23 Italian Dinner Recipes for Weight Loss
Make a healthy and filling meal with these Italian dinner recipes. These dinners are packed with plenty of fresh vegetables and are great if you're looking to slim down. Each dinner is low in calories and high in fiber, which is a key nutrient that leaves you feeling fuller for longer periods of time. Recipes like Eggplant Parmesan and Cauliflower Pasta Carbonara are flavorful, comforting and can help you meet your nutrition goals.
Quick Shrimp Puttanesca
Because refrigerated fresh pasta cooks much faster than dried pasta, this Italian pasta dish will be on the table lickety-split! Puttanesca, traditionally made with tomatoes, olives, capers, anchovies and garlic, gets a makeover with shrimp for extra protein and artichoke hearts to boost the vegetable servings (and the fiber!). If you can't find frozen artichoke hearts, sub in drained canned artichoke hearts.
EatingWell's Eggplant Parmesan
Here we bake breaded eggplant for crispy results with fewer calories to boot. This makeover of the classic recipe was originally developed by our Test Kitchen in 1995 and got an update in 2020 for our 30th anniversary issue.
Easy Pea & Spinach Carbonara
Fresh pasta cooks up faster than dried, making it a must-have for fast weeknight dinners like this luscious yet healthy meal. Eggs are the base of the creamy sauce. They don't get fully cooked, so use pasteurized-in-the-shell eggs if you prefer.
Chicken Parmesan & Quinoa Stuffed Peppers
Chicken Parm gets a fun low-carb and gluten-free twist with these cheesy stuffed peppers with chicken and quinoa. Serve with a salad for a healthy dinner that's easy to prep too.
Italian Bean Stew
Sweet turkey sausage and cannellini beans are featured in this delicious stew.
Cauliflower Pasta Carbonara
Pureed cauliflower makes a delicious and creamy low-calorie sauce for pasta. Tossed with crispy bacon and convenient frozen peas, this is a healthy egg-free version of spaghetti carbonara.
Linguine with Creamy White Clam Sauce
Ripe tomato and fresh basil give this quick recipe tons of flavor. Serve this healthy pasta dinner with crusty garlic bread and steamed green beans.
Italian Roasted Pork Tenderloin with Vegetables & Quinoa
For the best flavor in this easy roasted pork tenderloin dish, start marinating the pork the night before or get it going before you head off to work in the morning. Then, when you get home, all that's left to do is roast the pork and vegetables and prepare the quinoa for this easy healthy dinner. This recipe makes extra quinoa--use the leftovers as a base for easy meal-prep lunches, salads, stir-fries later in the week.
Open-Face Italian Chicken Sandwiches with Avocado Slaw
The quick tomato topping on these hearty and healthy chicken sandwiches will remind you of pizza. The accompanying slaw swaps out mayo for healthier avocado. Cook the chicken breasts on the grill if you prefer (see Tip) and consider making a double batch of the chicken for lunches and dinners later in the week.
Lasagna with Slow-Roasted Tomato Sauce
Slow-roasting the tomatoes gives the tomato sauce for this lasagna recipe an intense depth of flavor--which is then enhanced by the umami in onions, Parmesan and spinach. The lasagna noodles are layered into the lasagna uncooked; the moisture from the fresh spinach cooks them perfectly as the lasagna bakes in the oven.
Sausage & Peppers Baked Ziti
This healthy baked ziti recipe doesn't require any chopping and is made on the stovetop, so it is perfect for a busy weeknight dinner. Using whole-wheat pasta adds fiber; opt for penne if whole-wheat ziti is hard to find.
This quick and healthy lasagna soup recipe has all the comforting flavors of classic lasagna with plenty of tomatoes, Italian turkey sausage and lasagna noodles broken into bite-size bits. A dollop of ricotta cheese mixed with mozzarella and Parmesan adds a creamy finishing touch. Serve the soup with a green salad and crusty bread to sop up what's left in the bowl for an easy healthy dinner that's ready in under 30 minutes.
Cauliflower, Pancetta & Olive Spaghetti
Don't ditch your pasta-cooking water! The flavorful liquid retains a touch of the pasta's starch, which helps your sauce cling to the pasta in this healthy pasta recipe.
Vegan Eggplant Lasagna
A combination of tofu and nutritional yeast creates a convincing stand-in for ricotta in this easy vegan eggplant lasagna. It's layered with the eggplant and a quick homemade tomato sauce, then topped with dairy-free cheese substitute for a satisfying casserole that'll please meat eaters and vegans alike. It also happens to be gluten-free!
Italian-Style Turkey & Penne Skillet
This delicious one-skillet pasta meal-for-two is ready in just 35 minutes! Turkey--seasoned with a spicy Italian-seasoning blend--is served with tomato sauce and wilted spinach over multi-grain pasta.
Squash & Spinach Lasagna Roll-Ups
Take a break from traditional lasagna and try this fun lasagna roll-up recipe. Instead of traditional layering with tomato sauce in a baking dish, each noodle is filled with a scrumptious winter squash and spinach sauce and rolled up into individual servings. You'll love the unexpected taste of toasted walnuts in each bite!
Lemon-Garlic Sardine Fettuccine
Even sardine skeptics will enjoy this lemony pasta with crispy breadcrumbs. Substitute two 5- to 6-ounce cans chunk light tuna for the sardines if you prefer. If you are using tuna or can't find sardines packed in tomato sauce, add 2 tablespoons tomato paste in Step 4 with the lemon juice. Serve with a salad of bitter greens tossed with a lemon vinaigrette and a glass of Pinot Grigio.
Turkey Meatballs with Linguine & Fresh Tomato Sauce
For this healthy turkey meatball recipe, lean ground turkey is mixed with fresh mushrooms, oats, garlic, spices and a little Parmesan cheese for a meatball that's moist, delicious and has more fiber and less saturated fat than a traditional beef and pork version. Serve these tasty meatballs over whole-grain pasta with fresh tomato sauce for a satisfying take on spaghetti and meatballs, and save the leftovers to stuff into sandwiches.
Italian Wild Rice Soup
Using a slow cooker to prepare this diabetic-friendly, Italian Wild Rice Soup makes this scrumptious recipe easy and low maintenance.
Italian-Style Stuffed Eggplant
Two favorite Italian dishes--lasagna and eggplant Parm--are rolled into one in this stuffed vegetable recipe.
Italian Beef and Broccoli
This delicious beef dinner can be on the table in under an hour. You'll enjoy the thinly sliced sirloin steak, broccoli and tomatoes served in a creamy spinach sauce over penne pasta.
Italian Mussels & Pasta
This combination of mussels with plenty of garlic, parsley, saffron and white wine was inspired by the Venetian soup zuppa de peoci, which is usually ladled over sliced crusty bread. Here we serve it over pasta. For a more elegant presentation you can remove the mussels from their shells before serving…but then again, who wants to be elegant? Enjoy!
Mushroom & Butternut Squash Lasagna
Earthy mushrooms and sweet squash are layered in this tasty fall lasagna. Adding reconstituted dried porcini to the sauce adds an additional layer of flavor.