50 Dinners Under 500 Calories from 50 Dinners Under 500 Calories Gallery
50 Dinners Under 500 Calories Gallery
50 Dinners Under 500 Calories
For many, dinner is the largest meal of the day. A hearty, caloric dinner might be par for the course for you and your family. Other people prefer to eat their larger meals with breakfast and are looking for something lighter to fill their dinner plates.
If you’re here because you’re calorie-counting for weight loss, be warned — it might not be as effective as you think. But regardless of whether you're trying to cut calories or not, these recipes are a good idea to add to your dinner rotation. Tacos to feed the family? Done. Delicious pasta dinners that don't overload on fatty sauces, but still feel indulgent? You'll find them in this round-up. There's a recipe to satisfy every craving included in this list. With these recipes, you can cook an incredible dinner at home without exceeding 500 calories per serving.
Despite their low-calorie appeal, these recipes are actually really tasty — unlike other low-cal swaps you can only pretend to want to eat. Plus, they’re jam-packed with nutrients from whole grains, lean proteins, and all kinds of easy-to-cook vegetables. Here are 50 delicious recipes that are still under 500 calories.
Asian-Style Baked Rockfish
Sesame oil, fresh lime slices, soy sauce, red pepper powder, julienned carrots, ginger, garlic, and lots of cilantro pack this dish with oh-so delicious Asian flavors. Crushed peanuts, added at the very end, deliver a necessary crunch for this one-dish dinner.
Barbecued Chicken With Pineapple and Chipotle Sauce
The perfect way to jazz up a chicken dinner? Sweet, spicy barbecue sauce. Yum! The tang of pineapple brings out the flavor in the sweet and savory sauce. Serve with cilantro and enjoy.
Barbecue Chicken Salad
Regular barbecue can load on hundreds of extra calories from slathers of sauce and heaps of carb-filled side dishes. To satisfy your craving without all these extras, make this light and fresh salad for a weeknight dinner.
Black Bean and Lime Quinoa Salad
This recipe is perfect for meal prep, since it makes for a filling lunch and a delicious dinner. It keeps well in the fridge and only gets more flavorful on day two. This recipe uses jackfruit as a vegan alternative to meat, but you can make yours with whatever fillings you like.
Broccoli Cauliflower Casserole
This creamy, cheesy meatless dinner comes together effortlessly thanks to frozen broccoli and cauliflower florets. You can easily make this in advance and freeze it for a vegetable-laden dish that even kids will eat.
Butternut Squash and Coconut Soup With Shrimp
Savor this Thai-inspired soup, with a base of creamy coconut milk, rich butternut squash, a hint of spicy peppers and succulent shrimp. For a shortcut, look for peeled and cubed butternut squash in the produce department. Serve over rice or noodles if you like.
How do you make meatballs healthier? Swap red meat for lean ground chicken and bake them instead of frying. Doused in delicious red sauce and covered in cheese, serve these over whole-wheat pasta for a better-for-you take on an Italian classic!
Chicken Pasta Primavera Salad With Parmesan Vinaigrette
This pasta salad is just as flavorful as it is colorful! As pasta salads go, this is likely one of the healthiest. It uses an oil-based vinaigrette instead of your usual fatty mayonnaise, and is filled to the brim with colorful fresh vegetables.
Chinese Tofu Chopped Salad With Orange Sesame Miso Dressing
This salad is the opposite of boring. Fresh, crunchy, sweet, and savory — this salad truly has it all. All of the vegetables are either shredded or chopped small so that the sweet and tangy dressing can evenly coat each bite.
Citrus-Glazed Mahi Mahi
This refreshing summertime dish is surprisingly easy to make and bursting with citrus-y flavor. Pair it with some rice or another healthy side dish for a complete meal.
Creamy Butternut Squash Pasta
Butternut squash serves as the perfect low-calorie, high-fiber base to a still-creamy pasta sauce you can enjoy. Top with pumpkin seeds for some healthy fats and enjoy your pasta!
Easy Baked Eggplant Parmigiano
Love chicken parm but want to sneak some vegetables into your diet? Eggplant parmigiano is about to become your best friend. This easy eggplant parmesan involves baking the eggplant and then simply layering everything in an oven-proof dish. It’s as simple as that!
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Easy Chicken Enchiladas
These chicken enchiladas are a tasty combination of white meat chicken, tart salsa verde, creamy sour cream, and melted Monterey Jack cheese. Baked in one loaded pan, this recipe calls for minimal dishes and tons of satisfaction.
Farro and Feta Stuffed Peppers
Grape Marinated Chicken Salad Lettuce Wraps
These lettuce wraps are crisp, refreshing, and perfect for a picnic in the sun. The chicken salad filling keeps well as leftovers, too, so you can pack the remainder for a healthy, no-heat office lunch!
Covered with fresh vegetables and heart-healthy olives, this flatbread is a light, nutritious dinner option that’s sure to satisfy.
Grilled Chicken Huarache
These Mexican open-faced sandwiches can serve as either an appetizer or entrée, depending on how big you choose to make the huaraches. Either way, they’re delicious and flavorful, a creative new way to serve grilled chicken!
Grilled Fish Tacos and Taco Sauce
Fish tacos are the perfect fun party recipe that doesn’t load on extra calories and fat. Stuffed with flaky fish fillets, vegetables, and a flavorful spicy sauce, these will satisfy even the strongest of taco cravings.
Grilled Salmon With Meyer Lemons and Creamy Cucumber Salad
Salmon provides all kinds of benefits to your body, ranging from improving your heart health to helping stave off dementia and Alzheimer’s. This recipe is easy to make and flavorfully zesty.
Grilled Shrimp and Eggplant Summer Noodle Bowls
This recipe is perfect for when you’re craving takeout but don’t want to indulge in a greasy bowl of noodles. A lighter option, these bowls include shrimp for a healthy protein and eggplant to fill you up with vegetables.
Herbed Steelhead Trout With Fried Carrots
Trout has a ton of lean protein, perfect for a filling, low-carb dinner. Since the fish is so flavorful on its own, all you need is a simple lemony marinade to prepare this delicious dish. Paired with fried carrots, it’s the perfect filling entrée.
Indian-Spiced Tomato and Black Bean Soup
Here’s a creative twist on a classic — black bean soup with a kick of Indian spices and cilantro. Black beans have a ton of protein and fiber, perfect for a filling, nourishing dinner.
Instant Pot Chicken Tortilla Soup
Contrary to what the name may have you believe, this recipe does not have to include any actual tortillas. So your low-carb-loving friends can still indulge in your home-cooked meal. Sauteing the vegetables before adding them to the soup kicks up the flavor and texture of this classic Mexican-inspired dinner.
Instant Pot Sesame-Ginger Chicken
This crunchy kale salad recipe is keto-friendly and can be made in your Instant Pot — perfect for a healthy weeknight meal. Made with Asian-inspired marinade, the chicken is incredibly flavorful, but still healthy!
Instant Pot Vegetable Lasagna
Lasagna has a reputation for being very high-maintenance and very high-calorie, but a multi-cooker makes it easy to make for anyone who is a big fan of this dish. Plus, this recipe is just 300 glorious and carb-filled calories per serving. You don’t even have to boil the noodles first!
Japanese Grilled Chicken Skewers
Skip the sodium-heavy stir fry and make these simple chicken skewers instead. With scallions, sesame seeds, and a delicious tare sauce, these Japanese-inspired skewers are perfectly paired with rice and some grilled vegetables.
Lemony Kale Spaghetti
If you’re going to carb-load on spaghetti, you may as well load up with kale, as well. It’s hailed as a superfood for its many vitamins and minerals, and tastes great paired with lemony sauce and — of course — cheese!
Linguine With Clams, Mussels, and Peppers
Looking to try something new? Cooking with shellfish might sound ambitious, but it’s easier than you might think. Plus, these shellfish make for a low-calorie, enticing addition to a pasta-heavy meal.
Mandarin Chicken With Giant Couscous and Charred Broccoli
Roasted chicken thighs are a satisfying, savory alternative to boring old grilled chicken that the whole family will love. Cooked in a citrusy marinade alongside onions, these are the opposite of bland. They are served with a whole grain couscous and broccoli for a complete, balanced meal.
Mixed Veggie and Chicken Quesadilla
Sneak some extra vegetables onto your family’s plates with these cheesy, delicious quesadillas. Kids love them, and they’re super healthy! Don’t worry too much about the cheese — it’s actually got a lot of unexpected health benefits.
Moroccan-Spiced Couscous Salad
Bored with your usual dinner rotation? Spice up your menu with this Moroccan-inspired, whole grain recipe. Filled with vegetables and a myriad of spices, there won’t be a dull moment for your taste buds.
One-Pan Sweet Potato and Egg Hash
Save yourself some cleanup by making a one-pan recipe that can still feed a crowd. This meal tastes incredible and couldn’t be easier to prepare. The vibrant colors from the sweet potato and eggs are contrasted with the fresh cilantro to make this dish stunning to look at.
Planked Salmon With Mango and Watermelon Salsa
This is the perfect summer seafood recipe. Salsa with mango, watermelon, serrano peppers, and fresh mint adds pizazz to healthy fillets of salmon.
Pork Chops With Apple Raspberry Barbecue Sauce
These sweet and savory pork chops taste even better than they look. Serve these with a vegetable-rich side dish for a complete meal everyone will love.
Quinoa Salad With Goat’s Cheese, Basil, and Crispy Prosciutto
This is a rich, indulgent salad, full of big flavors. The crisp basil perfectly complements savory prosciutto, all of which is folded neatly within heart-healthy quinoa for a nourishing bowl of whole grains.
Ranchero Chicken and Rice
Southwestern cuisine never fails to zest up the dinner table with spicy, lime-flavored dishes. This simple chicken and rice recipe is no exception. Pair it with avocado or homemade guacamole instead of sour cream for some extra healthy fats!
Red Lentil Coconut Soup
You can whip up this simple soup recipe in just one hour. Lentils are friendly to your heart, your stomach, and your wallet, since they’re so cheap and filled with nutrients. The coconut milk adds a creamy texture that can’t be beat.
Rosemary-Lime Wild Alaska Salmon Kebabs
Looking for a new way to serve up salmon? Make these kebabs! Simple, delicious, and packed with extra vegetables, they’re ready in under an hour and make for a light weeknight dinner perfect for a family.
A salade nicoise is a classic French recipe that withstands the test of time; filled with protein, crunchy vegetables, and hard-boiled eggs, it’s a salad that can actually keep you full. This salad is super simple to prepare — make a larger portion to save some to pack for lunch the next day!
Screamin’ Good Carnitas
As the name implies, these tacos are so good, you’ll be screaming for more. These light and fresh tacos are sure to be a hit with the whole family. Double the recipe to feed a crowd!
The classic sizzling fajita platter found in Mexican restaurants across the globe is a cinch to replicate in your own kitchen. Fajitas can be made with almost any protein, but this recipe uses steak while still remaining miraculously under 500 calories per serving.
Sunny Side-Up Skillet With Vegetable Hash
Breakfast for dinner, anyone? Eggs are so good for you, you could totally eat them for every meal of the day. Potatoes, garlic, and vegetables jazz up these simple sunny-side-up eggs.
Vietnamese Beef Noodle Soup
Who said noodles had to be banished from your low-calorie dinner menu? Vietnamese-style pho is filled with vegetables and spices, all with unique health benefits.
Warm Winter Salad
On a cold winter evening, it can be tempting to gorge on cheesy and cream-filled comfort foods. But this bowl is so tasty and satisfying, you won’t mind cozying up with nutritious vegetables, instead. Roasted squash pairs delightfully with heart-healthy pumpkin seeds and flavorful goat cheese. Drizzle with a balsamic vinaigrette and dig in!
White Chicken Chili
This recipe is made using your slow cooker, so it’s perfect to throw together in a cinch. Lean chicken breast, avocado, fresh vegetables… Everything in this light soup is good for you. Now that you’ve got weeknight dinners taken care of, it’s time to catch up on some meal prep. These recipes use just one pan and are perfect to make ahead to freeze, heat, and eat!
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