25 Restaurant Favorites with a Healthy Twist
Instead of going out to eat, recreate your favorite restaurant dishes in your own kitchen. We put a healthy spin on classic dishes by swapping out rice for cauliflower or using half-and-half instead of cream to create a luscious sauce. Recipes like Creamy Lemon Chicken Parmesan and Oven-Fried Fish & Chips are reminiscent of your favorite meals but with a nutritious twist.
General Tso's Chicken
In this healthy version of a General Tso's Chicken recipe, we cut the fat and sodium in half from the original version by not frying the chicken and by using half as much soy sauce in this Chinese-takeout favorite. Serve with steamed baby bok choy or sautéed spinach and steamed brown rice.
Creamy Lemon Chicken Parmesan
This riff on classic chicken Parmesan replaces the usual marinara with a luscious lemony cream sauce. We've lightened it up by using half-and-half instead of cream, with just-as-delicious results. Serve this lemony chicken dinner with whole-wheat pasta or brown rice.
Cauliflower Chicken Fried "Rice"
Get an extra serving of vegetables and cut back on carbs by replacing rice with riced cauliflower in this healthy chicken fried rice recipe.
Cauliflower Tortilla Beef Tacos
These full-flavor tacos are wrapped up in sneaky lower carb tortillas made from cauliflower. The trick is getting as much moisture out of the cauliflower before mixing it with the cheese and eggs.
Oven-Fried Fish & Chips
Fish and chips are traditionally sold wrapped in paper to soak up all the grease--not a good sign. To cut the calories in half and reduce the fat, we coat the delicate fish in a crispy cornflake crust and then bake it along with sliced potatoes. Serve with: Coleslaw and malt vinegar or lemon wedges.
Easy Fried Rice
Mixed frozen vegetables make this healthy fried rice recipe quick, easy and economical. If you don't have leftover cooked rice on hand, be sure to thoroughly cool your rice before adding it to the wok--if it's too warm, it creates too much steam and sticks to the wok. To quickly cool warm rice, spread out on a large baking sheet and refrigerate while you prep the rest of your ingredients, about 15 minutes.
Chipotle Chicken Quinoa Burrito Bowl
This chipotle-flavored burrito bowl recipe is even better than takeout and just as fast. Loading it with vegetables and using quinoa in place of rice adds nutrition for a healthy dinner. Source: EatingWell Magazine, July/August 2016
BBQ Chicken Tenders
These crispy chicken “wings,” made with boneless, skinless chicken breast tenders, stay crispy with only a light coating of oil--no deep-frying needed. Serve as an appetizer or try them for dinner with crunchy vegetables and dip on the side.
Shrimp Tacos with Avocado Crema
Avocado cuts some of the sour cream in our quick crema loaded with cilantro, for a healthier taco sauce that takes these shrimp tacos to the next level. Shrimp cook up super-fast, making them the ultimate taco filling for a fast weeknight dinner that's also impressive and delicious enough for a weekend dinner party.
Best Caesar Salad with Crispy Parmesan
For a nutrient-packed twist, this healthy Caesar salad features spinach and kale in addition to romaine. But it's the Parmesan crisps that make this salad holiday-worthy. Serve it for Thanksgiving or any other special meal. Source: EatingWell Magazine, November 2019
General Tso's Cauliflower
Our lightened-up vegan version of this takeout classic is every bit as delicious and satisfying as the fried version. Plus, it pleases vegetarians and meat-eaters alike.
Easy Shrimp Stir-Fry with Green Pepper, Pineapple & Bacon
This sweet, spicy and super-easy shrimp-and-vegetable stir-fry starts with a very small amount of bacon in the wok, which creates drippings that add tons of smoky flavor to the vegetables and shrimp that go in next. Keep the salt in check by using reduced-sodium tamari sauce. To complete this easy healthy dinner, add cooked brown rice.
Sautéed Shrimp with Mango Salsa & Coconut Cauliflower Rice
Shrimp and rice get a tropical makeover in this healthy 400-calorie dinner. Instead of rice, we've combined riced cauliflower and coconut milk for light coconut rice topped with spicy shrimp and a juicy mango-avocado salsa to cool it all down. Squeeze on some fresh lime juice before digging in to take this easy meal to the next level.
Spiralized broccoli stems transform into tender noodles in this lo mein-inspired vegetarian recipe. Serve on top of brown rice or buckwheat soba noodles.
Easy Shrimp Scampi with Zucchini Noodles
Enjoy classic shrimp scampi lightened up with a white wine-butter sauce and zucchini noodles in place of pasta. The tomatoes add some sweetness and color, while the cheese contributes nuttiness and richness.
Air-Fryer Chicken Nuggets
These crispy air-fried chicken nuggets are a quick kid-friendly dinner that parents will love too. The homemade nuggets are healthier than fast-food versions--and more flavorful, thanks to the cornflake coating. You can also cut the chicken into strips for air-fryer chicken tenders. Be sure to cook those 2 to 3 minutes longer, or until done.
Kung Pao Broccoli
Broccoli florets soak up the flavors from Chinese five-spice powder--a combination of sweet spices including anise, cinnamon, cloves and subtly spicy Szechuan peppercorns. Serve over black rice.
Skillet Chicken Parm
We skipped breading in this healthy one-dish chicken Parm recipe to save time. There's still plenty of gooey cheese, and the garlic, pepper flakes and oregano lend big flavor. Serve with pasta or in a hoagie roll with the sauce (there's lots of it) spooned on top. In sandwich form, it's easily wrapped in foil and eaten on the go. Excerpted from The Dinner Plan by Kathy Brennan and Caroline Campion, published by ABRAMS © 2017.
Buffalo Chicken Cauliflower Pizza
Cauliflower rice, egg and shredded mozzarella combine to make an easy low-carb pizza crust. Top the gluten-free pizza with tangy Buffalo sauce, chicken and blue cheese for a flavorful dinner or game-day favorite. Fresh celery is added at the end for cool crunch.
Chicken Sausage Calzone
A typical calzone packs almost 800 calories and 25 grams of saturated fat. In this healthier calzone recipe, we use lean chicken sausage to keep fat in check and add nutrient-rich spinach to bulk up the filling without adding calories. Serve with marinara sauce for dipping.
Oven-Fried Beef Taquitos
This healthy beef taquitos recipe calls for baking instead of deep-frying, making the taquitos substantially healthier than what you'd get at a restaurant. One order of these little deep-fried, rolled-up tacos at a restaurant can set you back almost 1,000 calories and 60 grams of fat! Don't worry if some of the taquitos crack open while baking--they're still crispy and delicious. Serve with your favorite salsa, guacamole and reduced-fat sour cream.
Butternut Squash Carbonara with Broccoli
You've never had carbonara quite like this! Loaded with veggies, this spiralized veggie noodle recipe is a healthy copycat of a traditional carbonara recipe. Butternut squash gets spiralized into long, tender noodles for a lower-carb version of this creamy, cheesy pasta dish. Look for a squash with a large, straight neck to make the longest veggie noodles.
Classic Beef Burgers with Cauliflower Buns
These juicy burgers skip the traditional bread bun in favor of a savory grain-free cauliflower bun that contains a bit of Cheddar cheese. A mixture of onions, ketchup and Worcestershire sauce gives the burger patties tons of flavor, and the addition of a tangy special sauce completes the package for a burger with serious personality. Note: If you would like to make these burgers gluten-free, be sure to check the ingredients for the ketchup and Worcestershire sauce to make sure they're gluten-free.
Pepperoni Cauliflower Pizza
You won't believe how easy it is to make this cauliflower pizza crust. Riced cauliflower combines with mozzarella cheese and a little egg to hold it together. The result is a delicious gluten-free crust that's crisp on the outside and soft on the inside. Top with the classic flavors of pepperoni, onion, pepper and more cheese for a lower-carb pie everyone will love.
Spaghetti Squash & Meatballs
With this spaghetti squash and meatballs recipe, you can reduce the carbohydrates and increase the vegetable servings by skipping pasta and serving the Italian-seasoned turkey meatballs and quick, homemade marinara sauce over thin strands of cooked spaghetti squash instead. Cooking the squash first in the microwave and then in a skillet to cook off the extra moisture, gives the squash a more spaghetti-like texture.