Inspired by the string of 100+ degrees Fahrenheit weather (that’s 37+ degrees Celcius for the rest of the world) we’ve been experiencing in the Pacific Northwest recently, let’s challenge ourselves to eating a whole day of whole grains without heating up the kitchen! We have three options per meal: A classic dish that relies on products likely already in your pantry; a quick dish that takes less than ten minutes to prepare; and an overnight option for those who can do a little prep the night before. Nine recipes, no heat, let’s go!


Classic: Cereal. What’s more iconic than a whole grain cereal for breakfast? Our 2021 Consumer Insights Survey showed that breakfast cereals are one of the most commonly chosen whole grain food sources for Americans, and it’s likely you have a box of whole grain cereal in your pantry right now. Keep it simple paired with a milk of choice, or spice it up by topping it with berries, fruit, nut butters, or yogurt.

Quick: A smoothie. While it may come as a surprise, quick-cooking oats will disappear into most smoothies while increasing their fiber content and keeping you feeling full longer. My own basic smoothie recipe consists of ½ of a frozen banana, an equal amount of another fruit like frozen berries, a vegetable (spinach is a classic, but riced cauliflower or chopped frozen summer squash also work beautifully, which I’m sure those of you sneaking excess garden zucchini into your neighbors’ houses will appreciate), then ½ cup of yogurt and enough water to make it all blend smoothly.

Overnight: Muesli or overnight oats. These cold-weather cousins to a bowl of oatmeal are infinitely customizeable. Mix your oats or muesli with a milk of choice, add your toppings, and leave in the fridge to soak. In the morning, you’ll have a cool, filling breakfast waiting for you. Need some flavor inspiration? We have you covered with our recipes!


Classic: A sandwich. Who doesn’t have sandwich fixings in their kitchen right now? While the average American lunch sandwich is high in sodium and low in nutrients, a sandwich on whole grain bread, filled with veggies and lean protein, makes for a light and healthy lunch. Our recipe archive is full of simple yet tasty sandwich ideas, like the Mediterranean Tuna Sandwich at right. See them all here.

Quick: A snack plate (AKA girl dinner). A plate of whole grain crackers, cheese, fruits, and fresh or pickled veggies can be rustled up in moments flat, and plating it on a pretty charcuterie board turns it from a quick lunch into something special. Not sure where to find whole grain crackers? We have no shortage of them in our Stamped Products list!

Overnight: Couscous. Believe it or not, couscous can be cooked without heat! Simply leave your whole wheat couscous in your usual cooking liquid overnight, and by morning, it will have fully absorbed it. This Mediterranean Couscous Salad recipe is perfect for the summer weather!


Corn and skewers of vegetables roasting on a grill
Photo by Beau Carpenter on Unsplash

Classic: Panzanella. This famous Tuscan dish is essentially a bread salad, so make sure to use some good, hearty bread, as it’s the star ingredient. Cut or tear the bread into chunks, toss with chopped tomatoes, vinaigrette, fresh herbs, and perhaps a soft cheese or some olives, and you have a lovely dinner ahead of you. While most recipes call for the bread to be toasted first to remove some of the moisture, if you’re going to dig in right away there’s no fear of your bread salad turning into mush, and, thankfully, no need to turn on the oven.

Quick: Frozen Grains. Frozen grains like brown rice and quinoa are becoming more and more widely available, and they simply cannot be beat for convenience! Simply take them out of the freezer and heat up in the microwave far a fast side dish, or toss them with vegetables and dressing for a hearty salad.

Overnight: Tabbouleh. As highlighted in our Spotlight on Bulgur and Freekeh post, freekeh can be prepared by soaking it in water overnight. Finely ground varieties will soak up the liquid more quickly than coarser ones, but all should be ready to toss with seasonings after a good overnight soaking.

How are you beating the heat where you are? Share your favorite hot weather recipes, tips, and tricks below! (Rebecca)

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