Summer’s Must-Make Chilled Soup

This classic Persian dish is the no-cook meal you need in your life.

By Genevieve Ko

Hello, friends, and happy cooking. I’m filling in for Emily this week and feeling excited about being in the kitchen again after trying Naz Deravian’s abdoogh khiar, a chilled buttermilk-yogurt soup with cucumbers, walnuts, raisins and herbs. It’s fun to have something new for dinner, especially when it requires so little work (and no stovetop time).

As our recipe tester Kayla Hoang noted, “This is the soup that I didn’t know I needed in my life.” I feel the same. It fulfills all the high-summer cravings: refreshing yet fortifying, bursting with tang and packed with satisfying crunchy bites. Other cold dishes also hit those marks, like the ceviche below, watermelon salad and vegetable tabbouleh.

It’s nice to get punchy flavors from the grill, too. On busy days, the ideal recipes are the ones that don’t require shuttling between the kitchen and yard — or any marinating in advance. On even more hectic days, stir-fries are always the answer.

But it’s summer and time for a break from busyness, even with meal prep. All the dishes below keep especially well in the fridge, so you can enjoy a little thrill of a lunch the next day with almost no effort.

1. Abdoogh Khiar (Chilled Buttermilk Cucumber Soup)

In this version of an Iranian classic, Naz Deravian blends buttermilk with plain yogurt for a creamy soup base to suspend crisp walnuts, refreshing cucumber, sweet raisins and aromatic dill, mint and chives. (Dried edible rose petals are lovely in there if you want to add them.) The blend becomes even more full-flavored over time, so you can prepare it whenever you have a break, then serve it within a day.

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2. Grilled Chicken With Charred-Scallion Chimichurri

Kay Chun adds grilled scallions to a garlicky parsley chimichurri for smoky richness. That bold sauce smothers chicken cutlets and romaine lettuce, both quickly charred on the hot grill for this one-dish dinner. Just toss some oiled bread on the hot grates, or grill more vegetables to turn this into a full meal.

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3. Cauliflower Ceviche

To give this vegetable mix seaside flavors, Jocelyn Ramirez combines seaweed with soy sauce and lots of lemon juice. The minced cauliflower, pebbled with avocado, cucumber and tomato, works best as a meal mounded onto a tostada or scooped with tortilla chips, but it’s just as refreshing as a snack eaten by the spoonful.

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4. Grilled Salmon Escabeche

Ali Slagle offers a solution to the ever-present problem of salmon sticking to the grill: Keep the fillets skin side down. They release easily from the hot grates that way and yield crackling deliciousness. To keep the skin crisp, the fish is then flipped to soak in a lightly pickled fennel mixture skin side up.

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5. Shanghai Stir-Fried Chunky Noodles

July is the time for cold noodles, but my daughters ask for this mellow stir-fry all year round. When I don’t have fresh noodles in the fridge, I swap in 8 ounces dried linguine or thick spaghetti, or use a whole pound and double all the other ingredients. Leftovers taste great for breakfast (or lunch!) with a fried egg on top.

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