11 Deliciously Healthy Dinners That Are Under 500 Calories Each

A low-calorie meal doesn’t have to taste bad nor should it take forever to make. If you’re watching your food intake, here are 11 recipes that will make your taste buds happy even as your waistline stays the same.

1. Chicken Chili

healthy dinners 1You will need:
For the chile: ½ head of cauliflower, diced; 1 onion, diced; 1 red bell pepper, diced; 1 poblano pepper, diced; 2 garlic cloves, minced; 1 28-ounce can organic tomato puree; ½ cup chicken stock; 2 tablespoons chili powder; ¼ – ½ teaspoon chipotle chile flakes, to taste; 1 teaspoon sea salt; ½ teaspoon freshly ground pepper; 6 boneless, skinless chicken thighs, cut in large chunks
For the toppings: 1 avocado; 1 lime; fresh cilantro

Add all chili ingredients to crock pot and stir to combine. Cook on low for 8 hours. Taste and adjust seasonings. Cube avocado, cut lime into wedges and chop fresh cilantro. Serve chili topped with avocado, a squeeze of lime juice, and cilantro to taste.

432 calories

2. Sweet Potato Burger

healthy dinners 2You will need:
For the burger: 1 medium sweet potato; 1/2 cup dry millet; 1/2 cup rolled oats; 2 tablespoons fresh cilantro; 1 1/2 teaspoons garlic powder; 1 teaspoon cumin; 1/2 teaspoon salt; 1/2 teaspoon pepper; 15-ounce can black beans, rinsed and drained; 1 cup corn; 2 tablespoons olive oil; 8 whole wheat hamburger buns
For the cream sauce: 1 ripe avocado; 3 ounces nonfat plain Greek yogurt; 1 teaspoon fresh lime juice; 1/4 teaspoon salt; 1 Roma tomato, diced

Preheat oven to 400°F. Bake the sweet potato for 50-60 minutes or until soft. While the sweet potato is baking, cook the millet until soft, about 20-30 minutes. Once the sweet potato is baked and cooled, combine sweet potato, oats, one cup of black beans, cilantro, garlic powder, cumin, salt, pepper, and 1 tablespoon oil in a food processor. Mix until smooth. In a separate bowl, mix together the sweet potato mixture with the remaining beans, the corn, and millet. Heat the remaining tablespoon of oil in a large pan on medium heat. Place heaping spoonfuls of the mixture onto the hot pan, and use the back of the spoon to pat them flat and form four-inch-diameter patties. Brown both sides of each burger. While the patties are cooking, mash the avocado with a fork. Mix in the Greek yogurt, lime juice, and salt. Stir in the tomatoes, and set aside. Serve on a bun with a dollop of avocado cream sauce.

367 calories

3. Zucchini Boats

healthy dinners 3You will need:
For the sauce: olive oil spray; 2 garlic cloves, minced; 1 or 2 tbsp chipotle chile in adobo sauce, more if you like it spicy; 1-1/2 cups tomato sauce; 1/2 tsp chipotle chili powder; 1/2 tsp ground cumin; 2/3 cup fat-free low-sodium chicken broth; kosher salt and fresh pepper to taste
For the Zucchini boats: 4 (about 32 oz total) medium zucchini; 1 tsp oil; 1/2 cup green onions, chopped; 3 cloves garlic, crushed; 1/2 cup diced green bell pepper; 1/4 cup chopped cilantro; 8 oz cooked shredded chicken breast; 1 tsp cumin; 1/2 tsp dried oregano; 1/2 tsp chipotle chili powder; 3 tbsp water or fat free chicken broth; 1 tbsp tomato paste; salt and pepper to taste
For the topping: 3/4 cup reduced fat shredded sharp cheddar; chopped scallions and cilantro for garnish

For the enchilada sauce: In a medium saucepan, spray oil and sauté garlic. Add chipotle chiles, chili powder, cumin, chicken broth, tomato sauce, salt and pepper. Bring to a boil. Reduce the heat to low and simmer for 5-10 minutes. Set aside until ready to use. For the Zucchini Boats: Bring a large pot of water to boil. Preheat oven to 400°. Cut zucchini in half lengthwise and using a small spoon or melon baller, scoop out flesh, leaving 1/4″ thick. Chop the scooped out flesh of the zucchini in small pieces and set aside.

464 calories

4. Lentil Pasta with Arugula Pesto

healthy dinners 4You will need:
3 cloves of garlic, peeled; 2 cups arugula; juice and zest from 1 lemon; ½ cup pine nuts; ¼ cup olive oil; ½ cup shredded parmesan; salt & pepper; 12 oz Uddo’s lentil pasta; shredded parmesan and red pepper flakes for serving.

Prepare pasta as directed. While pasta is cooking, process garlic cloves in food processor until finely chopped. Add arugula (two large handfuls), lemon zest and juice, nuts, oil, parmesan and salt and pepper to taste. Process until desired consistency. Toss with pasta and top with shredded parmesan and red pepper flakes if desired.

397 calories

5. Asparagus Salad with fried eggs

healthy dinners 5You will need: Trim an inch off the root end of the asparagus to get rid of the woody part. Using a vegetable peeler and starting from the root end, shave the asparagus into thin ribbons (6-8 large stalks should yield about a cup).

In a medium nonstick skillet, heat 2 teaspoons olive oil over medium-high heat, then add the thinly sliced shallot. Cook for 1 minute, until shallot has softened slightly. Add asparagus ribbons, season with kosher salt and freshly ground pepper, and cook for 2 minutes, tossing occasionally, until asparagus is cooked al dente (should be crunchy, not soft). Transfer asparagus mixture to a medium mixing bowl, add arugula, chopped tomato, feta, lemon juice, and parsley, and toss. In the same nonstick skillet, heat the remaining olive oil over medium heat. Crack the egg into the pan, season with freshly ground pepper, and turn the heat to low. Cook the egg 2-3 minutes, until the white is completely opaque and set and the edges are starting to brown. Transfer the asparagus salad to a bowl and top with the fried eggs.

395 calories

6. Smoky Steak and Eggs

healthy dinners 6You will need:
2 filet mignon steaks; 1/2 tsp sea salt; 1/2 tsp smoked sea salt flakes, + additional for garnish; 1/4 tsp fresh cracked black pepper; 2 tbsp butter; 1 shallot, thinly sliced; 2 eggs, poached.

Remove steak from the refrigerator and season with salt and pepper. Set the steak aside to come to room temperature for 1 hour. When you are ready to cook, warm a cast iron skillet to medium-high heat for several minutes so that the pan is evenly heated. Melt butter in the skillet. Sear the fillets for 4 to 4 1/2 minutes, flip then continue cooking for an additional 4 to 4 1/2 minutes, for medium-rare steak, depending on the thickness of your steaks. Remove steak from the pan and set aside to rest for 5 minutes. Sauté the shallots in the leftover butter and steak juices of the pan until they turn slightly crispy. Plate steak with a poached egg, crispy shallots and a few pinches of smoked salt flakes.

404 calories

7. Shrimp Arugula Salad

healthy dinners 7You will need:
8 cups baby arugula; 1 pound large cooked shrimp; 1 avocado, diced; 4 tablespoons good quality extra virgin olive oil; 2 lemons, 1 juiced and 1 cut into wedges; coarse sea salt and fresh cracked pepper
Add arugula, shrimp and avocado to large bowl. Drizzle with half of olive oil, juice of one lemon, and salt and pepper to taste. Toss lightly, then add more olive oil, if needed, to just lightly coat arugula. Taste and adjust seasonings. Serve with lemon wedges on the side.

328 calories

8. Paella

healthy dinners 8You will need:
2 Tbsp olive oil; 1½ lb (skinless, boneless) chicken thighs, cut into bite-size pieces; 3 tsp smoked paprika; 2 cups short-grain rice (I used arborio); 1-14.5 oz can diced tomatoes; 1 cup chicken broth; 1 cup white wine; 4 oz cured chorizo, roughly chopped (I found this in the packaged deli meat section); 1 medium onion, diced; 4 cloves garlic, minced; pinch of saffron; 3 cups frozen peas; 1 cup chopped parsley for serving; lemon wedges for serving

Heat oil in large pan. Add chicken and sprinkle with half of paprika and season with salt and pepper. Cook until golden brown, about 5 minutes, stirring occasionally. Transfer chicken to the slow cooker with a slotted spoon. Add rice to pan and cook for about 3 minutes, stirring occasionally. Add to slow cooker. Add remaining ingredients to slow cooker, season with salt and pepper and stir to combine. Cook on high for 2 hours, until rice is soft. Stir in peas and let sit for 10 minutes. Serve with parsley and lemon wedges.

467 calories

9. Butternut Squash and Red Lentil Soup

healthy dinners 9You will need:
2 tablespoons olive oil or 1/4 cup water (for water saute); 1 medium yellow onion, diced; 1 large butternut squash, cubed (about 8 cups); 1 1/2 cups red lentils; 2 teaspoons dried sage or 2 tablespoons fresh minced; 7 cups vegetable broth or water; himalayan salt & white or fresh cracked pepper, to taste

In a large dutch oven or stock pot, heat oil/water over medium high heat, add onions and saute for about 5 minutes, or until soft. Add sage and squash and cook a few minutes stirring occasionally. Add lentils, broth and salt & pepper, bring to a boil, cover, reduce heat to low and simmer for about 30 minutes, until squash is fork tender and lentils are soft. Once ready and slightly cooled, puree soup using your preferred method. Use an immersion blender and puree soup right in the pot until desired consistency. Or you can puree in your blender or food processor, this method may take two or three batches to complete. Add extra liquids as needed for desired thickness. Serve topped with pine nuts and chopped sage if you like, fresh cracked pepper would also be great. Serves 4 – 6.

416 calories

10. Veggie “Sushi” Rolls

healthy dinners 10You will need:
2 organic raw sushi nori sheets; 1 Avocado, mashed; ¼-1/2 organic red bell pepper, cut into thin strips; ¼ large organic carrot, cut into thin strips; ¼ organic zucchini, cut into thin strips; ½ cup of alfalfa sprouts (or any other sprouts you enjoy).
For the secret sauce: 2-4 Tbs. of nutritional yeast (depends on your taste preference, I like a lot); 1 Tbs. of Dijon mustard (can swap out for any mustard you like; honey, hot, sweet, etc.); 1-2 tsp. of gluten free, low-sodium Tamari sauce (or Coconut Aminos); 1 Tbs./squeeze of fresh lemon or lime juice; 1 Tbs. of fresh organic cilantro, finely chopped; salt and pepper to taste

To prepare the sauce: Mix all ingredients into a small mixing bowl, until a creamy “paste” is created, if you feel the texture is to thick you may add more liquid in the form of water or lemon/lime juice; if you feel the texture is too thin, add more nutritional yeast.
Lay the nori sheets on a flat surface, a counter top or cutting board. Cut, dice and mash the avocado into a separate bowl and save on the side for now. Pour and spread half of the Secret Sauce on the closest end of each nori sheet to you (bottom). Spread half of the mashed avocado at the closet end of each nori sheet (where you spread the Secret Sauce). Lay thinly sliced red bell peppers, carrots, and zucchini alongside and on top of the mashed avocado, parallel to the edge of the nori sheet (horizontally). Top with alfalfa sprouts. With a steady yet quick hand, take the edge with all the “filling” and roll/flip over onto the nori sheet just until you can no longer see the “filling”; continue this rolling action untill you reach the other end. Simply wet your index finger with water on the far edge until the nori sheet is damp (this creates a “glue” to hold it all together). Finish rolling and press the wet edge onto the rest of the roll to complete. Lightly dampen your hand with water and run alongside the whole roll to allow the complete nori roll to become slightly damp (this makes it easier to cut). Repeat above for the second nori sheet.

512 calories

11. Spaghetti Squash with spinach, parmesan, and a fried egg

healthy dinners 11You will need:
2 teaspoons olive oil, divided; 1 medium shallot, halved and thinly sliced; 3 cloves garlic, thinly sliced; 1 5-ounce bag baby spinach; 1 ounce Parmesan, finely grated; about 1 ½ cups roasted spaghetti squash (leftover from Monday’s dinner); 1 large egg; ⅛ teaspoon kosher salt; freshly ground pepper; 1 tablespoon parsley leaves; ½ tablespoon sliced chives

Heat 1 teaspoon olive oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Add the sliced shallot and cook, stirring often, until the shallot is soft, about 2 minutes. Add the sliced garlic and cook, stirring constantly, until the garlic is fragrant, about 30 seconds. Add the baby spinach and cook, stirring often, until the spinach is soft and wilted, about 1 minute. Add the Parmesan and the roasted spaghetti squash and cook, stirring often, to melt most of the cheese and heat the squash all the way through. When the mixture is hot, turn the heat off and let the food sit in the skillet while you fry the egg. Heat the remaining teaspoon of olive oil in a nonstick skillet over medium-low heat. Crack the egg(s) into the skillet, season with the kosher salt and freshly ground pepper and cook until the white is set but the yolk is still runny, 2-3 minutes. Transfer the spaghetti squash to a plate or bowl, then top with the fried egg(s) and herbs.

403 calories


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