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Healthy food doesn’t have to mean boring food. So rather than groan when you hear 500-calorie meals, prepare to drool. These 500-calorie meals are delicious, easy to make, and best of all, they’re filling.

We’ve got a combination of slow cooker, one-pot, baked, and casserole dishes boosting with flavor (not just salt). And the calorie breakdown is clearly marked so you just have to cook, eat, and be happy. Try these recipes for lunch or dinner as a meal under 500 calories.

While these dinners will make your body feel good, don’t forget about your wallet! Use these food deals to save on all the ingredients, and download the free The Krazy Coupon Lady app for discounts on everything else.

Happy cooking!

 

1. 500-Calorie Meal: Shrimp Tacos with Creamy Cilantro Sauce

Shrimp Tacos with Creamy Cilantro Sauce recipe

Taco night shouldn’t be limited to just Tuesdays because this low calorie shrimp taco recipe is good enough to eat every night. Pre-marinating the shrimp for about 15 minutes before you cook them will lock in the flavor. The best part — three tacos equal 500 calories!

Calories per Serving: 492

 

Shrimp Taco Recipe Under 500 Calories

Ingredients:

Shrimp Marinade

  • 1 1/2 lb 31/40 shrimp* (raw, peeled, deveined, tails removed)
  • 2 tablespoon olive oil, divided
  • 2 tablespoons fresh lime juice
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon chili powder
  • 1 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1/4 teaspoon dried oregano
  • 1/2 teaspoon sweet paprika

Cilantro Sauce

  • 3/4 cup plain Greek yogurt
  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • 1 teaspoon lime zest
  • 1/2 tablespoon white vinegar
  • 2 minced garlic cloves
  • 1/4 cup cilantro leaves
  • 1/4 teaspoon onion powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt

Toppings

  • 2 cups finely shredded cabbage
  • 10 – 12 small corn tortillas, warmed

Directions:

  1. Whisk or blend all sauce ingredients together and refrigerate in a container.
  2. In a Ziploc bag, marinate the shrimp for 15 minutes.
  3. Use the remaining one tablespoon of olive oil to saute the shrimp in a medium-sized skillet over medium heat. Cook for 3 – 4 minutes on each side.
  4. Assemble the tacos with 4 – 5 shrimp, cabbage, and cilantro sauce.
  5. As an option, top with pico de gallo and chopped avocado.

Tip: When shopping for frozen shrimp, you’ll notice a number or a number and the letter U on the bag. Those numbers represent how many shrimp are provided per pound. The letter U stands for under. The bigger the number, the smaller shrimp in the bag. For example, a U15 has 15 shrimp per pound, while a 51/60 has 51 to 60 shrimp per pound.

 

2. Sweet Potato and Kale Breakfast Casserole

Sweet Potato and Kale Breakfast Casserole recipe

I’m all about making a filling, healthy breakfast casserole that will last a few days. This hearty, low-calorie sweet potato and kale casserole is packed with protein and is under 500 calories per serving. Perfection.

Calories per Serving: 354

 

Sweet Potato and Kale Breakfast Casserole Recipe

Yield: 8 servings

Ingredients:

  • 1 lb pork sausage links, cut on a diagonal
  • 4 cups sweet potatoes, peeled and cubed (about 2 lb)
  • 1/2 large sweet onion, diced
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons garlic powder
  • 1 teaspoon black pepper
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried basil
  • 10 eggs
  • 1/2 cup whole milk
  • 1 large tomato, diced
  • 1 cup kale, chopped

 

Directions:

  1. Preheat the oven to 375 degrees and lightly grease a 9 x 13 dish with nonstick spray.
  2. Brown the sausage in a large skillet on medium heat. After about 5 minutes, add the onion and potatoes until softened (about 5 minutes). Season with salt and pepper to taste. Drain any grease from the sausage.
  3. Add the mixture to the greased baking dish.
  4. In a large bowl, beat the eggs and add the milk and seasonings. Mix in the tomatoes and kale.
  5. Pour the egg mixture over the sausage and potatoes. Mix to combine.
  6. Bake uncovered for 45 minutes. Cool for 10 minutes before serving.

 

3. Spaghetti Squash with Marinara Sauce

Spaghetti Squash with Marinara Sauce recipe

Craving pasta but not the carb guilt? Spaghetti squash is a great alternative and is low in calories but high in fiber. It’s versatile as a faux pasta and can adapt to any flavor profile. Once you cook it, it magically turns into pasta once you fork it. It’s easy as a side dish or main entree.

Calories per Serving: 184

 

Spaghetti Squash with Marinara Sauce Recipe

Yield: 2 – 4 servings

Ingredients:

  • 2 whole spaghetti squash
  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • 1 teaspoon each: salt and ground black pepper
  • 4 cups marinara sauce

Directions:

  1. Preheat the oven to 450 degrees. Prepare a large baking sheet with aluminum foil.
  2. On a cutting board, cut the squash in half lengthwise and scrape out the seeds, being careful not to pull the “strands.”
  3. Drizzle olive oil over the insides and sprinkle with salt and pepper.
  4. Place flesh side down and use a fork to poke a few holes in the skin for air to release.
  5. Roast for 30 to 35 minutes so it doesn’t get too mushy. In the meantime, warm your marinara sauce.
  6. After cooling for 15 minutes, flip the squash on its back and use a fork to scrape the insides to pull the “spaghetti” strands together.
  7. Toss the spaghetti squash in a saute pan with the marinara or serve some on top of the squash.

 

4. General Tso’s Tofu

General Tso's Tofu recipe

Add some spice to your meals under 500 calories with a kicked up General Tso’s tofu dish. It’s vegan this time but meaty like the original chicken dish. The crispy coating comes together thanks to the sticky sauce. Pair it with brown or cauliflower rice to amp up the nutritional value.

Calories per Serving: 324 (not including rice)

Yield: 4 servings

 

General Tso’s Tofu Recipe

Ingredients:

  • 16 ounces extra firm tofu, diced

Marinade

  • 1 tablespoon sesame oil
  • 1 tablespoon brown sugar
  • 1/8 teaspoon red pepper flakes
  • 1 tablespoon minced garlic clove
  • 4 tablespoons cornstarch

Finishing Sauce:

  • 1 tablespoon rice vinegar
  • 1 tablespoon sesame oil
  • 2 tablespoons tamari*
  • 1 tablespoon Hoisin Sauce
  • 1 teaspoon onion powder
  • 1 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 2 tablespoon sugar
  • 1 tablespoon cornstarch
  • 1/4 cup vegetable stock

Directions:

  1. With your tofu diced, place them over a strainer to drain. Simply wrapping them in multiple paper towels will help too. Overnight is best, but at least 60 minutes will help remove the moisture. Less water = more crisp.
  2. Make the sauce and set aside.
  3. With the pressed tofu as dry as possible, marinate it in a bag or bowl for 30 minutes. After that time, discard the marinade and gently toss the cubes in cornstarch, shaking off any excess.
  4. Pan fry in one tablespoon of sesame oil until golden brown. Set aside.
  5. Combine the sauce ingredients in a small pot or shallow pan. Whisk until smooth. Add the tofu to the sauce until well coated, and you’re done.

Serve General Tso’s tofu over rice or with sauteed bok choy.

Tip: Tamari is a gluten-free version of soy sauce, and it’s less salty.

 

5. Skillet Beef & Broccoli

Skillet Beef and Broccoli recipe

With this scrumptious Chinese-American classic, you’ll never order it out again. The silky brown sauce coats the beef and vegetables perfectly. Devour it alone or eat it with fluffy rice.

Calories per Serving: 376

Yield: 4

Related: Kids Eat Free Restaurants

 

 

Skillet Beef & Broccoli Recipe

Ingredients:

  • 1 pound steak (flat iron, top-round, tri-tip, sirloin, flank)
  • 2 tablespoons sesame oil, divided
  • 2 tablespoons cornstarch, divided
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper
  • 1/2 teaspoon granulated garlic
  • 1/2 yellow onion, sliced
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 tablespoon grated ginger (or ginger paste)
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 1/2 cup beef broth
  • 1/4 cup soy sauce
  • 2 tablespoons brown sugar
  • 4 cups broccoli florets, chopped

Directions:

  1. In a large bowl or Ziploc bag, whisk one tablespoon of cornstarch along with the seasonings and sesame oil.
  2. Cut the steak into thin strips against the grain. Cutting it with the grain will result in tough (not tender) bites. Add the meat to the marinade for 15 – 20 minutes.
  3. Pour one tablespoon of sesame oil into a large skillet (or wok) over medium-high heat. Add the onion and cook for 1 – 2 minutes, and then add the marinated meat. Cook for an additional 5 minutes until the meat is no longer pink. Remove the steak and onions from the pan and set aside to make the sauce.
  4. Over medium heat, add the cornstarch, garlic, ginger, water, broth, sugar and soy sauce, scraping up the browned bits. Simmer for 5 – 6 minutes to thicken. Add the broccoli to coat, then the meat and onions.

Tip: Beef should register 135 – 145 degrees for medium doneness.

 

6. Zucchini Quiche

Zucchini Quiche recipe

Cheesy, healthy, and under 500 calories? Yep, we gotcha covered with this zucchini quiche. It’s perfect for a lazy weekend in your pajamas with your favorite tea or coffee.

Calories per Serving: 203

Yield: 6

 

Zucchini Quiche Recipe

Ingredients:

  • 1 9-inch refrigerated pie dough
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 3 minced garlic cloves
  • 1/2 cup medium onion, diced
  • 2 medium zucchini, sliced thinly
  • 1/2 cup bell pepper, diced
  • 1 1/2 cups white button mushrooms, sliced
  • 4 cups kale, chopped
  • 6 eggs
  • 1/2 cup whole milk
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper
  • 1 teaspoon fresh thyme, chopped
  • 1 teaspoon fresh basil, chopped
  • 1 cup shredded mozzarella cheese

Directions:

  1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees and prepare the dough as instructed in a 9-inch deep pie pan.
  2. Meanwhile, in a large skillet saute vegetables over medium heat in olive oil for 6 – 7 minutes. Add the kale until it softens. Set aside.
  3. In a large bowl, whisk the eggs, milk, herbs, and seasonings.
  4. Once the crust is slightly cooled, add the vegetables, then the egg mixture.
  5. Bake uncovered for 50 minutes or until the top is golden and the eggs are set.

 

7. Creamy Tuscan Chicken with Sun-dried Tomatoes and Spinach

Creamy Tuscan Chicken with Sun-Dried Tomatoes and Spinach recipe

Chicken is a versatile protein that can easily be used for meals under 500 calories. In less than 40 minutes, you can have an irresistible and easy dish that’s great for those busy weeknights.

Calories per serving: 427

Yield: 4

 

Creamy Tuscan Chicken with Sun-dried Tomatoes and Spinach Recipe

Ingredients:

  • 4 boneless skinless chicken breasts
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper
  • 1/4 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1/2 cup all-purpose flour for dredging
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil

 

Sauce:

  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • 8 ounces button mushrooms sliced
  • 1 tablespoon flour
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons minced garlic
  • 1/2 cup chicken broth
  • 3/4 cup heavy cream
  • 1/4 cup grated parmesan cheese
  • 1 cup baby spinach leaves
  • 1/3 cup oil packed sun-dried tomatoes, chopped
  • 1 tablespoon fresh parsley, chopped

Directions:

  1. Season chicken breasts with seasonings. Cook in a large skillet over medium heat for 3 – 4 minutes on each side. Set aside.
  2. In the same skillet, add the butter and cook the mushrooms and garlic for 5 – 6 minutes. Sprinkle the flour and cook for another minute.
  3. Add the remaining ingredients and simmer for 2 – 3 minutes.
  4. Place the chicken in the sauce or serve with pasta and the sauce on top with the chicken.

Psst … check these chicken coupons before heading to the grocery store.

 

8. 500-Calorie Meal: Low Carb Turkey Chili

Low Carb Turkey Chili recipe

On a cold fall day, a big pot of chili is so comforting, but it doesn’t have to be made with ground beef to be drool-worthy. Using ground turkey lowers the fat and caloric intake. This leaner meat choice doesn’t have a lot of flavor, so with a good spice blend it’s worth the 40-minute cook time.

Calories per serving: 442

Yield: 12

 

Low Carb Turkey Chili Recipe

Ingredients:

  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 medium onions, diced
  • 2 bell peppers, diced
  • 3 garlic cloves minced
  • 2 pounds ground turkey
  • 1 14.5-ounce can diced tomatoes
  • 2 16-ounce cans of red kidney beans, drained and rinsed
  • 3 tablespoons chili powder
  • 2 teaspoons salt
  • 1 tablespoon each: ground cumin, paprika, onion powder, garlic powder
  • 1 teaspoon ground black pepper
  • 1 1/2 – 2 cups water

Directions:

  1. Prepare the spice blend ahead of time and set aside.
  2. Heat olive oil in a Dutch oven or large pot over medium heat. Add the vegetables and garlic until softened (about 5 – 6 minutes), then mix in the ground turkey. Cook until no longer pink and slightly browned. Season as you go.
  3. After the meat is cooked, add the diced tomatoes (with the juice) and kidney beans. Stir well and check for seasoning. Cook for 1 – 2 minutes and add water as needed to your desired consistency. Simmer on low for 30 minutes,

Meat coupons are rare, but there are often fantastic promotions to save big. Stock up when prices are more than 25% off.

 

9. One-pot Coconut Chickpea Curry

One-pot Coconut Chickpea Curry recipe

Cozy up with this Asian-inspired recipe that’s vegetarian, hearty, and full of flavor. And you can make it all in one pot, which is my favorite reason to love it. You won’t even notice you’re eating something under 500 calories. It’s also a delicious way to sneak in some plant-based protein for your kiddos.

Calories per serving: 498

Yield: 4

 

One-pot Coconut Chickpea Curry Recipe

Ingredients:

  • 1/2 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 medium onion, sliced
  • 3 minced garlic cloves
  • 1 tablespoon ginger paste
  • 2 teaspoons ground coriander
  • 1 teaspoon each: ground cumin, ground turmeric
  • 1/4 teaspoon red pepper flakes
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 3 tomatoes, chopped
  • 2 tablespoons lentils, rinsed
  • 3 tablespoons coconut milk
  • 1 16-ounce can chickpeas, drained and rinsed
  • 1/2 cup spinach, chopped
  • 1 tablespoon lemon juice

Directions:

  1. Saute the onion, garlic, and ginger for 2 – 3 minutes. Add the spices and cook for an additional 1 – 2 minutes.
  2. Mix in the tomatoes, lentils, and coconut milk and simmer covered for 15 minutes to soften the lentils.
  3. Add the chickpeas, spinach, and lemon juice. Simmer for 5 more minutes.
  4. Top with chopped cilantro and serve over basmati rice. For a sweeter taste, add a tablespoon of brown sugar.

 

10. 10-Minute Black Bean & Corn Quesadillas

10-Minute Black Bean & Corn Quesadillas recipe

When you’re craving quesadillas but don’t want all the calories that come with one packed with meat, choose this tasty vegetarian alternative instead.

Calories per serving: 484

Yield: 8

 

10-Minute Black Bean & Corn Quesadillas Recipe

Ingredients:

  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 medium onion, diced
  • 1/2 small bell pepper, diced
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 teaspoon ground coriander
  • 1 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 10-ounce can corn
  • 1/2 cup salsa
  • 1/2 tablespoon fresh lime juice
  • 1 (15-ounce) can black beans, drained and rinsed
  • 1/4 bunch fresh cilantro, chopped
  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • 8 8-inch flour tortillas, warmed
  • 6 ounces shredded Monterey and Colby-Jack cheese

Directions:

  1. Over a medium heat, soften onion, bell pepper, and garlic in olive oil — about 3 minutes. Add the spices and cook until fragrant.
  2. Mix in the corn, salsa, lime juice, black beans, and cilantro until thoroughly combined. Check the seasoning level and add more if needed.
  3. In a large skillet, melt two teaspoons of butter over medium. Add the tortilla and top it with one half cup of the filling, and then sprinkle it with cheese. Fold over with a spatula and cook until golden, crispy, and cheesy. Cut into triangles. Repeat for the other tortillas.

 

11. Pan Roasted Chicken and Vegetables

Pan Roasted Chicken and Vegetables recipe

I love a good sheet pan dinner. The cleanup is easy, and the dinnertime is even faster. Leg quarters are a larger cut of meat, but the flavor is so much better with the bone in. Season it well (it can take it), and let it cook on a bed of vegetables for the ultimate meal under 500 calories.

Calories per serving: 495

Yield: 6

 

Pan Roasted Chicken and Vegetables Recipe

Ingredients:

  • 1/2 tablespoon salt
  • 1/2 tablespoon ground black pepper
  • 1 teaspoon each: garlic powder, onion powder, dried thyme, paprika, dried oregano, dried rosemary
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil, divided
  • 1 lb carrots, sliced ½ inch thick
  • 1 large onion, sliced
  • 1 zucchini, sliced into spears
  • 1 red bell pepper, sliced
  • 1/2 lb Yukon gold potatoes, chopped
  • 3 lb chicken leg quarters, bone in, skin on

Directions:

  1. Combine the spices and set aside.
  2. Line a large baking sheet with parchment paper and preheat the oven to 400 degrees.
  3. In a bowl, combine one tablespoon of olive oil and the vegetables. Sprinkle over some of the seasoning mix. Lay them on the baking sheet in an even layer.
  4. Add the leg quarters to the bowl and season them with the same seasoning mix. Coating evenly. Lay the chicken on top of the vegetables.
  5. Roast for 40 – 50 minutes or until the thermometer reads at least 165 degrees. For crispy skin, position the pan under the broiler for two minutes.

 

12. Baked Mexican Quinoa Stuffed Peppers

Baked Mexican Quinoa Stuffed Peppers recipe

We all know how heavy Mexican dishes can be, but these quinoa-stuffed bell peppers reach the ideal state of being filling and flavorful without all the sluggishness that comes after a dense and cheesy southwestern meal.

Calories per Serving: 419

Yield: 6

 

Baked Mexican Quinoa Stuffed Peppers Recipe

Ingredients:

  • 6 large red, yellow, or orange bell peppers (halved, seeds removed)
  • Salt and ground black pepper to taste
  • 2 cups cooked quinoa
  • 15-ounce can black beans, rinsed and drained
  • 1 cup fiesta corn
  • 2 tablespoons chopped cilantro
  • 2 tablespoons fresh lime juice
  • 3 teaspoons chili powder
  • 2 1/2 teaspoons ground cumin
  • 1 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1 cup shredded cheddar cheese

Directions:

  1. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. Line a sheet tray with nonstick cooking spray or use a 9 x 13 pan with foil.
  2. Sprinkle the bell peppers with salt and pepper and place them cut side up on the tray. Bake for 15 minutes.
  3. Meanwhile, mix the remaining ingredients together, except the cheese.
  4. Evenly add the mix to the peppers, top with cheese and bake for 15 minutes.
  5. Serve with salsa, guacamole, or hot sauce!

 

13. Honey Mustard Glazed Salmon

Honey Mustard Glazed Salmon recipe

Brighten up your dinner with the refreshing taste of honey mustard and the ease of this salmon recipe. Serve this 500-calorie meal over brown rice for a complete dinner your family is bound to love.

Calories per Serving: 309

Yield: 4

 

 

Honey Mustard Glazed Salmon Recipe

Ingredients:

  • 4 6-ounce salmon filets
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon white pepper
  • 1 tablespoon butter
  • 1 tablespoon brown sugar
  • 2 tablespoons Dijon mustard
  • 1 tablespoon honey
  • 1 tablespoon tamari (or soy sauce)
  • 1⁄2 tablespoon canola or vegetable oil

Directions:

  1. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees.
  2. Season the salmon on both sides with salt and pepper.
  3. In a small saucepan, melt the butter with the brown sugar. Stir in the mustard, honey, and tamari until the sugar dissolves. Set aside.
  4. In an ovenproof pan, heat the oil over high heat.
  5. Heat the oil in an ovenproof skillet over high heat.
  6. Place the salmon flesh-side down and cook for 3 – 4 minutes on each side.
  7. Add some of the glaze to the pan and bake for 5 – 6 minutes. Remove from the oven and brush on the remaining glaze.

 

14. Slow Cooker Pork Stew

Slow Cooker Pork Stew recipe

Flavorful, easy, and just under 500 calories. I predict this slow cooker pork stew will soon become a family weekend staple. Just set it and get on with your weekend.

Calories per Serving: 421

Yield: 8

 

Slow Cooker Pork Stew Recipe

Ingredients:

  • 1 tablespoon canola or vegetable oil
  • 1 1/2 1lb (24 ounce) pork tenderloins, cut into 2-inch pieces
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon pepper
  • 1/4 cup all purpose flour
  • 1 red bell pepper, chopped
  • 2 large carrots, cut into 1/2-inch slices
  • 2 celery stalks, chopped
  • 1 medium onion, chopped
  • 4 minced garlic cloves
  • 2 1/2 cups beef broth
  • 1/2 cup dry red wine
  • 2 tablespoons tomato paste
  • 1/3 cup pitted dried plums (prunes), chopped
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 1 fresh rosemary sprig
  • 1 fresh thyme sprig

Directions:

  1. Heat the 4-quart slow cooker on low.
  2. Season the pork with salt and pepper, dredge in flour, shaking off excess. Set aside.
  3. Heat a large skillet over medium-high heat with 1 tablespoon of oil. Add the vegetables and garlic, cooking for 3 – 4 minutes. Remove from heat and pour into the slow cooker.
  4. In the same skillet, sear the tenderloin on both sides, 3 minutes each side.
  5. Top the tenderloin onto the vegetables. Whisk the broth and tomato paste together and pour the mixture into the slow cooker.
  6. Add the plums, garlic, bay leaves, rosemary, thyme.
  7. Cook covered for 5 – 6 hours.
  8. Before serving, discard the herbs. Serve over rice or mashed potatoes.

 

How to save on 500-calorie meal ingredients and food containers:

various vegetables in the aldi produce aisle

Produce:

  • Shop for fruits and veggies at Aldi. Across the board, produce prices are lower at Aldi than anywhere else (yes, even Walmart!). Be picky though; quality can be hit or miss.
  • Get up to 40% off supermarket prices at MisfitsMarket.com. Misfits Market sells “ugly” (but not bruised or rotten!) produce at a steep discount because grocery stores like pretty produce, believing it sells better. This is a subscription box and “you get what you get” in a weekly delivery. You don’t choose your items.
  • Download Ibotta and Checkout51 for cash-back offers on produce. You’ll see offers like $0.25 back when you buy green beans, strawberries, or blueberries. Scan your receipt after you buy to get credited via PayPal. Best part? You can combine these offers with paper coupons!

Here’s more about how to save on fresh produce.

 

Other low-calorie ingredients:

What 500-calorie meals have you tried? Share any recipes or tips in the comments below.

14 Meals Under 500 Calories That Will Make You Drool