26 Low-Calorie Flexitarian Dinners to Enjoy Tonight
Enjoy a delicious and healthy dinner that’s appropriate for a flexitarian diet. These veggie-focused dinners are packed with fresh produce and plant-based protein like black beans and lentils. Recipes like Beans & Greens Enchiladas and Slow-Cooker Vegetable Minestrone Soup are low in calories, flavorful and perfect for tonight’s menu.
Vegetarian Spaghetti Squash Lasagna
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.
Cheesy Chipotle-Cauliflower Mac
You'll barely notice the cauliflower in this comforting skillet pasta--it's pureed and mixed into the creamy cheese sauce.
Vegan Coconut Chickpea Curry
To make this 20-minute vegan curry even faster, buy precut veggies from the salad bar at the grocery store. To make it a full, satisfying dinner, serve over cooked brown rice. When shopping for simmer sauce, look for one with 400 mg of sodium or less and check the ingredient list for cream or fish sauce if you want to keep this vegan. If you like a spicy kick, add a few dashes of your favorite hot sauce at the end.
Roasted Root Veggies & Greens over Spiced Lentils
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.
Spinach & Artichoke Dip Pasta
If you've ever wanted to make a meal out of warm spinach and artichoke dip, this creamy pasta is for you. And here's what's almost as good as the flavor of this comforting dish: the fact that this healthy dinner takes just 20 minutes to prepare.
Beans & Greens Enchiladas
Any type of canned bean will work in these easy layered enchiladas, but our favorite combination is a mix of black and pinto beans. Serve as a vegetarian main dish or as a tasty side for roasted pork or chicken.
Easy Saag Paneer
The paneer cheese in this fast and easy dinner doesn't melt when it cooks. It browns instead, giving a toothsome texture to this Indian classic packed with spinach and spices. Serve over brown basmati rice to round out this healthy meal.
Slow-Cooker Vegetable Minestrone Soup
A winter classic, this crock pot version of minestrone is heavy on the vegetables and light on the pasta, keeping carbs in check while providing plenty of flavor.
Black Bean-Quinoa Buddha Bowl
Treat your Buddha bowl to a vacation south of the border! This black bean and quinoa Buddha bowl has the usual hallmarks of a taco salad, minus the greasy fried bowl. We've loaded it up with pico de gallo, fresh cilantro and avocado plus an easy hummus dressing to drizzle on top.
Chickpea Curry (Chhole)
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. Serve with brown basmati rice or warm naan.
Tofu & Vegetable Scramble
Feel free to customize this speedy tofu and vegetable scramble with your favorite combination of vegetables and spice. Try to use veggies that will all cook at the same rate, like peppers, green beans and sugar snap peas.
Bean & Barley Soup
This hearty bean and barley soup tastes like it has simmered for hours, but actually it's quite quick to throw together. Plus this recipe for healthy bean and barley soup freezes beautifully. If you have cooked barley on hand, omit the quick-cooking barley and stir in 1 1/2 cups cooked barley along with the broth in Step 2.
Chipotle-Lime Cauliflower Tacos
In this vegetarian taco recipe, cauliflower is tossed with a smoky-tangy sauce made with honey, lime juice and chipotles in adobo sauce before being roasted. Serve with more hot sauce, if desired.
Linguine with Creamy Mushroom Sauce
This easy pasta recipe is an excuse to buy wild mushrooms, available at many grocery stores these days. Or if you prefer white buttons, those will work well too. The creamy linguine is ready in 40 minutes, so it's quick enough for an easy weeknight recipe but it feels fancy enough for entertaining.
Squash & Red Lentil Curry
This healthy red lentil curry recipe has a rich flavor and complexity that tastes like it takes hours to prepare. Butternut squash and coconut milk combine with the lentils to make a hearty vegetarian dish. Serve with brown rice or naan bread.
Zucchini-Chickpea Veggie Burgers with Tahini-Ranch Sauce
This vegan burger recipe is one you'll want to make again and again. Savory chickpea and zucchini patties are topped with a creamy, herb-flecked tahini ranch sauce, juicy tomato slices and peppery arugula for a satisfying and healthy homemade veggie burger. Serve them on buns or stuff them in pitas. We recommend making extra sauce--it's a great dip for veggie sticks and, thinned with a little water, it makes a wonderful salad dressing.
Spicy Vegetable Lo Mein
Skip takeout and make a healthier Chinese lo mein at home that's packed with vegetables. Make sure you drain your noodles well before adding them, as wet noodles will turn your stir-fry into a soggy mess. For a less spicy option, omit the sriracha hot sauce.
Vegetarian Taco Salad
Nobody will miss the meat in this colorful, zesty vegetarian taco salad. The rice and bean mixture can be made ahead and the salad quickly assembled at mealtime. Recipe by Nancy Baggett for EatingWell.
Instant Pot Lentil Soup
This Instant Pot lentil soup is quick enough to prepare when you get home from work for an easy weeknight dinner. This vegetarian soup recipe is full of aromatic vegetables, brown lentils and fresh spinach. A splash of balsamic vinegar brightens the flavor, and a garnish of radish and parsley gives this comforting soup a fresh finish.
Vegan Pad Thai with Tofu
You won't miss the scrambled eggs and fish sauce in this vegan version of the Thai favorite because the flavorful sauce hits just the right balance of sweet, spicy and umami.
Kale & White Bean Potpie with Chive Biscuits
In this vegetarian white bean potpie recipe, kale and hearty white beans are topped with easy, homemade chive biscuits. If desired, add a little shredded Gruyère or Cheddar cheese to the biscuit dough.
Vegetarian Butternut Squash Chili with Black Beans
Black beans and tender, sweet butternut squash make this healthy vegetarian chili truly satisfying. Load up bowls and top with Greek yogurt, cilantro and minced red onion for game night or a Meatless Monday meal. Or skip the yogurt and keep this healthy dinner vegan.
Here we take the elements of a vegetarian lasagna filling--ricotta, spinach and Parmesan cheese--and nestle them into roasted portobello mushroom caps. The recipe works best with very large portobello caps; if you can only find smaller ones, buy one or two extra and divide the filling among all the caps. Serve with a tossed salad and a whole-wheat dinner roll or spaghetti tossed with marinara sauce.
Crispy Chickpea Grain Bowl with Lemon Vinaigrette
Our favorite part of these vegetarian grain bowls is the tangy lemon vinaigrette, which ties together a satisfying combo of quinoa, toasted pumpkin seeds, and roasted chickpeas and kale. Whip them up for easy meal-prep lunches or a healthy and satisfying dinner.
Our version of this enchilada-style chilaquiles casserole is packed with nutritious beans and vegetables. Canned prepared enchilada sauce has great flavor and keeps the prep time quick. It can vary in heat level so find one that suits your taste. If you want to eliminate the heat altogether, try a green enchilada sauce (which is often milder than red) or substitute two 8-ounce cans of plain tomato sauce.
Spicy Tofu Hotpot
Warm up a chilly evening with this light but satisfying one-pot meal. The tofu absorbs the flavors of this fragrant, spicy broth, making it anything but bland. Look for fresh Chinese-style noodles in the refrigerated case of your supermarket alongside wonton wrappers.