Going meatless, even once a week, can have real health benefits. A vegetarian diet has been shown to reduce your risk of heart disease, type 2 diabetes and even certain types of cancer. Plus, a plant-based diet can make losing weight easier. Why? Plant-based foods, like vegetables, beans and lentils, are full of fiber, which helps you feel satisfied on fewer calories. Here we pulled together some of our best 500-calorie vegetarian dinners to help you lose weight and stay healthy. If you're following a 1,500-calorie diet (a calorie level at most people will lose weight), 500 calories at dinner is an appropriate amount to aim for. With delicious and satisfying meals like these, you won't even miss the meat.
Simmer eggs in a rich tomatoey cream sauce studded with chickpeas and silky spinach for a super-fast vegetarian dinner. Ready in a quick 25 minutes, this easy dinner is ideal for busy weeknights.
• 1/2 piece naan bread (152 calories)
In this healthy version of a creamy pasta primavera, sliced Brussels sprouts and mushrooms cook quickly in a homemade cream sauce to create a veg-heavy pasta dinner. This mouthwatering meal will make its way to your dinner table in just 30 minutes.
• 2 cups mixed greens dressed with 1 Tbsp. Balsamic Vinaigrette (91 calories)
This easy vegetarian salad combines canned black beans, leafy greens, sweet corn, cherry tomatoes and sliced red onion with a creamy avocado-cilantro dressing. This simple salad is tangy, delicious and a great addition to your dinner roundup.
• 1/2 medium baked sweet potato topped with 1 Tbsp. shredded Cheddar cheese, 1 Tbsp. sour cream and 1 Tbsp. salsa (138 calories)
This gluten-free, vegan version of peanut noodles has a high protein content thanks to edamame and peanut butter. Spaghetti squash turns delicately sweet when roasted, which pairs well with the Thai-inspired peanut sauce.
• 1 cup cubed pineapple (83 calories)
This healthy cabbage soup recipe gets tons of flavor and a metabolism-boosting kick from spicy chiles. Top soup with 1/4 avocado, 1 Tbsp. queso fresco and 1 Tbsp. sour cream (127 calories). Make a big batch of this tasty soup and enjoy leftovers for lunch.
• 1 serving tortillas chips (140 calories)
• 1/2 cup pico de gallo or salsa (40 calories)
Tuck these tasty chickpea patties into whole-wheat pitas and top with tahini sauce for a savory vegetarian sandwich. Add slices of cucumber for some crunch and toss the remaining cucumber with a little salt, pepper and lemon juice for a quick cucumber side salad.
• 1 Tbsp. Tahini Sauce with Lemon & Garlic (50 calories)
• 1/2 (6-inch) whole-wheat pita bread (84 calories)
• 1 cup sliced cucumber tossed with a little lemon juice, salt and pepper (16 calories)
In a vegan riff on green goddess dressing, cashews provide a creamy base with tons of flavor from herbs and apple-cider vinegar. Drizzle it all over this bowl of quinoa and roasted vegetables to make a satisfying vegan dinner or easy packable lunch that is ready in just 30 minutes.
• 1 serving Chocolate-Pistachio Kiwi (142 calories)
Knock it out of the park at dinner with this composed salad recipe. This filling salad packs in colorful vegetables and a variety of textures from whole grains, seeds and a creamy homemade dressing for a photo-worthy, healthy meal.
• Whole-wheat baguette (1/8 loaf) (119 calories)
Made with convenient canned beans, this quick and healthy Indian recipe is an authentic chickpea curry that you can make in minutes. If you want an additional vegetable, stir in some roasted cauliflower florets to fill this dish out.
• 1 cup Easy Brown Rice (220 calories)
Salsa and some pantry staples give this vegetarian bean burger recipe tons of flavor. We use crushed tortilla chips to bind the burgers together, making them a great vehicle for using up those crumbs that inevitably fall to the bottom of the bag.
• Grilled Sweet Potato Wedges (96 calories)