The 75 Healthy Dinners You Need in Your Recipe Arsenal
If you're in the market for some new, healthy dinner recipes, you've come to the right place. Whether you're vegan, vegetarian, gluten-free, or even Paleo, there are a number of delicious dishes in this long list of 75 that will satisfy your dietary preferences and your palate. Don't stay stuck in that healthy dinner rut one more night; start scrolling, and get cooking!
— Additional reporting by Leta Shy and Jenny Sugar
Rainbow Quinoa Salad
This beautiful veggie-packed quinoa salad is under 350 calories, offering 13 grams of protein and seven grams of fiber. Any vegetarians or vegans looking for a protein-rich recipe to support weight loss will fall hard for this salad.
Roasted Sweet Potato and Black Bean Burrito
Roasted sweet potatoes swirling with tender black beans and corn, succulent red peppers, and juicy tomatoes wrapped in a warm whole-wheat tortilla make this one delicious and gratifying meal. It is under 500 calories and offers almost 15 grams each of fiber and protein.
Blueberry, Quinoa, and Kale Salad
This colorful salad has a bit of everything: blueberries, carrots, tomatoes, almonds, nori, kale, and quinoa, all blended with an Asian-inspired soy ginger dressing. Talk about eating the rainbow!
Toasted Quinoa and Cabbage
If you need a break from a weekend of heavy meals, then make this digestion-aiding lemony toasted quinoa and wilted cabbage dish.
A bowl of this Indian-spiced tofu and chard has the protein and fiber to keep you satisfied. Even better, the combination of turmeric and ginger gives this recipe both metabolism-boosting and anti-inflammatory properties. It's one of my favorite ways to refuel my body after a challenging yoga class.
Paleo Stuffed Peppers
For a warming, quick supper, look to these Italian-style Paleo stuffed peppers for inspiration. With just a few ingredients and less than 30 minutes, you can create a fresh, clean meal with more than 30 grams of protein.
Fried rice should definitely not be on anyone's healthy-eating menu, so get the taste — and kill the cravings — with this Paleo-perfect cauliflower fried "rice" recipe instead.
Hemp and Cabbage Detox Salad
If you're on the hunt for a quick and tasty detoxifying recipe, this crunchy cabbage and hemp salad is for you. If you haven't tried them yet, it's time to give hemp seeds a try. They're a great source of omega-3s and vitamin E for vegans and vegetarians, and the combination of the cold-pressed oil and seeds in this recipe gives this fresh salad a nutty flavor you'll love.
Penne Alla "Not-Ka"
Penne alla vodka is an Italian staple that heavily lays on the cream and calories. Even without the booze and significantly less dairy thrown into the pot, this penne alla "not-ka" brings the same tangy flavor and comforting texture indicative of the original.
A light, refreshing meal is perfect for hot days. Try this chirashi bowl, made with fresh vegetables, brown rice, and sushi-grade tuna, to cool off in the heat.
Vegan Bean Salad
After a hard workout, this vegan bean salad is the perfect, protein-packed refreshing meal. It has more than 13 grams of fiber and nearly 17 grams to fill you up and help your muscles recover.
Red Pepper and Lentil Bake
High in vitamin A, vitamin C, and fiber, red bell peppers make a perfect accompaniment to protein-rich lentils in this low-calorie recipe. Even better news? You'll be surprised at how large an under-250-calorie portion of this cheesy red pepper and lentil bake really is.
Zucchini Noodles Aglio et Olio
For those days when you're craving nothing but pasta, reach for a huge bowl of this garlicky zucchini pasta dish. A sprinkle of almond meal instead of breadcrumbs takes this recipe over the top.
Santa Fe Vegetable Soup
This Paleo-friendly vegetable soup simmers nicely in your slow cooker for dinner — be sure to make enough for an easy lunch the next day. While this recipe uses shredded chicken and chicken stock, you can substitute them with more beans and vegetable stock for a vegetarian dish that still packs in the protein you need to fight fat.
Egg White Frittata
Classic Mediterranean ingredients like peppers, onion, and spinach bring texture, flavor, and nutrition to the dish, while egg whites and feta provide over 20 grams of protein to this low-calorie frittata that actress Lea Michele loves any time of day.
Paleo Pad Thai
No need for takeout; this low-calorie, noodle-free Paleo pad thai is waistline-friendly and just as tasty. It uses spaghetti squash instead of noodles to save on calories. This lower-carb riff on the classic rice noodle dish has over 300 percent of your recommended vitamin C and vitamin A for the day, more than 50 percent of your calcium, and over 30 percent of your iron.
Healthy Chicken Salad
Even if you're cutting back on dairy, it doesn't mean you can't enjoy a hot bowl of comforting soup. This light pumpkin bisque gets its creamy and rich texture from a secret ingredient.
With more than 20 grams of protein and nearly 40 percent of your recommended fiber for the day, this 350-calorie meal consists of perfectly poached eggs swimming in a fragrant and spicy tomato sauce bath. To amp things up in the nutrition department, garbanzo beans are added for even more protein, while swiss chard adds vitamin A, vitamin C, and iron. Both the cinnamon and red pepper flakes bring some serious fat-fighting spice to your plate!
Lighten up traditional carbonara with this whole-wheat spaghetti carbonara made with low-fat milk and, yes, a healthy dose of parmesan cheese.
Sweet Potato Pizza
Cut the carbs but not the comfort with this high-protein, vitamin-A-rich sweet-potato-crust pizza.
Calories per serving (half a pizza): 351
For a taste of Spring in the middle of cold weather, spruce up your salad with this protein-rich not-tuna salad fortified with an entire can of garbanzo beans, aka chickpeas. The pecans and apple pieces give this dish a crisp, fresh feeling.
Paleo Carrot Pasta
Go to bed without the bloat with another bowl of healthy "pasta." This Paleo carrot pasta is comforting and filling without making you feel stuffed.
Broccoli Cheddar Soup
A hearty bowl of creamy cheddar soup can soothe the soul, but it's not always so great for the waist. This healthy cheddar soup recipe keeps the texture you crave but nixes calories by using cauliflower to create a creamy soup base.
Serve these Paleo meatballs on a salad or bed of zucchini noodles, and you'll still hit your under-500-calories goal.
Versatile, quick, and perfect for breakfast, lunch, or dinner, a basic tofu scramble is a great go-to meal. This vegan tofu scramble brings the Southwest to your table, fast.
Broccoli Slaw Pasta
This cheesy, garlicky "pasta" from healthy chef Hungry Girl is the best of both worlds — it is just as fast to make as any simple pasta dish and doesn't come overloaded with carbs. And since it's a similarly low-calorie and low-carb pasta alternative as spaghetti squash (one whole bag of broccoli slaw is only 100 calories and five grams of carbs) without all the prep, it's perfect for any gluten-free girl on the go.
Two-Bean Sweet Potato Soup
Take a twist on classic black bean soup, and opt for low-calorie black and white bean soup with sweet potatoes. This hearty soup makes a delicious Fall supper, and it's a high-protein lunch for work, perfect if you're getting in a midday strength-training session!
A bowl of this detoxifying ginger-carrot soup is high in vitamin A, vitamin C, and manganese, which aids digestion.
When you're craving Indian food at home, cook up this nutrient-dense chickpea and sweet potato curry instead of picking up takeout that's loaded with cream and butter. This vegan recipe is rich in protein, fiber, and flavor.
Quinoa Pizza Bites
If you're craving pizza, opt for these quinoa pizza bites instead. This nutritious treat features the goodness of the whole grain packed with fiber and protein with the flavors of your favorite Italian dish. They're a great snack or special party appetizer, but a plate of these can make a great dinner instead of dialing in takeout.
Calories (for six bites): 288
Panko-Crusted White Fish
This protein-packed, simply prepared panko-crusted white fish recipe is the perfect post-workout dinner.
Split Pea and Sweet Potato Soup
Savory, smooth, and hearty, traditional split pea soup is made with ham hocks to give it that signature salty flavor. But you can easily omit the meat and make the soup with celery and sweet potatoes for a delicious vegan twist.
Polenta and Beans
If you're ready to get creative at dinner, let vegan polenta and beans come to the rescue. It's a filling and spicy meal that offers more than 10 grams of vegan-approved protein for under 300 calories.
Coconut Curry Butternut Squash Soup
This comforting, creamy coconut curry butternut squash soup is cream-free and the perfect way to add a few metabolism-boosting spices like cumin and turmeric to your diet.
The homemade cilantro-lime dressing gives this taco salad a fresh and zesty flavor perfect for the warmer weather. The layered ingredients also offer almost 25 grams of both protein and fiber. This is a great dinner when you need something fast after a hectic day: prep in advance and store in your fridge for a ready-to-go dinner.
Low-Cal Spaghetti in White Wine Sauce
There's no need to drench pasta in heavy cream, butter, and cheese to create a satisfying supper, and this vegan-friendly spaghetti recipe is proof. Fresh produce keeps this saucy recipe low in calories but rich in vitamins A and C.
Vegan Split Pea Soup
One-pot meals like this vegan split pea soup definitely don't lack dimension. With plenty of spices and sweet potatoes, a large bowl will fill you up for hours.
Thai Peanut Soba Noodles
Make this Thai-inspired soba noodle salad for dinner, and enjoy it for lunch the next day. The flavors develop with time, making this protein-rich and fiber-full cold dish perfect as leftovers.
Asian Cauliflower Fried "Rice"
Unlike the greasy Chinese takeout typical of most restaurants, this veggie-packed Paleo "rice" skips the food coma and leaves you feeling satisfied and energized at the end of your meal. The combination of textures and flavors in this comforting Asian-inspired recipe is spot-on, and the blitzed cauliflower easily subs in for rice — you might even trick some picky eaters at your table with this one!
No-Mac and Cheese
What's the secret to making a pasta-less mac and cheese just as irresistible as the classic? Cauliflower, the perfect vehicle for a cheesy, creamy sauce made from cheese, coconut milk, butter, and coconut flour. While this gluten-free no-mac and cheese is under 400 calories, note that it's high in saturated fat, so enjoy this comforting dish in moderation.
Lemon Tuna Salad
Substituting lemon and olive oil for mayonnaise makes for a lighter, brighter tuna salad that's perfectly in line with the Mediterranean diet. Tuck yours into a pita, or serve it on top of a bed of fresh greens.
Crockpot Mexican Chicken
For a healthy, protein-rich meal that doesn't rely on dairy for flavor, try this delicious Mexican-style chicken crockpot recipe full of fresh ingredients. This preparation results in an absolutely delicious, fall-off-the-bone piece of meat.
If you're over the standard meaty turkey burger, try this lighter, greener baked variation. Lean ground turkey cuts out nearly half the fat of traditional recipes, while a slew of scallions and spinach amp up the vitamin C, vitamin A, and iron.
Calories (including one whole-wheat bun): 261
Baked Chicken Parmesan
If your idea of comfort on a plate is an oversize portion of chicken parmesan, this guilt-free recipe needs to make an appearance in your kitchen. With a whopping 47 grams of protein per serving, this 357-calorie dinner will fuel your body with quality nutrition — and keep you from dialing in takeout for yet another night!
Spicy Sweet Potato Salad
High-fiber sweet potatoes in this spicy salad recipe can regulate blood sugar and help you lose weight, while a spicy, antioxidant-rich red pepper and jalapeño dressing ties everything together.
Spaghetti Squash Mac and Cheese
If you're looking to lighten things up the next time you dig into a comforting bowl of mac and cheese, opt for this twist on tradition that amps up the nutritional value as it cuts back on calories and carbs. Versatile and nutrient-rich spaghetti squash lays the base to this recipe, while broccoli adds more vitamin A.
Citrus Chicken Salad
This version of Trader Joe's citrus chicken salad tastes better than the original and is just as low in calories. A mix of digestion-relieving cabbage and papaya and hydrating, antioxidant-rich daikon — along with a tangy, Thai-inspired citrus dressing — makes for a flavorful, filling dinner that's high in protein and low in fat and calories.
Yes, you can eat half a pizza without guilt. This cauliflower-crust pizza features a gluten-free crust and fresh tomatoes, skim mozzarella cheese, and basil leaves for a healthy take on a classic.
Sweet Potato Burger With Creamy Avocado Spread
So robust in flavor, these hearty veggie burgers are made with the goodness of sweet potatoes, black beans, millet, and corn. The creamy avocado sauce on top adds the perfect touch.
Fried chicken is the definition of Southern comfort, but just one piece can weigh in at over 700 calories. Skip the classic, and opt for this lower-calorie, just-as-delicious fried chicken alternative that's baked in the oven.
Spicy Cauliflower Lasagna
Red pepper flakes, cinnamon, and roasted cauliflower give this healthy version of lasagna amazing depth of flavor.
Sausage, Apple, and Butternut Squash Stuffing
Who says stuffing has to be saved for Thanksgiving? This sausage, apple, and butternut squash stuffing makes for a protein- and nutrient-rich dinner any cool night!
Calories (for one-fourth of the recipe): 358
Roasted Roots Soup
This roasted roots soup plays up the natural flavors of the produce and simmers it all in a coconut bath. Sweet potatoes, carrots, onions, and fresh ginger are all used in the recipe — a perfect medley of complementary (and healthy) root veggies.
Eggless Kale Caesar Salad
For just the same addictive taste as the original with an added bonus — vitamin-A-rich superfood kale — opt for this lighter caesar salad dressing instead. This recipe omits the egg yolk and a lot of the cheese for a lower-calorie dressing that tastes exactly like the classic. Using kale instead of romaine lettuce increases the nutrients, adds texture and flavor, and allows the salad to keep in your fridge without going limp.
Spicy Chicken Chili
Substituting ground chicken for beef in this spicy chili recipe brings the same traditional flavors and textures of the classic you crave — just lightened up for your healthy diet.
Baby Kale Sesame Salad
Kale may be a nutritious powerhouse, but its flavor is anything but timid. If you're tired of making soups, smoothies, and salads from the dark green roughage, baby kale makes an excellent alternative. The little leaves are tender, are mild in flavor, and don't require the prep (chopping and massaging) required for their more mature counterparts, but they still contain the disease-fighting nutrients you need. Baby kale, baby spinach, and chard make a perfect delicate combo for this sesame chicken salad.
Raw Veggie Salad
High in fiber, vitamin C, and vitamin A, this raw rainbow salad adds color and flavor to any meal. The water content in romaine works to hydrate your body, while the high fiber content in the red cabbage and carrots aids in healthy digestion, making it a great addition to any long-term weight-loss or shorter detox plan. Add avocado, quinoa, or lean protein to bulk up this salad for a satisfying dinner.
Calories (with dressing, including a quarter of an avocado): 275
Cream-Free Potato Leek Soup
You can do without the butter and cream of the classic potato leek soup recipe and go for this dairy-free potato leek soup, made velvety smooth from pureed beans and potatoes instead.
Apple Cabbage Detox Salad
For a lightened-up take on classic coleslaw, whip up this detox salad instead. Apples marry with the dynamic duo of red and Savoy cabbage, combining for a fiber-filled meal that aids in digestion. The addition of fennel seeds adds to the fiber factor, plus a kick of cayenne boosts your metabolism.
Forget about defrosting that frozen veggie patty for dinner when your fresh, at-home version is waiting in a handful of ingredients you may already have. This quinoa burger recipe makes four fresh patties, so you can prepare for the week in advance.
Calories (per patty): 202
A comforting bowl of spaghetti bolognese is often what's needed after a long day (or any day, really). Loading up on beef, however, can leave you feeling heavy and tired. Solve this problem — and cut back on calories, fat, and cholesterol — with this recipe for vegan bolognese.
Mexican Tempeh Quinoa Salad
Made with cumin, cayenne, fresh lime juice, and cilantro, this Mexican tempeh quinoa salad offers the zesty, fresh flavor you're craving. In one bowl, you get a crazy amount of nutrition — almost 10 grams of fiber and 17.4 grams of protein.
Veggie and Hummus Sandwich
If you're tired of a vegan-friendly sandwich that doesn't satisfy, prepare to build the best veggie sandwich ever. Hummus and avocado provide the fiber and protein you need to stay fueled, and layers of tasty veggies offer crunch, flavor, and important nutrients your body needs.
Butternut Squash Mac and Cheese
Yes, you can have delicious, healthy mac and cheese. This version owes its low calorie count — and appropriate orange hue — to pureed butternut squash.
Low-Cal Fettuccine Alfredo
This fettuccine alfredo dramatically lightens the load by making wise (low-fat) dairy choices that don't affect the flavor or texture and by skipping the butter altogether. And it's fewer than 350 calories per serving!
Turmeric-Spiced Mushroom Pilaf
Turmeric might just be a superspice: it's been known to boost immunity, relieve digestive discomfort, and possibly prevent disease. This turmeric-spiced mushroom pilaf is made with a generous dose of turmeric added to a brown rice and mushroom mixture. The result is a mildly spicy, satisfying one-pot meal that helps you feel your best.
A spicy low-carb "tortilla" soup that's ready in 20 minutes? Sign us up. Since there are so many flavors in this comforting Mexican soup recipe, you won't even miss the high-calorie, high-carb strips of tortilla.
Sweet Potato, Chickpea, and Quinoa Burger
Gluten-Free Veggie Pasta Bake
Using a mix of veggies like zucchini, spaghetti squash, and others instead of penne means you can load on the cheese and still enjoy a low-calorie, ooey-gooey, cheesy bowl of steamy pasta. Even better? This veggie pasta bake is gluten-free.
Creamy Flat-Belly Soup
If your digestion needs a reset, opting for high-fiber, antioxidant-rich foods will help you feel better from the inside out. This creamy chard and spinach soup is easy to make and full of belly-relieving nutrients. Leafy greens, almond butter, and bell pepper will help soothe your stomach and shrink your belly. Adding a touch of low-fat cream cheese turns this soup into a creamy concoction without adding a lot of calories.
Meatloaf and muffins may sound incompatible, but they make sense when they come together in this dish. High in iron and protein, these meaty Paleo muffins are perfect for any low-carb eater looking for tons of energy in a small serving — each 139-calorie muffin has over 18 grams of protein!
Calories (for two muffins): 278
Settle in with a large, comforting bowl of cumin-spiced lentils; packed with protein and fiber, this gluten-free meal satisfies no matter how hungry you are.