Family having picnic beside their camper van

If you’re on kitchen duty, feel free to establish a warm, inviting ambiance — without heating up your food and your home. Plenty of tantalizing plant-based dishes don’t require you to turn on your oven. Or stand over a steamy stovetop.

If that sounds enticing, enjoy these examples of planet-friendly, healthy, and even fun epicurean delights. Heat-free. Dairy-free. Meat-free.

No-Bake Brownies

Ariel Levin, who works with Vegan Block Party, points to Raw Vegan Nutella Brownies as a personal favorite from her recipe repertoire.

“These brownies are a sweet, healthy treat and the perfect dessert to bring to gatherings or to have on hand in the fridge,” she says.

Raw vegan Nutella brownies
For a sweet, healthy treat: raw vegan Nutella brownies. Credit: The Vegan 8

The recipe includes oats, nuts, and a few other ingredients pulsed in a food processor. For extra yumminess, decorate with dollops of chocolate hazelnut cream — the recipe includes instructions.

Find more recipes at The Vegan 8 website and in the book, The Vegan 8: 100 Simple, Delicious Recipes Made with 8 Ingredients or Less.

Vegan Cheesecake

No baking or dairy is required for Vegan Cookie Dough Cheesecake from Edward & Sons. The firm offers a website with recipes featuring its assortment of vegetarian products.

For Vegan Cookie Dough Cheesecake, cashews and Native Forest Organic Simple Coconut Cream creates a creamy filling. Vanilla extract, lemon juice, and maple syrup round out its flavor. Medjool dates, rolled oats, cocoa powder, and Native Forest Organic Cold Pressed Coconut Oil blend into the dough for forming a gluten-free crust.

Cookie dough cheesecake
Vegan cheesecake garnished with cookie dough balls. Credit: Edward & Sons

For extra enhancement, cookie dough balls join in, concocted with relatively few ingredients, including oat flour and chocolate chips.

Adorable Snacks

The Vegetable Snowman from the University of Nebraska-Lincoln Institute of Food and Natural Resources is virtually a do-it-yourself epicurean work of art on a plate. Assorted sliced veggies and a tasty dip serve as the palette. A small dish of ranch dressing is the happy snowman’s head (see our recommendation below for the vegan ranch dressing recipe). Olives for his eyes. Red pepper pieces provide a hat and scarf. Slices of cucumber for his body. Carrot, of course, for his nose.

Or, veer off the example and design your own version. The information included with the recipe encourages versatility: “Feel free to be creative and use any type of vegetable that you might have on hand.”

Vegetable snowman
The vegetable snowman makes a kid-friendly no-heat snack. Credit: University of Nebraska-Lincoln Extension

For another kid-friendly DIY-assembled edible, the University of Nebraska-Lincoln Institute of Food and Natural Resources features Bugs on a Log. Build them with peanut butter, raisins, and celery, carrots, or cucumbers.

Vegan Ranch Dressing

To accompany your vegetable snowman, we recommend Love & Lemons’ Vegan Ranch Dressing recipe. It calls for raw cashews, chopped cucumber, lemon juice, dried dill, garlic powder, onion powder, and nutritional yeast.

Vegan ranch dressing and fresh vegetables
Vegan ranch dressing is a tasty dip for garden-fresh veggies. Credit: Love & Lemons

In addition to a dipping sauce for veggies and a salad dressing, Love & Lemons recommends using their vegan ranch recipe in the following ways:

  • Drizzled over cooked vegetables
  • Dollop it onto a grain bowl
  • Slathered on a veggie burger
  • As a topper for tacos

Other Salsas and Dips

Alex Gayton, a nutrition education professional from the University of Maine Cooperative Extension, offers insight into the black bean hummus. She describes it as a “great filling snack, with 3 grams of fiber and 4 grams of protein per serving.”

“Try pairing it with pita bread, whole-grain crackers, pretzels, or sliced vegetables,” she says. “This hummus recipe has a sweet peanut butter twist! Not a peanut butter fan? You can replace the peanut butter with tahini or your favorite nut butter.”

Black bean hummus
Black bean hummus with a peanut butter twist. Credit: Alex Gayton, University of Maine Cooperative Extension

Chilled Soup

Not all yummy soups are heated — gazpacho, for example. This gazpacho recipe, re-posted on the Edwards & Sons website, is a zesty fusion that includes fresh tomatoes, sweet onion, wine vinegar, assorted veggies and spices, and a vegan Worcestershire sauce.

Want more? Check out these other vegan recipes.

Originally published on August 2, 2021, this article was updated in July 2022.

By Patti Roth

Patti began her writing career as a staff writer for the South Florida Sun Sentinel. Still based in Florida, Patti serves as editor for Fort Lauderdale on the Cheap. She regularly writes about environmental, home improvement, education, recycling, art, architecture, wildlife, travel and pet topics.