Summer’s bounty is so vibrant and delicious on its own, it’s easy and enjoyable to forgo cooking by making the season’s produce the star of a dish. For a meal that’s as satisfying as one that you’ve spent all day cooking, focus on smart shopping and artful assembly. Here’s the formula to commit to memory: Select at least one variety of ripe raw fruit or vegetable, a prepared protein, a starch and seasonings, then combine them into a big salad, a generously topped toast, a hearty dip or an abundant snack tray.
By keeping just one or two ingredients from each of the categories below on hand, you have what you need to throw together a complete no-cook meal in minutes. You ultimately want to combine contrasting textures, such as soft tofu with thinly sliced snap peas, so be sure to choose a mix of crunchy, creamy and juicy basics. On top of standard pantry seasonings, also pick up preflavored options for an instant boost, such as herbed goat cheese.
Raw fruits and vegetables: Melons, berries, citrus and avocado; crunchy vegetables like cucumbers, snap peas and radishes; leafy greens like bok choy, kale and soft herbs; and other summer staples like corn, peppers and zucchini.
Prepared proteins: Cooked or cured meat like rotisserie chicken, prosciutto and jerky; canned tuna or salmon; smoked salmon or trout; canned beans; hummus; tofu; nuts, seeds and butters; soft or hard dairy products like yogurt, ricotta and crème fraîche or Parmesan, Manchego and