Indulge in guilt-free dining with these scrumptious 500-calorie dinner recipes (and plenty lower in calories), designed to keep you satisfied and on track with your dietary goals.
If you're looking for nutritious and satisfying dinner options that won't tip the scale on your calorie count, look no further! I have tons of 500 calorie dinner recipes (plus many in the 300 calorie range), where flavor and health unite.
From light and refreshing dishes to hearty and comforting meals, I curated a collection that will keep your taste buds tantalized and your goals on track.
Maintaining a balanced diet is key for overall well-being, and dinner plays an important role in that equation. Whether you're a fan of vegetarian or vegan recipes, seafood entrées, or lean chicken dishes, our collection offers something for everyone.
The recipes are divided into 5 categories: chicken recipes, vegetarian and vegan recipes, seafood recipes, pork recipes and beef & lamb recipes. Click on the links below to jump to the desired section, or scroll through to find some new favorites.
For more ideas, see 40 High Protein Chicken Recipes.
While many of these 500-calorie dinner recipes are designed to be all-encompassing and provide a complete meal on their own, some recipes benefit from the addition of side dishes to create a more well-rounded meal.
- HEALTHY WHOLE GRAIN SIDES OR SALADS: Consider incorporating healthy whole grains into your meal, such as quinoa, brown rice, or sorghum. These grains offer fiber, vitamins, and minerals. Create a colorful and satisfying grain salad, such as Farro Salad with Grilled Vegetables or a pilaf.
- SALADS AND STEAMED VEGETABLES: Fresh salads and steamed vegetables provide a refreshing and nutrient-rich addition to your protein-focused recipes. Toss together a vibrant green salad using a variety of lettuce leaves, spinach, or mixed greens. Add cherry tomatoes, cucumber slices, and a balsamic vinaigrette for a burst of flavor. Steamed vegetables, such as broccoli, cauliflower, or asparagus, retain their natural goodness and pair well with any protein. Season them with herbs, lemon juice, or a sprinkle of Parmesan cheese for some variety.
- SAUTÉED VEGETABLES: Try sautéing an assortment of vegetables. Heat a small amount of olive oil or a cooking spray in a pan, then add thinly sliced bell peppers, zucchini, mushrooms, or asparagus. Season with herbs, garlic, or a splash of low-sodium soy sauce for added depth of flavor. The combination of tender-crisp sautéed vegetables and your protein choice will create a satisfying and visually appealing dish. Try Greek Sugar Snap Peas or Caramelized Cabbage.
- STIR-FRY SIDE DISHES: If you're looking to infuse your meal with Asian-inspired flavors, stir-fried vegetables are an excellent choice. Utilize a mix of colorful vegetables like bok choy, snap peas, bell peppers, and carrots. Stir-fry them in a skillet or wok with a small amount of avocado oil, sesame oil, ginger and garlic. Try Vegetable Quinoa Stir Fry or Quick Stir Fried Green Beans.
- ROASTED VEGETABLES: Try adding golden brown, roasted vegetables to your meal. Roasting brings out the natural sweetness of vegetables, creating a delightful side dish. Choose an assortment of vegetables like potatoes, carrots, Brussels sprouts, or butternut squash. Toss them in olive oil, sprinkle with herbs and seasonings of your choice, then spread them on a baking sheet and roast in the oven until tender and slightly caramelized. Try Roasted Mini Potatoes, Roasted Mushrooms with Rosemary or Spicy Roasted Cauliflower.
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Vegetarian and Vegan Recipes
Beef & Bison Recipes
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500-Calorie Dinner Recipes or Less (Recipe: Balsamic Herb Chicken)
- 1 teaspoon dried oregano
- 1 teaspoon crushed dried rosemary
- 1 teaspoon dried thyme
- ½ teaspoon kosher salt
- ½ teaspoon ground black pepper
- 8 (3 ½ ounces each) boneless skinless chicken thighs trimmed
- 1 ½ teaspoons olive oil divided
- 1 yellow onion thinly sliced
- 1 red or yellow bell pepper thinly sliced
- 2 garlic cloves minced
- 1 (14 ounce) can petite diced tomatoes
- ¼ cup balsamic vinegar
- ¼ cup fat-free chicken broth
- Salt and pepper to taste
- In a small bowl, stir together the oregano, rosemary, thyme, salt and pepper. Rub the mixture over the chicken thighs.
- Heat 1 teaspoon olive oil in a large skillet set over medium-high heat. Add the chicken and cook until browned, about 2 minutes per side. Transfer the chicken to a plate.
- Reduce the heat to medium and add the remaining ½ teaspoon olive oil. Add the onion and red bell pepper, and cook until the vegetables are just tender, about 5 minutes. Add the garlic and cook for 30 seconds.
- Add the diced tomatoes (including liquid), balsamic vinegar and chicken broth. Bring to a boil, then nestle the chicken thighs into the tomato mixture. Simmer until the chicken is cooked through, about 10 minutes.
- Serve over rice or quinoa.
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