Low-Calorie Dinner Recipes on a Budget

Find healthy, delicious budget low-calorie dinner recipes from the food and nutrition experts at EatingWell.

Staff Picks

Vegetable Weight-Loss Soup

Rating: Unrated
21
A big bowl of this veggie-packed minestrone will leave you satisfied for hours without consuming a lot of calories--plus it's an easy way to boost your vegetable servings for the day. Top with a dollop of pesto before devouring this delicious skinny vegetable soup.

Spaghetti with Quick Meat Sauce

Rating: Unrated
15
Instead of opening a jar of sauce, try this easy spaghetti with meat sauce on a weeknight. Serve with steamed broccoli and garlic bread. The recipe makes enough for 8 servings. If you're serving only four for dinner, cook 8 ounces of spaghetti and freeze the leftover sauce.

Middle Eastern Chicken & Chickpea Stew

Rating: Unrated
22
This quick, protein-rich chicken stew recipe gets great flavor from cumin, lemon juice and garlic. Make a double batch and freeze it for a quick healthy dinner. Serve the stew with couscous and steamed broccoli.

Cornbread-Topped Chili Casserole

Rating: Unrated
3
In this healthy casserole recipe--sometimes called tamale pie--the cornbread gets crusty at the edges, thanks to a cast-iron skillet. For the best texture, use yellow cornmeal with a medium grind. Serve with lime wedges for a little extra tang.

Baked Vegetable Soup

Rating: Unrated
13
Originally prepared in the wood-burning hearths of Italian homes, this peasant-style healthy vegetable soup recipe is simple to make in a modern oven. Brimming with artichokes, mushrooms, zucchini and leeks, this easy soup heats up the house as it becomes the perfect warming meal.

Mini Meatloaves with Green Beans & Potatoes

Rating: Unrated
9
This healthy meatloaf recipe and side dishes are all made in the oven on two sheet pans so that everything's ready for the dinner table at the same time. The potatoes go into the oven first to start roasting while the mini meatloaves and green beans are prepped and added to the oven partway through.

Sweet Potato & Black Bean Chili

Rating: Unrated
92
Make a double batch of this quick vegetarian chili, full of black beans and sweet potatoes, and eat it for lunch the next day or freeze the extras for another night. We love the smoky heat from the ground chipotle, but omit it if you prefer a mild chili. Serve with tortilla chips or cornbread and coleslaw.

Sheet-Pan Chicken Fajitas

Rating: Unrated
13
One sheet pan is all you'll need to whip up these zesty chicken fajitas. They're quick and easy to make and cleanup is even faster!

Carrot Soup

Rating: Unrated
34
This easy carrot soup recipe is a great way to use up a bag of carrots that were forgotten in your produce drawer. The carrots cook together with aromatics like onions, garlic and fresh herbs before being puréed into a silky smooth soup that's delicious for dinner or packed up for lunch.

Easy Chicken Enchilada Casserole

Rating: Unrated
3
Casseroles make perfect meal-prep dinners--this enchilada version is so easy to prep ahead. The whole casserole can be built and left to hang out in the refrigerator for up to three days. Then all you have to do is bake it off on a busy night and you have a healthy dinner on the table in a jiff. The quick homemade enchilada sauce in this recipe is great when you don't have any of the canned sauce on hand--just season crushed tomatoes with spices and salt for an instant enchilada sauce.

Mediterranean Chickpea Quinoa Bowl

Rating: Unrated
10
Quinoa and chickpeas pack this vegetarian grain bowl with plenty of plant-based protein. Whip up a batch of these Mediterranean meals and pack in containers with lids to stash in the fridge for easy, healthy grab & go lunches all week long.

Pressure-Cooker Chicken Enchilada Soup

Rating: Unrated
1
This easy soup flavored with chili powder and a splash of lime is quick enough to prepare for a warming weeknight meal thanks to an electric pressure cooker like the Instant Pot. Lean chicken breast is easy to prep, but boneless, skinless chicken thighs would make a great substitute.

Inspiration and Ideas

Slow-Cooker Vegetable Soup

Rating: Unrated
13
Make a big batch of low-calorie veggie-packed soup with ease in this load-and-go crock pot recipe. After simmering away in the slow cooker, portion it into individual serving containers and store in the fridge or freezer for fast, healthy lunches or an easy, satisfying snack. This weight-loss vegetable soup fills you up without a lot of calories, plus it's an easy way to eat more vegetables.

Roasted Root Veggies & Greens over Spiced Lentils

Rating: Unrated
3
This earthy bowl of lentils bursting with Middle Eastern flavors is topped with leftover roasted root veggies from a large batch for an easy weeknight dinner. Keep it vegan or add a drizzle of plain yogurt for extra richness.

Vegetarian Spaghetti Squash Lasagna

Rating: Unrated
13

This low-carb riff on classic lasagna layers mushrooms and tomato sauce with spaghetti squash noodles instead of lasagna pasta. Make the layers right in the shell of the spaghetti squash and top with mozzarella cheese for a melty top and fun presentation. Serve with a green salad and a glass of Chianti for an easy, healthy dinner.