20 Serve-Cold Recipes That Are Still Really Filling

Jess Richardson | Jun 17, 2019 Food & Party
20 Serve-Cold Recipes That Are Still Really Filling
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taco salad

When it comes to cooking in the summer, we're all about a minimal approach that takes advantage of all the incredible, delicious summer produce. Delicious food comes into season in the summer, which means that eating fresh, healthy vegetables becomes not just tastier but also much cheaper for families who are on a budget. Some of our favorite super-cheap summer produce options include zucchini, which we can purchase by the bucketful in the summer, and sweet, fresh corn, which is also delicious and very inexpensive in the summer. But what are some ways to use this amazing bounty of fresh produce to create meals that aren't just light summer salads, but really filling, delicious dinners for families with growing kids? And of course we want choices that won't heat us up when it's 90 degrees outside and all we want is to keep our body temperature as low as humanly possible.

Sone wonderful options exist. These are hearty, filling, delicious recipes served cold, straight from the fridge. This works well for when we're too hot to even think about cooking -- and when it's too hot to even consider eating a warm meal that could potentially warm us up even further. It's also a good way to meal prep for when we're going to be running late and won't have time to get dinner on the table if nothing is prepared.

For days when the air conditioning is blasting but the family doesn't want to heat up the kitchen by turning on the oven, check out these 40 Crock-Pot Summer Recipes for Easy Meals on Hot Days. And for anyone on a time crunch, we absolutely love this life-saving roundup of 12 Summer Meals Made Oh-So-Easy From Trader Joe's, not to mention this list of 15-Minute Summer Meals the Whole Family Will Love. (Mmm, those 10-minute steak tacos are absolutely amazing.) Those trying the paleo diet this summer -- or who just want to check it out -- should take a peek at 11 Paleo Summer Dinners That Won't Weigh You Down.

Check out these 20 filling cold dinner options. A lot of them work well for kids to pull out of the fridge and help themselves or even to make family dinner night much simpler.

  • Cold Roast Beef Salad

    Cold Roast Beef Salad

    This recipe for cold roast beef salad is one of our go-tos in the summer. It makes a delicious lunch (and packs well to take to the office, too -- just pack the dressing separately!) or a quick dinner and uses up leftovers like a dream.

  • Easy Tuna Nicoise Salad

    Easy Tuna Nicoise Salad

    Nicoise salad is one of the most filling salads out there. It's high in protein because of all the tuna and hard-boiled eggs, and although this recipe for easy tuna Nicoise salad calls for making everything fresh, it's an effective way to use up leftover roasted veggies of any kind. 

  • Southwestern Quinoa Salad

    Southwestern Quinoa Salad

    This flavorful Southwestern quinoa salad is filling, inexpensive to make, and packs plenty of protein with black beans and quinoa. It also works with leftover roasted chicken, shredded pork, or soy chicken strips.

  • Cold Sesame Peanut Noodles

    Cold Sesame Peanut Noodles

    This recipe for cold sesame peanut noodles is one of our favorite things all summer -- and it's perfect for bringing to a picnic, potluck, or any other summer gathering. Just make sure it's labeled "peanuts" for anyone with allergies!

  • Easy Cold Fried Chicken

    Easy Cold Fried Chicken

    The most picnic-perfect recipe in the entire world: easy cold fried chicken. Why does fried chicken taste so amazing cold when every other fried food tastes awful as soon as it hits room temperature? No idea, but this is an amazing summer treat.

  • High Protein Caprese Pasta Salad

    High Protein Caprese Pasta Salad

    This recipe for high protein caprese pasta salad is just right for kids who have been running around outside all day and need a little protein boost. The chickpea pasta has tons of protein, as does the mozzarella -- and the whole thing tastes delicious!

  • Homemade Sushi Rolls

    Homemade Sushi Rolls

    Homemade sushi rolls seem like they'd be really hard to make, but they're actually really easy -- and absolutely delicious. Serve them with a little mixed greens salad with a ginger dressing for additional Asian flavors.

  • Avocado Tomato Chickpea Pasta Salad with Lemon Basil Vinaigrette

    Avocado Tomato Chickpea Pasta Salad with Lemon Basil Vinaigrette

    This avocado tomato chickpea pasta salad with lemon basil vinaigrette is so delicious. The chickpeas add plenty of filling protein, and the avocado adds lots of healthy fats that boost the feeling of being satiated.

  • Coronation Chicken Salad

    Coronation Chicken Salad

    This recipe for coronation chicken salad is almost exactly like the one served at Queen Elizabeth II's cornation luncheon. It's sweet, savory, salty, and uses curry powder for wonderful flavor and color.

  • Lentil Salad

    Lentil Salad

    This recipe for lentil salad calls for brown lentils, but sub in green lentils -- aka lentils du puy -- and use a veggie or chicken stock instead of water, and the dish will taste even better. Top with a poached egg for added protein!

  • Whole30 Layered Cold Taco Salad

    Whole30 Layered Cold Taco Salad

    Taco salad is great with hot pork, steak, chicken, or beans, but this variation, Whole30 layered cold taco salad, is really delicious and perfect for those too-hot summer days. We love the combination of flavors.

  • Simple Cold Shrimp Salad

    Simple Cold Shrimp Salad

    This recipe for simple cold shrimp salad is about as easy as it gets -- just chop some veggies and open a couple of cans of baby corn and hearts of palm, and it's all set! To make it extra filling, throw in some leftover cold quinoa or wild rice.

  • Pan Grilled BBQ Chicken for Cold BBQ Salad Bowls

    Pan Grilled BBQ Chicken for Cold BBQ Salad Bowls

    Cold barbecue? It may sound weird but it's actually amazing. These pan grilled BBQ chicken for cold BBQ salad bowls are incredibly delicious, and they're pretty healthy. Serve with a variety of delicious cold sides such as potato salad and green bean salad. 

  • Cold Beef Tenderloin

    Cold Beef Tenderloin

    Cold beef tenderloin is even better than beef tenderloin served warm. Slice and serve with a side salad with a simple, fresh-made vinaigrette, fresh bread and butter, and a green bean-and-bacon salad.

  • Apricot, Mustard and Rosemary [Cold] Pork Roast

    Apricot, Mustard and Rosemary [Cold] Pork Roast

    Traditional cold cuts are more expensive than they have to be -- and are full of nitrates. Instead, consider making this delicious apricot, mustard and rosemary [cold] pork roast and serving it as part of a sandwich or with some sides. 

  • Homemade Ahi Tuna Poke Bowls

    Homemade Ahi Tuna Poke Bowls

    Poke bowls are a fun treat out, but they're also really simple to make at home -- which saves money, and means we know how extra-fresh they are. Try this easy recipe for homemade ahi tuna poke bowls.

  • Savory Spinach Artichoke Cheesecake

    Savory Spinach Artichoke Cheesecake

    Yes, this savory spinach artichoke cheesecake calls itself an app -- and asks that we reheat it before serving -- but we've served this bad boy straight from the fridge with cut-up veggies to dip in in. Given that it's filling, delicious, and uses veggies as a serving vehicle, we count it as an awesome main dish.

  • Hard Boiled Eggs with Avocado Toast

    Hard Boiled Eggs with Avocado Toast

    Yes, avocado toast is super trendy, but there's a reason for that: It's kind of amazing. It's also a really easy dinner to throw together when the most "cooking" we can do is assemble a few options. We love this protein-packed hard boiled eggs with avocado toast, but we think it's also legit to make a bunch of slices of toast, slice a tomato, throw hardboiled eggs on the table, and tell the kids to DIY.

  • Salmon Salad in Avocado Halves

    Salmon Salad in Avocado Halves

    We love tuna salad -- just open a can and go, really -- and salmon salad is no different! It's easy to make salmon salad in avocado halves -- just spoon the salmon salad into fresh-sliced avocado halves and serve (or serve with crackers)!

  • Vegan Hummus Wrap

    Vegan Hummus Wrap

    This recipe for a vegan hummus wrap is super delicious -- and who doesn't love hummus! -- but it's also just a good jumping-off point. Toss in any leftover veggies. For those aren't vegan, this is also a good base for adding leftover shredded chicken. 

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