Spring Fest: 4 Reasons Not to Turn on Your Oven

With temperatures heating up, get ready for an al fresco meal without turning up the heat: These quick no-cook sides are perfect for a picnic on a warm spring day.

1. Five-Minute Salad: Goat Cheese, Herb and White Bean (pictured above)
Ellie’s no-cook salad truly does come together in five minutes, combines fresh, seasonal ingredients with protein-packed beans. The lot is mixed with her simple homemade vinaigrette and a handful of torn basil leaves for that from-the-garden taste.

2. Chickpea and Spinach Salad with Cumin Dressing and Yogurt Sauce
Toss chickpeas with spinach leaves for a quick and refreshing springtime lunch. A light, tangy dressing — made with olive oil, cumin, cayenne, lemon juice and zest — holds the chickpeas together. If the heat from the cumin and cayenne is too much, try drizzling the salad with a blend of orange juice, honey and yogurt instead.

3. Panzanella (Stale Bread Summer Entree)
Why toss out a slightly stale baguette when you can turn it into a hearty vegetarian side or filling vegetarian entree? This classic is light and easy, without needing an oven. Combine chunks of the bread with a blend of  seasonal vegetables, then add oil and vinegar just before digging in. Basil leaves from the garden make a perfect, fresh garnish.

4. Carrot Slaw
Instead of using the typical julienne for his slaw, Alton breaks out the vegetable peeler, shaving his carrots into long, thin ribbons, which look lovely piled high in a bowl. For added sweetness, combine the ribbons with pineapple and raisins. A quick toss in a curry-and-mayonnaise dressing holds it all together.

More No-Cook Ideas from Family and Friends:

Feed Me Phoebe: Almond-Sesame Noodles with Kelp Pasta
Weelicious: Lemony Quinoa Salad
Jeanette’s Healthy Living: “Mixed Bag” Kale Salad
Big Girls, Small Kitchen: Creamy Mango Pudding
Cooking With Elise: Macerated Berries with Creamy Fruit Dip
Dishin & Dishes: Herbed Yogurt Cheese
Taste With The Eyes: Fennel, Mushroom, Watercress, Parmesan and Walnut Salad
Virtually Homemade: Frozen Raspberry Cheesecake
Domesticate Me: Shaved Vegetable Salad with Faro and Pecans
FN Dish: A Whole Week of No-Cook Sides