearts, red onion, provolone cheese and zesty pepperoncini. We love it for dinner as well as lunch. If you’re packing the hoagies to take along, keep the ingredients separate and assemble right before eating to avoid soggy bread. Serve with tomato and cucumber salad.