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Nov 14, 2013 7:14pm
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Cheap & Healthy Lunch and Dinner Recipes

Whether you're a veggie- or meat-eater, we've got a main dish (or 10) for you. From zucchini noodles to BBQ chicken, here are our Greatist-approved main dish ideas for a healthier lunch or dinner any day of the week. Scroll down for all of our healthy recipes, broken up by whether they're vegetarian or for meat-eaters.



35 Quick and Healthy Low-Calorie Lunches
Need a healthy lunch? Here are 35 options. With a little planning, they can all be prepared in seven minutes or less. It's time to kick that brown-bag lunch up a notch!


Twice-Baked Kale-and-Broccoli-Stuffed Potatoes_150sq

Twice-Baked Broccoli-and-Kale-Stuffed Potatoes
This hearty but healthy side dish is perfect for a rainy day.

ucchini Pasta with Leek Tomato Sauce_150sq

Zucchini Noodles with Leek-Tomato Sauce
Hop on the veggie-lover wagon with this super-simple zucchini pasta and simple homemade marinara sauce.

Mushroom Cabbage Rolls_150sq

Mushroom-Stuffed Cabbage Rolls
These simplified veggie-filled cabbage rolls are the perfect homemade, comforting meal to tackle on a lazy weekend day.

Quick Veggie Chili_150sq.

Quick and Easy Veggie Chili
This harty vegetarian chili is the perfect way to warm up on a cold winter weekend! Plus, one batch will last you all week.

Butternut Squash Curry_150sq

Butternut Squash, Chickpea, and Kale Curry
A hearty, protein-rich, vegetarian strew is a perfect mid-week meal that's easy to throw together in less than 45 minutes flat.

Kale Broccoli Cream Roll_150sq

Kale, Red Pepper, and Broccoli Spread Rollup
Try a healthier take on the classic lunch wrap by using kale as the bread in this veggie-packed rollup "sandwich."

Cheesy Stuffed Tomatoes_150sq

Cheesy Stuffed Tomatoes
Need a quick, filling, vegetarian-friendly snack or easy lunch? Try these simple (and super cheesy) stuffed tomatoes.

Lentil and Goat Cheese Casserole_150sq

Lentil and Goat Cheese Casserole
For a healthy hearty and decadent casserole, try this protein-packed lentil-based dish.

Lentil Salad with Roased Beets and Carrots_150sq

Lentils with Roasted Beets and Carrots
Try this unique lentil salad for a fiber-packed, filling meal.

Quinoa with Broccoli-Avocado Pesto_150sq

Quinoa with Broccoli-Avocado Pesto
Looking for a comforting, warm dish that still passes the healthy meal test? Try this hearty warm vegetable and quinoa salad with roasted broccoli pesto.

Mexican Sweet Potato_150sq

Mexican-Style Sweet Potatoes
Looking for something new to do with sweet potatoes? Try this fiesta-style side. Ole!

Whole-Wheat Rigatoni with Greens_150sq

Whole-Wheat Rigatoni with Greens
Looking for a way to fit more whole grains into that dinner dish? Try this hearty whole-wheat pasta dish with seasonal greens.


Kelp Noodles with Almond-Ginger Dressing
Need an alternative to classic noodles? Try this inventive take on the classic sesame noodle dish by swapping in kelp noodles and almond butter.

Whole-Wheat Pasta with Lemon and Asparagus_150sq

Whole-Wheat Linguine with Asparagus and Lemon
Get into the full swing of spring with this bright and lemony healthy whole-wheat pasta recipe with asparagus and fresh Parmesan!

Pesto Pizza_150sq

Pesto Cheese Pizza
Give this basil-packed grown up version of the classic cheese pizza a try!

Fig Pizza_150sq

Fresh Fig and Onion Flatbread Pizza
Take advantage of fig season and try this fresh, quick pizza recipe!

Mushroom Bolognese_150sq

Meat-Free Mushroom Bolognese
Try this meat-free take on a classic hearty Italian pasta dish.

Vegetable Quesadilla_150sq

Vegetable and Goat Cheese Quesadilla
Try this vegetarian quesadilla for an easy dinner-for-one!

Stuffed Zucchini_150sq

Veggie-Stuffed Zucchini
Seasonal veggies stuffed with even more veggies? Yes, please! These eggplant, onion, and bell pepper-stuffed zucchinis are a great vegetarian main dish alternative.

Black Bean Quinoa Burger_150sq

Black Bean and Quinoa Burgers
This black bean and quinoa based burger is packed with protein (just like the real thing) and adds a fun flavor twist to the traditional veggie burger.

Cauliflower Crust Pizza_150sq

Cauliflower Crust Pizza
Mix up the pizza game with this interesting take on a classic Italian dish that uses grated cauliflower as the crust. Buono appetite!

Baked Chickpea Burgers_150sq

Baked Chickpea Burgers
These herb- and veggie-packed chickpea burgers are a great Mediterranean meat-free twist on the classic burger.

Creamy Avocado Pasta
This light and tasty pasta dish is done in minutes and healthfully satisfying to the last bite.

Quinoa Puttanesca
This Italian classic takes a healthier twist with quinoa and spinach. Plus, it’s super quick to make!

Mushroom and Olive Veggie Burgers
These quick, easy, and healthy veggie burgers will crush their pre-made frozen competition in any taste (or nutrition) test.

Basil Quinoa Cakes
These little patties are packed with basil, fun to make, and make the perfect portable meal when paired with salad or made into a sandwich (for breakfast, too!).

Quinoa and Sweet Potato Stuffed Mushrooms
These sweet potato and quinoa stuffed mushroom caps are just as filling as a hunk-o’-meat and can be enjoyed by anyone around the dinner table — meat eater or not.

Pizza Margherita
Pizza in less than 20 minutes? Pass the pie, please! This recipe for a classic Pizza Margherita is a perfect Italian food fix without excess calories and additives.

Spanish Potato and Onion Tortilla
Get a little creative with this filling and flavorful tortilla packed with potatoes and onions.

Roasted Vegetable Pizza
This quick-and-easy veggie-packed dinner is the perfect way to fulfill that pizza craving without ditching the diet plan.

Open-Faced Egg and Veggie Sammie
Whether enjoying a long, luxurious weekend breakfast or last-minute dinner, this open-faced sandwich is full of good-for-you ingredients and cooks up in less than 20 minutes.

Lentil and Goat Cheese Stuffed Zucchini
They may look similar, but these bean relatives have some health benefits of their own. Check ‘em out for a high-protein, meatless staple— that also happens to be super inexpensive!

Mushroom Risotto
This mushroom risotto will kick up any old rice to a special side for the table.

Spaghetti Squash Casserole
A healthier take on a classic comfort food, this casserole (sans pasta) is the perfect choice for a family dinner.

Butternut Squash with Tortellini
This simple recipe requires only five easy-to-find seasonal ingredients. Whip it up when tight on time for a quick and healthy meal.

Light Spinach Pesto
Wanna feel like Popeye? Spinach contains a heaping helping antioxidants, anti-inflammatory nutrients, and vitamins that promote vision and muscle health.

Stuffed Squash
This hearty autumnal meal will leave you feeling full of the good stuff!


Chicken Fajitas_150sq

Chicken Fajitas
Try these tasty fajitas for an easy weeknight meal with some serious nutritional punch!

Sesame Chicken Bowl_150sq

Sesame Chicken Bowl
Try this healthier take on a classic takeout dish next time you're craving Chinese!

Thanksgiving Leftover Sandwich_150sq

Turkey, Brie, and Cranberry Sandwich
The big feast is over, and now the fridge is packed with leftovers. Here's a healthy sandwich idea to use up that turkey and cranberry in a healthier way.

Oven-Baked Salmon_150sq

Baked Salmon with Avocado-Dill Yogurt
Try this super simple salmon preparation for an easy way to entertain or for a healthy weeknight meal in 20 minutes or less.

Pan-Seared Fish Tacos_150sq

Pan-Seared Fish Tacos
These fresh fish tacos are perfect for a hot summer night. The flavors of the fish with the peaches, cilantro, and avocado brighten up any dinner table.

Spicy Potatoes with Egg and Sausage_150sq

Eggs and Potatoes in Spicy Tomato Sauce
A hearty take on the classic Middle Eastern dish Shakshouka, this potato, sausage, and tomato sauce-based spicy egg dish is perfect for any meal when it’s a comfort food kind of day.

Chipotle-Honey Chicken Tenders_150sq

Chipotle-Honey Chicken Tenders and Sweet Potatoes
With a little planning ahead, this 24-hour marinated chicken and sweet potato dish is an easy answer to post-work fatigue.

Spicy Tomato Sauce_150sq

Spicy Rustic Tomato Sauce
There are countless variations on the traditional tomato sauce. Well, there's no right or wrong method to sauce-making — it all comes down to your personal taste and preference. Here's one super-fresh option!

Turkey Chili
This recipe for a healthy turkey chili is the perfect game-day meal without the added grease and carbohydrate-overload.

Manly Marmalade Chicken
Our Manly Marmalade Chicken gets you in and out of the kitchen in 20 minutes flat, leaving plenty of time for a quick shower and set-up before guests (or that special someone) arrive.

Smoked Salmon and Egg Tortilla
Who doesn't love a little lox and egg? This salmon and egg breakfast dish is the perfect way to jump-start the morning without the carby bagel base.

Zesty Shrimp and Quinoa
This super-easy seafood dish can go from fridge to table in less than 15 minutes and is sure to satisfy any grumbling stomach.

Broccoli Rabe “Spaghetti,” Tomatoes, and Chicken Mozzarella, chicken, and fresh veggies. What isn’t there to love about this healthy dinner option?

Apricot Roasted Chicken and Beets with Fall Vegetables
Bite into a beet, the vegetable that fights disease, strengthens neural tubes, and regulates digestion.

Butternut Squash Soup
Nothing says “Fall” like a big bowl of creamy butternut squash soup — but the creamy part often pushes this cold-weather favorite to the unhealthy side. Try this protein packed version for the same great flavor with extra nutrients — and much less fat.

Herb-Stuffed Turkey Breast
Hosting Thanksgiving can be a hassle, and wrestling a 20-pound turkey can make things extra stressful. Take this less-traditional route and choose a smaller piece of the bird — the breast — for a creative (and equally delicious) main-dish.

Healthy 4th of July Hot Dogs
It doesn’t get any more American than a 4th of July BBQ. Try our take on the classic hot dog for an equally tasty (but lighter) version of the summer staple.



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