Tuesday, August 7, 2012

Salads, Sandwiches, and Smoothies - A No-Cook Summer Meal Plan for One

Since it's been so hot lately, unusually hot this summer, I haven't felt much like cooking, so I'm devoting this week to foods I don't have to cook, in other words, salads, sandwiches, and smoothies. My plan starts at my local farmer's market.

I'm Going Shopping

I get excited when my local farmer's market opens on Wednesday in the summer for a five-day week. They're closed on Mondays and Tuesdays, so when Wednesday comes along I'm waiting at the door first thing in the morning, eager to stock up on freshly pulled and picked produce from their farm and from produce they stock daily from the Philadelphia Wholesale Produce Market for their customers' convenience. So here's what I'm buying tomorrow and then I'll tell you what I'm going to do with it all.

My No-Cook Shopping List

2 Lettuce heads (one Romaine, one red-leaf)
2 Scallion bunches
1 Celery bunch
1 Sweet onion (Vidalias are available, and I love them)
1 Green bell pepper
1 Red bell pepper
1 Yellow bell pepper
2 Cucumbers
1 Pound carrots
2 Pounds tomatoes
2 Sweet corn ears (these, I know from experience, are picked at dawn)
1 Bunch parsley
1 Green zucchini
1 Yellow zucchini
2 Avocados (one that's ready to eat and one that can sit on the counter for a couple of days)
3 Bananas
1 Cantaloupe
1 Pound grapes
3 Peaches
3 Nectarines...

...I think you get the idea. I'm grabbing the stuff I like, and I know this amount of produce, along with the staples I already have in my pantry and freezer (almond milk, salad dressings, raw cashew nuts and sunflower seeds, corn tortillas, canned tuna and salmon, leftover baked chicken) is going to keep me well-fed for about a week without having to cook. The bill at the farmer's market will be about 20 USD.

The 1-Hour No-Cook Prep

It will take an hour or so to shop, and then about an hour to prepare everything I bought so that I don't have to do anything for the next seven days except to grab foods out of the refrigerator and assemble them. That sounds pretty dandy to me. How does that sound to you?

Wash, dry, and slice, grate, break apart, or chop all the vegetables and the cantaloupe (everything that needs to be refrigerated), except the sweet corn. Leave the corn in its husk and in the refrigerator until you are ready to eat it. Package all of the prepped foods individually in plastic containers or bags.

You've just made your refrigerator salad, sandwich, and smoothie bar. From here on in, it's grab and eat with the assistance of a blender and some salad dressings.

A word about sweet corn...Sugar-sweet corn is one of the sublime joys of summer. In this no-cook plan of mine, it's the one thing I will cook, and gladly. I'll steam it for five minutes, slather it with butter, dust it with salt and pepper, and go to heaven.

No-Cook Recipes for Summer

Here's a great sampling of ways to prepare fresh fruits and veggies without heating up the kitchen.

Smoothies A delightful selection of breakfast smoothies to make using your blender.
Sandwiches This website has some quirky veggie sandwiches for lunch or dinner, but also some wonderful words about how the author came to where he is...check out the "About".
Salads A nice place to start for summer salads for lunch or dinner.

Photo source:  schopie1 CC BY-SA 2.0 


  1. Thanks, Bill! Very nice to see you and I hope you and Bev find some useful ideas here.

  2. I am so glad I found this site! I googled "meal planning for one," and your site came up first. I'm a 30 year-old single woman, no kids (just dogs). I work a bit of a crazy schedule with days off and day parts varying from week to week. I've found that when I grocery shop, I buy more produce than I use, and often end up throwing away half a head of lettuce, half a bag of baby carrots, and half-blocks of cheese. In the quest to save a little dough and eat better, I've been contemplating meal-planning for some time. I have a feeling your blog is going to be very inspirational and useful to me, and already has been!

    Thank you so much!

  3. Mer, I think you are in the right place, and I'm so pleased to see you here! If you haven't done any meal planning in the past, you might want to start with a weekly plan just for breakfast or just for lunch. You can click "breakfast" or "lunch" in the TAGS list to get started. :)

    Thank you so much for your very complimentary comment.

  4. I love this post-- and like you, I live at farmstands during the summer and absolutely do not turn on my oven between June and September. I've recently discovered smoothies and am enjoying them a lot-- they are great for those of us who live and cook solo so thanks-- I'm off to click on the smoothie link and get some new ideas. yum yum yum.

    1. Glad you enjoyed this post, Roberta! Now that you mention it, the only time my oven was on this summer was to make a batch of chicken liver dog biscuits. Lucky dog!