Christmas Day Survival Guide: How to prepare meals that require no cooking

It’s that time of year again! Even though it is December and a hot one at that, Australians are once again bombarded with images of a perfect white Christmas.

Snow falling, hot chocolate and Christmas sweaters. These images could not be more opposite to Christmas here in the Southern Hemisphere!

Christmas is almost always hot, if not on the day itself then in the lead-up to it and afterwards. Aussies are much more likely to hit the beach than the snow and swap sweaters for rashies.

At this time of year, it’s not very appealing to spend all day in the kitchen cooking a traditional roast dinner or lunch. Instead, many Aussies opt to serve meals that require no cooking.

Let’s turn down the heat

No cook Christmas recipes are perfect for the Australian festive season. Cool and refreshing dishes like these also require minimal preparation and minimal cleanup.

From prawns and coleslaw to cold meats, serving heat-free food is slowly becoming the new traditional Christmas lunch. Platters and salads are also easier to take with you to the beach, so you can stay cool and enjoy a perfect summer Christmas.

Prawns on plate
Meals that require no cooking are not only ideal for the Christmas season, they are also great for summer in general. The beginning of the year can be overwhelming with school holiday activities and family outings. Kick back and relax, there is no reason to spend all summer in the kitchen.

Having these no cook Christmas recipes up your sleeve will keep your family full and you cool. Serve them for dinner or pop them in an esky and enjoy an outdoor picnic.

The best part? A lot of no-cook recipes are also incredibly healthy.

You CAN make friends with salad

Salad is the perfect food for summer. It’s light, healthy and refreshing. Salad is versatile and leaves minimal dishes to clean. This means more time for you to enjoy the summer.

Salads are the ideal no cook Christmas meal. Here are some of the most delicious and impressive salads you can whip up at home in a flash.

No cook Christmas recipes: salads

This summer, enjoy fresh Aussie prawns. Why not try this deliciously tropical prawn, avocado and mango salad for Christmas? Your guests will not be disappointed, especially if they have come from overseas. Every ingredient is an Aussie staple.

You can’t go past a classic potato salad. Although it does require a little cooking, it is minimal and it is always a popular meal on the Christmas table. This is a great recipe for a traditional potato salad that is sure to impress.

One of the best things about potato salad is there is no single recipe. Every family brings their own twist, from adding chopped spanish onion to including peas and bacon. A hard-boiled egg can be a good ingredient to use. Choose between a creamy mayonnaise dressing or a lighter vinaigrette.

Feeling bold? Try a unique spin on the potato salad. This spiced potato salad with yoghurt dressing and fried onion will have everyone asking for the recipe.

Smoked salmon is an elegant and delicious addition to any meal, including salad. This colourful smoked salmon and cucumber salad is not only refreshing, it will look gorgeous on the table.

Smoked salmon on cracker
Cucumber is definitely a superfood when it comes to summer. This creamy dilled cucumber salad is a lovely accompaniment for any Christmas platter.  It’s really healthy and light so you won’t be left feeling bloated.

Keep the heat at bay by microwaving the sweet potatoes in this Creamy chorizo and sweet potato salad. Again, there is some cooking required but you won’t have to stand over the hotplate and stir. Pop your sweet potato in the microwave, set the timer then head outside to play with the kids.

Another traditional and satisfying salad is coleslaw. Serve it as a side salad, add it to sandwiches or dish it up alongside hot dogs if you fancy a BBQ.

To mix it up, you can try this recipe for a Christmas coleslaw. It adds red cabbage and green snow pea sprouts and is another healthy way to add a festive touch to the table.

Of course, salad can sweet too. Satisfy the sweet-tooths at your Christmas function with this stone fruit salad. Plums, peaches, apricots and nectarines are a traditional food for Christmas in Australia because they come into season in summer.

Another amazingly refreshing combination for a no cook Christmas recipe is watermelon and feta salad. The two flavours compliment each other well and the colourful mixture will really stand out on your table.

Purchase a ready-cooked bbq chicken, some croutons, bacon bits and cos lettuce. Add dressing and you have an instant no cook Caesar salad. Throw in some anchovies if you’re bold enough.

We wish you a ‘meaty’ Christmas

Christmas is the perfect time for a platter of cold cuts and seafood.

When it comes to meals that require no cooking, platters make sense. They are flexible and there is something for everyone. Guests can pick and choose what suits them and there is minimal clean up or effort required for the host.

A current trend with serving meat platters is a charcuterie board or grazing platter. Charcuterie boards, pronounced shahr-koo-tuh–ree, are incredibly versatile. They consist of various cold meats, crackers, dips, cheese and other finger foods. Not only are these boards a great way to provide for your guests, they also look amazing on the table.

Grazing platters are one of the best no cook Christmas recipes as they take a lot of stress off the host. Make it even easier on yourself by asking everyone to bring something to contribute to the feast.

charcuterie board
Some of the best meats to include in your Christmas charcuterie board include:

  • Salami – various degrees of heat and flavour
  • Ham – off the bone, shredded or sliced
  • Smoked salmon, trout or mackerel
  • Cold barbeque chicken
  • Prosciutto, coppa, pancetta
  • Mortadella
  • Chorizo, Cabanossi and twiggy sticks
  • Turkey
  • Pulled Pork

When assembling your charcuterie board, let creativity be your guide.  Include seasonal fruits such as berries, melon and pineapple. Dips like french onion, tzatziki, guacamole and hummus are always popular. Try to incorporate a variety of crackers, breadsticks and munchies as well. Once the platter is set up, clean up and serving is minimal. Sit back and enjoy your Christmas get-together.

Can’t cut it with cold cuts yourself? Many companies now offer pick up options. Book a platter or charcuterie board from a local deli to bring home on Christmas Eve. This will make Christmas Day a breeze, with even less packaging to deal with.

No cook Christmas recipes: Sandwiches and wraps

Are you are aiming for a no cook Christmas?

Recipes are not always required. Why not make it easy and stick to crowd-pleasing sandwiches or wraps? Simply set up a platter of sandwiches to suit all tastes and dietary requirements. Your guests can choose to try whatever they like and you can enjoy your Christmas lunch out of the kitchen. Some ideas for sandwich fillings include:

  • Chicken and avocado
  • Chicken Caesar
  • Cheese and salad
  • Bacon, Lettuce and tomato (BLT)
  • Egg salad
  • Tuna salad
  • Smoked salmon and cream cheese
  • Roast beef and mustard

Make sure to include gluten-free options if you have guests who cannot eat wheat. There are many gluten-free breads and wraps available at your local supermarket. You can also make a vegan or vegetarian option, depending on your guests.

To prepare your sandwiches, gather the ingredients as close to Christmas as possible. One option to make things easier is to order home delivery or choose click-and-collect from your local supermarket ahead of time. This way, you can be prepared weeks in advance. All you have to do on the day is drive up and load your shopping into your car.

To prepare your sandwiches, get the kids involved. Set up a production line with someone stationed for spreads, someone for fillings etc. Get hold of some lovely platters and leave the arranging till last.

Pantry staples for no-cook perfection

When planning to have a no cook Christmas, recipes often require the same staples. It’s good to have these items on hand for Christmas and summer, when the heat is on. Why not try pulling out some of these pantry items and whipping up a delicious dinner? There is no need to slave away in a hot kitchen this summer.

Canned tuna is a reliable no-cook staple. You can use it in a sandwich, wrap or a salad. Try making tuna salad with mayo and celery. Tuna is a popular crowd-pleaser for Christmas or those summer nights you’d rather not be in the kitchen.

Olives are another amazing staple to have on hand. You can use them as a snack on their own. If guests pop by, you can serve them with crackers and cheese. They make a delicious addition to salads and will spice up any platter. Try different flavours at the supermarket to find your favourite.

Canned beans are so versatile and great to have in the cupboard. Beans can be added to salads, mashed up into dips and even used in wraps. They are vegan and vegetarian-friendly, which makes them a winner with everybody. There are so many varieties to try and the possibilities are endless. Three bean mix, spring onions, cucumber, parsley and lemon juice make a delicious bean salad.

No cook Christmas recipes: Keep it cool and sweet

Let’s not forget the sweet-tooths amongst us! Luckily, there are a lot of different options for dessert that require little or no cooking. Some no cook Christmas recipes for dessert include:

Jelly: Easy, refreshing and popular with adults and kids alike. You can serve your jelly with cream or ice-cream for extra summer brownie points. Try adding some seasonal fruit or a splash of vodka as well if you want to mix it up (adults only of course).

On the subject of Jelly, you can’t go past a trifle. Mixing jelly, custard and pre-made sponge cake is a breeze and requires no cooking. You can top your trifle with whipped cream, fresh fruit, nuts or chocolate.

There are plenty of recipes for trifle online. Like potato salad, everyone has their own spin on this favourite.

For Christmas this year, serve some ready-made pudding and custard along with fruit mince pies, fresh berries and chocolate. Many varieties of pudding can be found at the supermarket in a range of sizes. There is no need to spend days making your own pudding. Buy premade and save your time and energy.

Another great option for dessert is to buy a pavlova base. All you need to do is top your pavlova with your favourite toppings. Whipped cream, seasonal fruit, chocolate and passionfruit pulp are all popular choices.

Then there’s the perennial favourite: ice cream! There is certainly no cooking required with this one. Supermarket freezers are stocked with flavours and varieties. Choose dairy-free or indulge in a traditional Australian brand. Grab a box of ice blocks for the kids and Christmas is sure to be merry and bright.

You can also make ice cream at home if you have an ice cream maker. All you need is milk, sugar, cream and a final ingredient or two for flavour. Crumbled oreo cookies, chopped hazelnuts and cocoa, vanilla bean, tinned peaches or blended bananas all work well. Try rum and raisin for a Christmas feel. Alternatively, let your store-bought ice cream soften in the fridge, then stir your favourite indulgence through – think Violet Crumble, or chopped mango.

Stay cool this Christmas

Christmas is hot here in Australia. There is no need to work in the kitchen all day to deliver a delicious lunch or dinner. Many of our traditional Christmas favourites can be reworked into a no-cook option.

Try delicious cold roast beef instead of a hot roast. Use a premade pavlova base instead of baking your own. Serve up a potato salad instead of roast potatoes. Spend your Christmas (and summer) staying cool instead of heating up in the kitchen. Then, when you have finished with your salads and charcuterie boards, you’re free to hit the beach!

Of course there’s another option to consider if you really don’t want to cook this Christmas, and that’s to head into Lantern Club for Christmas lunch 2019. We’ll be here to make the day special and stress-free for you and your family. Click here to make a booking and leave the rest to us!