No-Cook July #2:  two quick summer salads to keep you cool and satisfied

No-Cook July #2: two quick summer salads to keep you cool and satisfied

cool as a cucumber, chickpea, and avocado saladI don’t know about the rest of y’all, but it has been HOT in NYC this week, making me grateful I committed to sharing no-cook recipes this month! I decided to share 2 recipes this week, because they are so ridiculously easy I felt like I was cheating you by only sharing one. These two salads have been keeping me cool and full, and they come together in a flash. They are deceptively simple; you won’t believe something so easy can taste so good. But they do, they really do!

It’s funny, I was reading Deb Perelman’s musing on the same issue. I was looking for a zucchini recipe, and, as I often do, checked Smitten Kitchen first. I found this incredibly quick-and-easy recipe for sauteed zucchini with almonds, and Deb started off by apologizing for withholding the recipe for so long from her readers. But she, like me, felt that it was simply too simple to warrant a blog post. Perhaps we feel that other cooks will be insulted if we suggest combining so few ingredients? When I really think about it, I realize how silly that is. Often, the recipes that are the simplest end up being my favorites, the ones I turn to again and again. It might just be because they’re easier to remember, or because I am more likely to have the ingredients on hand. But it’s also probably because they’re damn tasty. So, in taking a leaf from Deb’s book, I’ll share my 2 new favorite summer recipes, both as simple as they can be.

Minty-Fresh Carrot Salad

Minty-fresh carrot salad

from Moosewood Restaurant Favorites (my new favorite cookbook)
Time: 5 minutes                 Serves 4-6
88 calories; 4g fat; 15g carbs; 1g protein (based on 4 servings)

Minty-fresh carrot saladIngredients

  • 3 T fresh lemon juice
  • 1 T honey
  • 1 T olive oil
  • ½ tsp ground coriander
  • 3 cups (1 lb) shredded carrots*
  • 2 T minced fresh mint leaves
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • chopped fresh herbs (parsley, dill, cilantro – whatever you have)

Variations: add toasted nuts, dried fruits, even feta – this recipe is versatile!

*I buy a pre-shredded bag of carrots. Please don’t slave away over your food processer/grater/mandolin – who has time for that?


In a bowl, whisk together the lemon juice, honey, oil, and coriander. Dump in the carrots and toss so they are coated. Add in the mint, any other herbs, and salt/pepper to taste.

That’s it. Really truly. You should probably let the flavors mingle a bit in the fridge before serving, but no biggie if not. This also keeps well for a few days in the fridge.

Clearly this is a side, not a main. I would suggest serving with couscous, and maybe some rotisserie chicken for an easy summer meal.

Cool-as-a-cucumber, chickpea, and avocado salad

cool as a cucumber, chickpea, and avocado salad

adapted slightly from Real Simple
Time: 10 minutes                 Serves 4 as a side, 2 as a main
232 calories; 11g fat; 29g carbs; 8g protein (based on 4 servings)

It’s funny, when I first tried this recipe, I was most drawn to the coriander roasted chicken it is meant to be served with. But when I made it, the chicken was only so-so, while the salad rocked my world. I doubled the cucumber and halved the oil to make it more filling and less caloric, and do not regret the decisions one bit. With hearty, protein-filled chickpeas, a double portion could easily be a main dish, perfect for lunch on a hot day.


  • I like to leave a little skin on my cucumber.
    I like to leave a little skin on my cucumber.

    2 medium cucumbers, peeled, seeded, and chopped

  • 1 can chickpeas, rinsed and drained
  • 1 avocado, diced
  • 1 shallot (minced) or red onion (diced)
  • 1 T olive oil
  • 2 T rice vinegar
  • ¼ cup fresh mint leaves, thinly sliced
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • Optional: feta or other fresh herbs would be delicious additions. I might add some dill next time…


Combine everything in a bowl. Yes, that’s it.

Serve immediately or let flavors mingle for an hour, but no longer – this is not a salad that keeps all that well, strangely enough. It might be all the water from the cucumbers or the mushiness of the avocado, but it gets soggy if it sits too long.


A note on the beautiful bowls in these photos

Did you notice the gorgeous pottery I’m serving my salads in? It just so happens they are hand-crafted by one of my dear friends, Patti Goldstein of New Martinsville WV. If you are interested in her work, drop me a line or a comment and I’ll connect you!

functional handmade pottery by Patti Goldstein
functional handmade pottery by Patti Goldstein

2 comments on “No-Cook July #2: two quick summer salads to keep you cool and satisfiedAdd yours →

  1. My friend Remi led me to your blog – I have been trying out your recipes and this salad is amazing! I have made it 4 times in 2 weeks. Healthy, flavorful, simple! Thanks!

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