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

American Goulash

Rating: 4.73 stars 17
American goulash, also known as old-fashioned goulash, is the perfect economical family meal. The pasta cooks right in the sauce, so this satisfying dish can cook in just one pot.

Vegetable Weight-Loss Soup

Rating: 4.46 stars 30
A big bowl of this veggie-packed minestrone will leave you satisfied for hours without consuming a lot of calories, which is helpful when trying to lose weight. Plus, it's an easy way to boost your vegetable servings for the day—something all of us could benefit from. Top with a dollop of pesto before devouring this delicious vegetable soup and consider serving with a hunk of toasted whole-wheat bread to help round out the meal.

Sweet Potato & Black Bean Chili

Rating: 4.52 stars 87
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.

Mediterranean Chickpea Quinoa Bowl

Rating: 4.64 stars 12
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.

Slow-Cooker Mediterranean Chicken & Orzo

Rating: 4.18 stars 22
Perk up basic chicken breast and whole-wheat orzo with the vibrant flavors of the Mediterranean, like lemon and olives. This load-and-go recipe makes a complete and satisfying meal; just add a green salad.

Slow-Cooker Vegetable Soup

Rating: 4 stars 16
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.

Carrot Soup

Rating: 4.72 stars 30
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.

Middle Eastern Chicken & Chickpea Stew

Rating: 4.08 stars 27
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.

Southwestern Vegetable & Chicken Soup

Rating: 4.5 stars 14
Who wouldn't want to eat their vegetables when they're tucked into a fragrant broth with bits of tasty chicken and spiked with a shot of fresh lime and cilantro? This healthy chicken vegetable soup seems even richer with the smoky flavor from roasted poblano peppers and garlic. Serve this healthy chicken soup recipe with tortilla chips.

Easy Chicken Enchilada Casserole

Rating: 4.29 stars 11
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.

Stuffed Sweet Potato with Hummus Dressing

Rating: 4.43 stars 17
Hearty yet simple to prepare, this stuffed sweet potato with black beans, kale and hummus dressing is a fantastic 5-ingredient lunch for one!

Creamy Chicken, Brussels Sprouts & Mushrooms One-Pot Pasta

Rating: 3.7 stars 25
You'll only have to dirty one pot in this easy pasta recipe that cooks chicken and vegetables right along with the noodles. Plus, by using the exact amount of water you need to cook the pasta, the starch that usually gets drained off with your pasta water stays in the pot, giving you delectably creamy results.
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Inspiration and Ideas

Pea Soup
Rating: Unrated 13
A simple pea soup makes an elegant start to a spring meal. It's also a great way to use frozen vegetables when the produce section is looking bleak.
Slow-Cooker Pasta e Fagioli Soup Freezer Pack
Rating: Unrated 2
Your favorite restaurant soup just got easier and healthier with this freezer-to-crock-pot recipe. If you keep a special bottle of olive oil on hand for stand-out dishes, this is the recipe to pull it out for. The headiness of the fruity olive oil truly elevates the flavors in this Italian meal-prep slow-cooker soup.
Roasted Root Veggies & Greens over Spiced Lentils
Rating: 4.8 stars
4

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.