Five great meals on hot days -- all served cold -- plus lots of other ideas to beat the heat

Meals for Hot Days

When it is really and truly hot outside, I don’t want meals that just minimize cooking heat.  I want meals that make me feel cooler.

Contrary to many other cruisers who took the hottest months of the year to make visits “back home,” Dave and I loved spending summers in the Sea of Cortez.  But yes, it could get hot!

Dave and I both come from the Midwest and are used to hot, humid summers.  But we also had a few “tricks” for coping with hot days, such as the one pictured . . . where we still made a 3-mile hike to check out what was on the other side of that ridge (answer: more cactus).

One was a list I had written up and stuck inside one of my locker doors with 5 hot day meals that were served cold, straight from the refrigerator.  I’d make one of these in the morning, when it was cool out, and put it in the refrigerator.  By dinner time, it would be thoroughly cold and totally enjoyable.

You’ll probably also notice that these are fairly light meals, some without meat even.  We found that as temperatures approached 100 degrees, we just didn’t have as much appetite as usual and lighter meals were perfect.

In hot weather, lunch was usually some fruit and maybe a slice of cheese and a couple of crackers.

5 Great Meals for Hot Days

  1. Gazpacho — this is my all-time favorite hot day meal.  Icy cold, salty, and easy to make.  If we wanted a little heartier meal, I’d add a few slices of cheese on crackers or a cold hard-boiled egg.
  2. Vegetable Salad a la Que Tal — there are all sorts of substitutions and ways to make this with nothing that has to be cooked.  Or I’d cook some rice or pasta one day and divide it into portions for the next 3 or 4 days.
  3. Rice or Pasta Salad — another option is to use couscous, which has far less cooking time than rice or pasta.  Add a can of ham or chicken for a bit more substantial meal.
  4. Sandwiches — egg salad, ham salad, tuna salad, or chicken salad all taste wonderful when it’s hot out.  Even though they can’t really be made in advance, and aren’t cold, BLT’s are also a hot weather favorite of mine!
  5. Stuffed tomatoes — take that same ham, tuna or chicken salad and add some chunks of fruit (grapes are wonderful) or even dried fruit, then scoop out a tomato and fill it with the salad.

Five great meals on hot days -- all served cold -- plus lots of other ideas to beat the heatAnother great hot weather alternative is to have a Beach BBQ — you can swim and lounge in the water during happy hour. . . and it never seems quite so hot when you’re having a party!

Other Hot Weather Ideas

Quick Reference Lists

The notecards that I posted inside a couple of lockers with appetizer and meal ideas, like the one I talk about above for hot weather meals, were the inspiration for the Quick Reference Lists that Jan and I included in our cookbook.  If you like “idea starters” such as this, I hope you’ll like the cookbook.

  • FirstBoat on Facebook
    Posted at 17 March 2012 Reply

    Very timely for this strange March!

  • Paula Odom Swaney
    Posted at 25 June 2016 Reply

    Have you ever considered adding a solar oven to the boat for cooking on hot sunny days?

    • The Boat Galley
      Posted at 25 June 2016 Reply

      I used one on other people’s boats and love it, but we just don’t have the storage space for one. Great way to cut down on propane usage for boats where it’s hard to get, though!

  • Kim Gibson
    Posted at 06 July 2017 Reply

    Great ideas! My hubby is a chef so he has a ton of recipes for cold soups and salads. He makes an Awesome quinoa salad!

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