Baby Care

6 Healthy Recipes for When It’s Too Hot to Use the Oven

When it’s hot in Seattle — think record-setting heat plus limited AC access — the last thing you want to do is fire up your oven and turn your home from an already sweltering sauna to a full-on furnace.  

If you’re sticky, sweaty and fast approaching hangry, UW Medicine’s dietitians recommend these recipes for delicious, nutritious meals that don’t require an oven.  

Quick and easy meals (less than 30-minute prep) 

Rice bowl with salmon or sardines 

“I like this meal because it’s easy, doesn’t require a recipe, and it’s delicious,” says Kristi Peterson, a dietitian at UW Medicine Primary Care. “I opt for canned salmon with the bones and skin, which provides a dairy free-source of calcium from the bones and collagen from the skin and bones. If you’re worried about the bones in canned salmon and sardines, let me ease those concerns — the canning process softens them so you can eat them without noticing!”  

More reasons to love this dish? Sardines and salmon are sources of omega-3 fats, which boost heart health and may support cognitive function, including memory, Peterson says.


  • Rice of choice
  • Canned or leftover salmon or sardines
  • Low sodium soy sauce or tamari

Extra additions: sesame seeds, avocado slices, kimchi or seaweed snack packs. “These toppings are optional but are the cherry on top and provide a natural source of probiotics from the kimchi and a source of iodine — important for thyroid function —  from the seaweed,” Peterson says. 


  • Place salmon and rice in a bowl. 
  • Use a fork to press/flake the salmon into the rice until evenly mixed.  
  • Drizzle with soy sauce.  
  • Top with any extra additions and serve. 

Tips: Use microwavable or frozen rice pouch for a faster meal or steam a bag of frozen edamame to add in some additional fiber. 

Recipe and recommendations from Kristi Peterson, dietitian at UW Medicine Primary Care. 

Hearty dinner salad  

Don’t knock a dinner salad until you’ve tried it. Think of this as a build-your-own adventure dish that you can toss together using leftover ingredients you have on hand. 

“I usually use vegetables that are in my fridge or sometimes summer fruit,” says Karen Conger, a dietitian at Harborview Medical Center.  


  • Mix of greens or cabbage 
  • Vegetables  
  • Pumpkin seeds or nuts for crunch 
  • Protein: grilled chicken or salmon, boiled eggs or beans 
  • Optional: pre-cooked grain or grilled sourdough bread  

Directions: Top a bed of greens with your veggies, protein, nuts and a favorite dressing. Mix together and serve with bread, if desired.  

Recipe and recommendations from Karen Conger, registered dietitian at Harborview Medical Center. 

Ginger peanut cups or noodles  

“So many options! Since the tofu doesn’t require cooking, this meal can be made without turning on a stove or oven. For a completely no-cook meal, opt for butter lettuce leaf cups,” Peterson says.  

Alternatives include soba noodles (gluten-free and fibrous) and rice noodles (only require soaking before they’re ready to go). You also get to add in your favorite veggies. The more colors you include, the greater the antioxidants, Peterson says.     


  • Baked tofu, flavor of choice 
  • 3 or more veggies of choice (Peterson likes bell peppers, green onions, purple cabbage and shredded carrots) 
  • Butter lettuce or gluten-free noodles of choice 
  • Ginger peanut sauce 


  • Slice the tofu into strips or cubes. 
  • Slice, chop or shred the vegetables. 
  • Make or buy ginger peanut sauce. 

Tips: If you have extra sauce, you can add water to thin it into a dressing, use it as a dip for raw veggies or add it to a rice/quinoa bowl. For gluten free sauce, look for peanut sauces with tamari instead of soy sauce.   

Recipe and recommendations from Kristi Peterson, dietitian at UW Medicine Primary Care. 

Power bowl dinner  

Easy, tasty and vegan and gluten-free? Yes, please. This meal is all about including your favorite flavors all in one simple-to-make dish. Add in a mix of (gluten-free) grain, protein, fruits or veggies and dressing and you’ve got yourself a meal.  


  • Grain of your choice, such as quinoa or rice 
  • Protein: tofu, tempeh or beans 
  • Veggies: whatever you have in your fridge (Conger recommends leafy greens or cabbage) 
  • Nuts or seeds for crunch 


  • Add grain first to everyone’s bowl. 
  • Layer the other ingredients on top. 
  • Drizzle with a little bit of dressing and some chopped herbs and green onion. 

Tips: Toss your grain in a little bit of dressing for added flavor or buy flavored tofu and tempeh.  

Recipe and recommendations from Karen Conger, registered dietitian at Harborview Medical Center. 

Summer-flavors: grilled salmon, asparagus and baby potatoes 

Nothing says summer quite like cooking outside in the sunshine. 

“I love cooking dinner right from the grill,” says Judy Simon, a dietitian at UW Medical Center – Roosevelt. 

Ingredients (for 2 servings):

  • 1/2 lb Salmon fillets 
  • Potatoes 
  • Asparagus 
  • 1 lemon  
  • Rosemary 
  • Salt and pepper to taste 


  • Start the baby potatoes by tossing in olive oil, kosher salt and ground pepper. Add chopped rosemary and place in grill basket or foil. They take about 20 minutes to cook on the grill depending on their size. 
  • Break bottom stems of fresh local asparagus, drizzle with olive oil, lemon, salt and pepper. Add to grill about 10 minutes after potatoes are started. Watch asparagus to know when they’re done — thicker spears will take longer. 
  • Season salmon fillets with fresh herbs, lemon, salt and pepper. 
  • Grill the salmon for 5 minutes, flip and grill for about 2-3 more minutes. Check that the fish is cooked through to your desired doneness. 

Recipe and recommendations from Judy Simon, dietitian at UW Medical Center – Roosevelt. 

Feeling fancy: steamed clams, green salad and berry ice cream 

Whether it’s date night, dinner with the parents or a birthday gathering with friends, there are ways to make a meal special sans oven.  

“Shellfish always seems fancy to me, maybe because it’s not something most of us generally prepare at home. But I’ve learned that shellfish are some of the most nutrient dense foods, providing iron, zinc, retinol (the animal form of vitamin A), calcium and B12—all nutrients that can fall short on a plant-based diet. They are also quick in terms of prep and cook time,” Peterson says.

As for dessert, blended berries create a decadent end to the meal, without any added sugar.  


Salad dressing 

  • 1 tsp Dijon mustard 
  • 1 tsp Honey 
  • ½ lemon  
  • ¼ cup extra virgin olive oil 
  • Salt and pepper to taste 


  • About 1 lb of clams or mussels per person 
  • Butter 
  • Garlic 
  • White wine (or substitute broth) 
  • Crusty bread 


  • 1 cup frozen mixed berries 
  • Coconut milk or heavy cream 



  • Add mustard, honey, lemon juice, olive oil, salt and pepper to a jar. 
  • Shake the jar until mixed/emulsified.  
  • Tear up lettuce of choice and any leftover herb or veggie remnants and top with dressing.  


  • Clean clams (let sit in a bowl of water) for 20 minutes. Rinse. 
  • Melt butter in a pan and add garlic and red chili flakes to taste. 
  • Add white wine of choice (or broth) and bring to simmer.  
  • Add in clams, cover the pan and cook until clams open, about seven to nine minutes. 
  • Season with salt and pepper and serve with a nice crusty sourdough bread. 


  • Add berries to a blender or food processor. 
  • Blend with coconut milk or heavy cream to create smooth, creamy texture. 

Recipe and recommendations from Kristi Peterson, registered dietitian at UW Medicine Primary Care. 

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