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10 easy vegetarian recipes for hot summer days

Enjoy the fruits (and veggies) of your labor with these simple and gorgeous meatless summer dinners.
Courtesy Steven Randazzo
/ Source: TODAY

Make the meal decision to cook or not to cook, but don't feel overwhelmed finding a delicious summer vegetarian dinner.

Whether it's a meatless Monday or a plate of grilled steak or chicken just doesn't sound appealing on a hot evening, eating plant-based is easy. Opt for a cooling, chilled salad or a heartier lasagna packed with loads of zucchini at peak season. Whichever sounds best, here are 10 of our favorite meatless summer recipes, five of which require no cooking whatsoever.

It doesn't get much simpler than that.

To cook:

Ratatouille

Elizabeth Heiskell

Try this traditional French dish on any warm evening. It’s teeming with beautifully stewed veggies like tomatoes (at their most ripe in summer), eggplant, summer squash and bell pepper. A colorful, all-in-one vegetarian meat to satisfy all the senses.

Grilled Zucchini Lasagna

Grilled Zucchini Lasagna

Catherine De Orio

Use all that zucchini from the garden, farmer’s market or grocery store in this cheesy, family-style vegetarian lasagna that is both filling, nutritious and comforting any night of the week.

Tender couscous, juicy watermelon, tart pickled onions, plus, loads of fresh veggies and an herbaceous dressing make this rainbow-hued salad the perfect summer starlet for your vegetarian dinner spread. An added benefit: It’s delicious when made ahead of time!

Not only does Samah Dada’s chickpea burger hold together beautifully, it’s packed with plant-based protein and it travels well. Pair it with a delicious spread, like pepper special sauce, and enjoy on a picnic or wherever summer takes you this month.

Grilled Vegetable Paella

Here’s a plant-based paella bursting with bright Spanish flavors, but without the seafood or meats. The chickpeas provide the protein while cooking the live fire of the grill intensifies the vegetables color and smoky taste.

Or not to cook:

A full cup of peak season raspberries make this dressing shine with fresh, summer flavor. You can prepare the dressing ahead of time and store in the fridge for any kind of marinade or dip, but it pairs incredibly well with this salty, sweet salad with briny olives and rich Gorgonzola.

It’s possible to make Israeli couscous without all the boiling and simmering on the stove? Sign us up! Alejandra Ramos’ delicious pasta salad checks all the boxes for a perfect summer dinner dish. With chickpeas, seasonal tomatoes, fresh herbs and cheese, it’s filling enough to be a meatless mainstay.

Gazpacho Soup

Gazpacho Soup

Natalie Morales

Gazpacho, a no-cook, chilled tomato-based soup typical of Spain, is a wonderful way to enjoy a smooth, flavorful dish all-in-one without ever turning on the stove. It’s refreshing in every spoonful and can be topped with fresh produce like cucumber, peppers and avocado or crunchy croutons.

Who says lasagna needs to bake in an oven? In this recipe, chef Kelsey Banfield simply layers thinly sliced raw tomatoes and zucchini with creamy ricotta, and tops everything with a zingy basil pesto. Done.

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