Weekly Meal Plan: Dinners for when it is too hot to cook

I don’t even want to think about the temperatures it is set to climb to over the weekend and into next week what with what we’ve already experienced, but it seeks to be prepared. I’ve already started serving dinner an hour later at 8pm so that I need spend less time in the kitchen when it is sweltering, but looking ahead I thought this week I’d share 5 delicious dinners that are filling without being too heavy, that don’t involve cooking or have barely cooked elements you can make ahead when the kitchen is cooler – this past week has also found me making a cheesecake ahead at 10pm with the stable kitchen door open to let in the breeze!

Close up of a bulgur wheat salad with parsley and pomegranate.

Monday: Syrian Bulgur Wheat Salad

Whilst usually I’d bill this as a summery side dish with a side of grilled fish or meat, this fantastic make-ahead salad is also something I can happily demolish from the fridge or at room temperature for lunch, or when it is very hot, for dinner. The bulgur just needs soaking, not boiling, and the only do-ahead bit is the toasted nuts – make a tonne, and sprinkle them over other salads and no-cook meals as the mood takes your fancy.

Tuesday: Korean Sashimi Salad

So flavourful and refreshing, and packed with cucumber and radishes for a bit of extra cooling crunch (they’re also both at their best in the garden right now) the only element of this salad you need to think about ahead is the rice – cook it ahead and just stash it in the fridge until you’re ready to build your bowls.

Wednesday: Deli Counter Pasta Salad

Packed with lots of make-ahead bits, again this is one where you can cook the pasta and assemble the whole thing during the hours when the kitchen is cool – you want to make it ahead and leave it to stand and cool so that all the flavours can meld – it honestly gets better the longer it has been sitting in the fridge.

Thursday: Hummus, Tomato & Sumac Salad

Taking just minutes to throw together, this no-cook hummus salad is perfect for dipping and scooping, just serve with some flatbreads, toasted pitta, whatever you have on hand. Seriously, it is perfect for right now. Recipe video here.

Friday: Spicy Tinned Tuna Rolls

Friday night sushi night! Needless to say the entirety of these rolls (which don’t involve any raw fish!) can be made ahead – if you’re looking to make a mixture, you can also throw whatever else needs using up in the fridge into some Kimbap (though they will need a little more cooking!), and you can find my sushi-restaurant style salad recipe here.

A few drink ideas to cool down with over the super hot weekend: Korean Green Iced Tea, Even Better Homemade Lemonade, Rhubarb & Cardamom Cordial, Cucumber & Elderflower Gimlets, Classic Palomas, Pineapple Shrub, Cucumber Mint Lemonade, Classic Sangria, Mint Mojito Syrup, Cucumber & Jalapeno Margaritas, Cheats Pina Colada, Elderflower Mules, Frozen Mango Margaritas, Wine Glass Moscow Mules, Gin & Watermelon Juice with Fresh Basil, Campari & Orange Garibaldi, Lavender Vodka Lemonade.