I absolutely love cooking delicious healthy dinners that taste amazing but are still low in calories. I’ve included my top three low-calorie dinner ideas for you. Each one is sure to be a hit with your family and are 400 calories or less. Also, all of the recipes are plant based which means you will get a lot more volume of food for lower calories.
Our first favorite is Barbecue Jackfruit which tastes extremely similar to a traditional barbecue pork dish, but is so much lower in calories. This entire dish is 150 calories for a one and a half cup of BBQ Jackfruit and I paired it with a cup of rice for 200 more calories. This dinner is 350 calories for the entire meal. We adore this recipe and make it all the time in our home. You can find the Jackfruit at Trader Joe’s or at your local Asian market.
- One can of jackfruit (I found mine at Trader Joe’s)
- Anything to pair the barbecue jackfruit with, I used brown rice and green beans
- 4 of cloves garlic smashed
- 2 tablespoons of tomato paste
- 2 cups of ketchup
- 1 tablespoon of chili powder
- 2 cups of water
- 1 tablespoon of paprika
- 1 teaspoon of crushed red pepper
- 1/4 cup of molasses
- 1/4 cup of dark brown sugar
- 1 tablespoon of vegan Worcestershire sauce
- 1 tablespoon of aminos
- Mix together all of the barbecue sauce ingredients well in a large bowl.
- Drain the jackfruit and rise well.
- Use a fork to shred pieces of the jackfruit and place in barbecue sauce ingredients.
- Let jackfruit marinate in barbecue sauce for 20-30 minutes.
- Pour barbecue sauce and jackfruit in a skillet and heat for five to seven minutes until warm.
- Enjoy over rice, in a wrap, on a sandwich, or any way you’d like to eat barbecue!
The second meal I wanted to share with you is our Lentil Loaf recipe which is a fall recipe favorite. I love this substitute meatloaf recipe because it’s easy, tastes wonderful, and is low in calories. This also keeps well in the refrigerator for leftovers which is a lifesaver. This lentil loaf has six servings at 250 calories per serving. We love pairing the lentil loaf with mashed potatoes and grilled carrots.
- 2 cups of green lentils cooked
- 1/2 cup of onions chopped
- 1/2 cup of celery chopped
- 1/2 cup of carrot chopped
- 2 tablespoons of vegetable broth
- 2 tablespoons of tomato paste
- 2 tablespoons of coconut amino (or soy sauce)
- 1 tablespoons of vegan Worcestershire sauce
- 1 cup of oats
- 1/2 cup of almond meal
- 2 tsp of everyday seasoning or 1/4 tsp of thyme, 1/4 tsp of onion, 1/4 tsp of garlic, 1/4 tsp of paprika
- 3/4 cup of ketchup (or tomato paste)
- 2 tablespoons of Dijon mustard
- 1 tablespoon of apple cider vinegar
- Preheat oven to 375 degrees.
- Sauté chopped carrots, onion, and celery with vegetable broth till soft (about 5 minutes).
- Combine 1 cup cooked lentils, carrots, onions, celery, 1/2 cup of oats, tomato paste, coconut amino, and Worcestershire sauce in a food processor until well combined.
- Move combined ingredients to a mixing bowl, stir in the rest of the lentils, oats, seasoning, and almond meal. Once all items are mixed well, line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
- Form a loaf shape onto the baking sheet and bake for 30 minutes in the oven.
- While the lentil loaf is baking combine all of the glaze ingredients in a bowl.
- Remove the lentil loaf from the oven and top with the glaze mixture.
- Bake lentil loaf for another 15 minutes.
- Once removed let the lentil loaf rest for another 10-15 minutes before cutting
My final meal for less than 400 calories is Vegetable Chowder. A fall staple in our home, this is a good soup recipe that leaves you full and tastes yummy. This vegetable chowder hits the spot every time. I love that it is super nutritious and is only 150 calories a cup. Low calorie and satisfying packed full with antioxidants, what more can you ask for?
- 1 cauliflower head
- 1 1/2 cups of almond milk
- 4 cups of vegetable broth
- 1 diced onion
- 2 minced garlic cloves
- 4 diced carrots
- 4 sliced celery ribs
- 2 diced potatoes (2 small or 1 large)
- 1 cup of corn
- 1 tablespoon of garlic powder
- 1 tablespoon of onion powder
- 1 tablespoon of pepper
- 1 tablespoon of sea salt
- Steam cauliflower.
- Blend steamed cauliflower with almond milk until smooth, set aside. (I used my Vitamix to blend well – then placed in a large soup pot)
- In a large pot add in 1/4 cup veg broth.
- Sauté onions and garlic.
- Add carrots, celery, and potatoes.
- Add in 2 cups vegetable broth.
- Cover and bring to a boil then reduce to a simmer for 20 minutes.
- Add to a blender to blend until smooth.
- Add both mixtures together in the large soup pot.
- Add spices and serve warm.