Chickpeas with quinoa and vegetables is a meal to make in minutes
Chickpeas with quinoa and vegetables

People tend to gravitate toward no-cook meals in the summer, when it’s too hot to turn on the oven, but they’re actually ideal any time of year when you’re too busy to cook or don’t feel like standing in front of a stove or being left with a big mess to clean up.

In its purest sense, no-cook means mixing together raw foods and those that have already been cooked—such as leftover or rotisserie chicken, canned or premade beans, or hard-boiled eggs—into a tasty assembled dish. But to give you a little more flexibility, we also decided that heating ingredients in a microwave counted as not cooking, too. However you look at it, these nine easy ideas will have you eating a healthy meal in minutes.

Breakfast bowl: Top ¾ cup prepared bulgur with ½ cup milk. Add ½ cup frozen blueberries and a sprinkling of rolled oats. Heat in microwave and stir.

Microwave omelet: Spray a microwave-safe mug with cooking spray. Whisk 2 eggs in the cup. Add vegetables such as baby spinach and tomatoes (fresh or frozen). Micro­wave 1 minute on high. If egg is not yet set, continue cooking for 30-second intervals until it is set.

More Healthy Meals

Burrito bowl: Prepare ¾ cup frozen brown rice in a microwave. Top with ½ cup black beans and 1 cup baby spinach. Heat in microwave until greens are wilted. Top with salsa and sliced avocado.

Loaded sweet potato: Pierce sweet potato with a fork four times and microwave for 5 minutes, or until fork-tender. Split down the middle. Top with microwaved frozen broccoli, chopped tomatoes, a dollop of plain yogurt, and chopped chives.

Simple chicken souvlaki: Stuff 2 whole-wheat pita halves with precooked chicken strips, heated in microwave. Add sliced tomato. Serve with tzatziki sauce: ½ cup plain yogurt mixed with ½ small cucumber, thinly sliced; ¼ cup fresh dill, chopped; and a little garlic powder and lemon juice.

Sushi hand rolls: Prepare ½ cup frozen brown rice or quinoa in microwave. Spread onto 2 sheets of roasted seaweed. Sprinkle with ¼ tsp. rice wine vinegar or apple cider vinegar. Add flaked canned salmon and a slice each of avocado and cucumber. Roll into a cone shape. Serve with frozen microwaved edamame.

Mediterranean salad: Toss ½ cup cooked quinoa with ½ cup chickpeas; 1 small tomato, chopped; ½ cucumber, chopped; 1 cup arugula; and ¼ cup each chopped parsley and mint. Dress with 2 Tbsp. olive oil and 2 Tbsp. lemon juice. Top with toasted whole-wheat pita strips.

Tapas plate: Marinate ½ cup chickpeas in 1 Tbsp. olive oil, 1½ tsp. red wine vinegar, and a sprinkling of dried oregano and red pepper flakes. Serve with 1 ounce cheddar or manchego cheese, sliced cucumber, sliced red bell pepper, a few olives, and a sliced whole-wheat pita.

Panzanella salad: In a bowl, combine 1 cup cubes day-old hearty whole-grain bread with ½ cup sliced cherry tomatoes, 3 small mozzarella balls sliced in half (1 ounce), and ½ cup frozen corn (heated in the microwave then cooled to room temperature). Toss with 1½ Tbsp. olive oil, 1 Tbsp. red wine vinegar, and torn fresh basil leaves.


Top Microwave Ovens

Although multi-cookers and air fryers are all the rage, you can’t beat the speed and convenience of a microwave. CR tests both countertop and over-the-range microwaves to see how fast and evenly they heat, how well they defrost, how easy they are to use, and how quietly they operate. These are some of the microwaves that topped our ratings. 

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Panasonic NN-SE785S

Price: $290

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LG NeoChef LMC1275SB

Price: $180

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Whirlpool WMH53521H

Price: $470

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Editor’s Note: This article also appeared in the March 2020 issue of Consumer Reports On Health