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: 4.5 stars 24
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.
By Carolyn Casner

Chicken Cordon Bleu Casserole

Rating: 4 stars 5
All the delicious flavors of your favorite chicken Cordon Bleu--salty ham, melty cheese, tangy mustard--with no tricky assembly required. This healthy comfort food recipe would be perfect for a potluck.
Hilary Meyer
By Hilary Meyer

Carrot Soup

Rating: 5 stars 33
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.
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By EatingWell Test Kitchen

One-Pot Spinach, Chicken Sausage & Feta Pasta

Rating: 4 stars 21
A little bit of Sunday meal prep goes a long way in this one-dish pasta recipe. The pasta is cooked ahead of time and stored in the fridge to use for meals all week, but any leftover cooked pasta you have on hand will do. Chicken sausage with feta is especially good in this recipe.
Katie Webster
By Katie Webster

Vegetable Weight-Loss Soup

Rating: 4.5 stars 33
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.
Hilary Meyer
By Hilary Meyer

Easy Chicken Enchilada Casserole

Rating: 4.5 stars 14
Casseroles make perfect meal-prep dinners, and this enchilada version is no exception. The whole casserole can be built and left to hang out in the refrigerator for up to three days—just bake it off on a busy night and you have a healthy, easy dinner on the table in no time. 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.
Katie Webster
By Katie Webster

Pea Soup

Rating: 5 stars 14
This simple pea soup recipe 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.
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By EatingWell Test Kitchen

Stuffed Sweet Potato with Hummus Dressing

Rating: 4.5 stars 19
Hearty yet simple to prepare, this stuffed sweet potato with black beans, kale and hummus dressing is a fantastic 5-ingredient lunch for one!
Katie Webster
By Katie Webster

Smoked Turkey, Kale & Rice Bake

Rating: 4 stars 3
This hearty one-skillet dinner is loaded with celery, kale, tomatoes and quick-cooking brown rice. It's easy to make the recipe vegetarian by substituting smoked tofu for the turkey.
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By EatingWell Test Kitchen

Chickpea & Quinoa Bowl with Roasted Red Pepper Sauce

Rating: 4.5 stars 16
Quinoa and chickpeas pack this vegetarian grain bowl with plenty of plant-based protein. Whip up a batch of these flavorful grain bowls and pack them in lidded containers to stash in the fridge for easy, healthy grab-and-go lunches all week long.
By Carolyn Casner

Baked Penne Florentine

Rating: 2.5 stars 5
This comforting and flavorful vegetarian dish is packed with protein.
By Diabetic Living Magazine

Cumin Chicken & Chickpea Stew

Rating: 4 stars 29
This quick, protein-rich chicken stew recipe draws flavor inspiration from shawarma with spices like cumin, paprika and pepper. Make a double batch and freeze it for a quick healthy dinner. Serve the stew with couscous and steamed broccoli.
Carolyn Malcoun
By Carolyn Malcoun
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Inspiration and Ideas

Slow-Cooker Vegetable Soup
Rating: Unrated 16
Make this low-calorie vegetable soup recipe 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.
Slow-Cooker Chicken & Orzo with Tomatoes & Olives
Rating: Unrated 24
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.
Zucchini Enchiladas
Rating: 5 stars 4

Using thinly sliced zucchini in place of tortillas is a great way to cut back on carbs and still enjoy cheesy chicken enchiladas. If you like the heat, opt for a spicy enchilada sauce.