50 Healthy Low-Carb Dinners To Fuel You Through the Week
Healthy Low-Carb Dinner Recipes
Low-carb recipes don't have to be just meat and vegetables, though if you search for any low-carb dinners on the Internet, that's about all you will find. We've limited these low-carb dinners to 30 grams of carbohydrates per serving. Many are even lower than our 30-gram cap.
Any carbs you do see in this collection are of the "smart" variety. Smart carbs (like fruit, whole grains, and beans) stretch any carb count you get into a healthier option. They come filled with fiber, protein, and other nutrients, not just empty carb calories.
Grilled Beef-Mushroom Burgers
Blending finely chopped mushrooms with ground beef adds great flavor, moisture, and even fiber to these no-bun burgers. Garlicky cucumber-yogurt sauce is tasty Middle Eastern–inspired alternative to standard ketchup and mustard.
Served with a juicy slice of fresh tomato and crisp butter lettuce, these burgers are naturally gluten-free. Double the greens and tomato and call it a burger salad. If you're in the mood for bun, try these tucked into warm whole-wheat pitas instead.
Cauliflower Risotto With Mushrooms
This vegan cauliflower risotto recipe is incredibly satisfying thanks to a few key tricks we employed: riced cauliflower perfectly mimics rice, then using a cauliflower puree instead of cream delivers the creaminess you’d expect in risotto. Sauteed mushrooms add a satisfying, savory, rich bite, and help to tone down cauliflower’s cruciferous-ness.
Eggs in Purgatory
We're not entirely certain about the history of this classic recipe's name, but perhaps it has something to do with the spicy kick of the sauce. Our version is a shakshuka-like dish in which fiery harissa paste and heady spices slowly infuse a rich tomato sauce where eggs gently poach. Look for jars of harissa with the Middle Eastern foods in your supermarket; you can substitute a half to full teaspoon of crushed red pepper in a pinch. The cook time for the eggs depends on the specific heat of your slow cooker. We offer a range of 15 to 20 minutes, so start checking at 15 minutes (or a couple minutes earlier) to ensure the eggs get done to your liking.
Spaghetti Squash Shrimp Scampi
Spaghetti squash is a favorite ingredient for those seeking a lower-carb, gluten-free alternative to pasta. Here, we pair it with fresh shrimp for a healthy spin on classic shrimp scampi. You'll love our clever cooking method for the spaghetti squash, which makes for perfect "noodles."
Coffee-Rubbed Steak with Brussels Sprouts Salad
This super fast weeknight meal comes together in 20 minutes, but is elegant enough to impress a date, or wow a family. The blue cheese and honey give the salad plenty of depth and flavor, and the coffee adds an unbeatable richness to the steak. (Don't worry. It's not enough to keep anyone up.) And it all comes together at just 427 calories per serving! Serve this company-worthy entrée with garlic mashed potatoes and sautéed green beans, and pour a bottle of cabernet sauvignon.
Paleo Sushi Salmon Roll with Cauliflower Rice
Make your own sushi with the trendiest "rice" on the market: cauliflower rice. Cook the cauliflower with some coconut milk then pair with nori and sashimi salmon to make the perfect Paleo sushi.
Orange, Tofu, and Bell Pepper Stir-Fry
Fresh orange juice perks up this speedy stir-fry, becoming a sticky, glossy sauce for the colorful vegetables. A quick coat in cornstarch helps the tofu develop a supercrisp crust without needing to fry in lots of oil. It's a good idea to have every element at the ready by the stove before you start to cook, as the stir-fry will come together very quickly. You can use bell peppers or any vegetable you have on hand, such as broccoli florets, thinly sliced carrots, or sliced snap peas.
Creamy Tomato Soup with Parmesan Crisps
We've turned our favorite part of a grilled cheese sandwich—when the cheese hits the hot pan and becomes a lacy, golden crisp—into a garnish for quick, creamy tomato soup. Grated Parmesan cheese melts and melds with crispy panko breadcrumbs in the skillet into silver dollar-sized crisps, then are flipped to brown on the other side. If you don’t have half-and-half, stir a spoonful or two of the pureed soup into yogurt until smooth, then stir that mixture back into the soup.
Crispy Tuna Cakes
Chicken Meatball and Vegetable Soup
Here’s a fun and comforting take on chicken soup. We use ground chicken and turn it into super-savory, Parmesan-flavored meatballs. Loads of sliced carrots dot the soup (somehow, most other chicken soups don’t have enough carrots), and big handfuls of baby spinach gently wilt into the broth. A finishing flourish of grated Parmesan cheese enriches every satisfying bowl.
Stuffed Zucchini Boats with Tomato Salad
Stuffed zucchini make tasty vessels for carrying a delicious array of ingredients. We stuff ours with a cheesy sausage mixture that easily satisfies as a main dish. The microwave quickly steams the zucchini so that you only need to run the stuffed boats under the broiler for a minute or two. Don't toss out the zucchini pulp—you can save it to make zucchini cakes or fritters.
Shrimp Fried Cauliflower Rice
This five-ingredient main is a great way to get more seafood into your weeknight rotation. Seek our shrimp that's free of sodium tripolyphosphate (STP), a common preservative that significantly boosts the sodium in your shrimp. Can't find riced cauliflower? Make your own by pulsing cauliflower florets in a food processor until crumbled. Easy!
Caesar Brussels Sprouts Salad with Almonds
Sturdy shaved Brussels sprouts hold the crunchy almonds and a garlicky Parmesan vinaigrette without wilting. Serve with roast chicken or lamb.
Cauliflower Puree With Barbecue Rotisserie Chicken
Don’t rush processing the cauliflower; it’s key to giving the puree the consistency of grits. You can also use purchased riced cauliflower. If it’s frozen, you can toss it right into the saucepan unthawed.
Zucchini Noodles with Spicy Peanut Sauce
Break out the squash! This 20-minute meal will be your warm weather favorite. Spiralized veggies take the place of pasta, but we promise the 20 grams of protein is enough to fill you up.
Low-Carb Beanless Chili
Not a fan of beans? This is the chili for you. We packed this version full of flavorful veggies such as corn, bell peppers, and chiles, which fill in for the beans and add extra layers of flavor. It’s even tastier the next day, so this no-bean chili is perfect to make ahead. If you can’t get your hands on chipotles in adobo, hot sauce will work in a pinch.
Grilled Vegetable Frittata
Frittatas are great canvases for leftover ingredients, especially grilled summer vegetables. We add the vegetables to the egg mixture just before it sets so the veggies don't release too much moisture into the frittata.
Lemon-Garlic Chicken Salad Lettuce Cups
These fresh lettuce wraps are a cinch to throw together thanks to a smart use of leftovers. Serve them with whatever variety of lettuce leaf you prefer—romaine, iceberg, or green leaf. If you’re packing this to take to work, wait until you’re ready to eat before filling the leaves, so the lettuce stays crisp.
Pistachio-Crusted Pork Cutlets
This delicious dinner is just under 400 calories and packs lots of protein, calcium and potassium. Make sure the cutlets are no more than a half-inch thick so they’ll cook quickly.
Thai Turkey Lettuce Cups
A little sugar balances the vinegar tang in the turkey mixture and helps develop wonderful crispy bits in the pan. Delicate butter lettuce leaves have a nice cup shape for filling; you could also use romaine.
Spice-Roasted Salmon with Roasted Cauliflower
Moroccan spices blend earthy (cumin) with warm and fragrant (coriander and allspice). Salmon and cauliflower embrace these flavors well. Look for thicker salmon fillets from the upper portion of the fish rather than thinner tail pieces.
We call for organic ketchup because it's usually sweetened with sugar, not high-fructose corn syrup. Feel free to toss in chopped fresh herbs for more flavor.
Brown Sugar-Grilled Salmon with Zucchini and Fennel "Noodles"
Sweet-and-tart brown sugar glaze gives fresh catch salmon fillets a tender crunch exterior and loads of rich flavor. Serve over a bed of zucchini and fennel ribbons, if desired.
Wednesday: Quick Chicken Piccata
Chicken piccata is typically made with sliced chicken breasts, but we find chicken "thighccata" to be even more flavorful.
Cheesy Sausage, Broccoli, and Quinoa Casserole
We traded white rice for whole-grain quinoa and kicked out any processed ingredients for a new take on this comfort classic. To add more flavor to quinoa, try toasting it. Freeze an extra pan of this whole-grain main for kid-friendly comfort. Serve with a simple green salad.
The Cheeseburger Salad
Classic burger elements become a fast, fun salad for the entire family—a deconstructed take on a diner favorite. Instead of four burger patties, we cook just two, then chop and sprinkle them over the top. A handful of crushed potato chips adds crunch. Kick up the dressing with a pinch of ground red pepper.
Chicken and Gnocchi Dumpling Soup
Homey and hearty chicken and dumplings has never been faster or easier, thanks to store-bought gnocchi. Browned bits from the seared chicken thighs create a rich base for the soup, while carrots and peas provide texture and fresh veggies to the soup. This kid-friendly soup is perfect for a weeknight dinner, and leftovers can be packed for lunch tomorrow.
BBQ Shrimp Toasts
Cold Noodle Salad with Sesame Crab
Minneapolis Chefs Jamie Malone and Erik Anderson lay Asian flavors on this stone-cold stunner. "Varying texture keeps things interesting," Chef Malone says. "Don't overcook your noodles," Chef Anderson says. "You don't want them to be too soft or mushy. You want a pleasant, chewy texture. It's all part of the fun of eating noodles."
Turkey and Vegetable Stew with Whole-Grain Biscuits
This hearty spin on chicken and dumplings satisfies with just over 300 calories. Double the recipe to freeze, so you have an easy, comforting dinner when you need it.
Tuna Poke Bowls with Brown Rice and Kale
Upgrade summer's coolest dish, poke, with whole grains, heart-healthy fats, and crisp kale. Want to go beyond the bowl? Serve this 10-minute mixture over mixed greens or with crunchy brown rice crackers, or tuck into corn tortillas.
Crispy Chicken Thighs with Spinach-and-Pea Potato Salad
A quick sear and a sprinkle of panko cuts prep and cook time in half compared to breading and baking.
Shrimp, Cabbage, and Carrot Potstickers
Be a last-minute appetizer hero, or serve a better-than-takeout main on the fly. No need for fancy folds: Just moisten wrapper edges and seal.
Tracy Singleton's Sprouted Quinoa with Marinated Veggies
Sprout a grain like quinoa (it takes time but almost no attention) for a pleasing bite and a nutrient boost. Add veggies and nasturtiums and marigolds (flowers optional) for a peppery kick.
This raw-food dish needs planning and patience, but the payoff is a salad that pops with each crunchy bite. Tracy Singleton (owner of Birchwood Cafe) says using cooked and cooled quinoa instead of sprouted quinoa is a fine shortcut, but the salad won't be 100% raw.
Egg and Tomato Open-Faced Sandwiches
Slightly thicker (1 1/2-oz.) bread slices build a sturdy sandwich base. Slice your own, or ask to have it sliced on the thick side. Meaty, briny kalamata olives and a splash of vinegar punch up a quick red pepper sauce for these vegetarian sandwiches. Serve with our Cheddar and Chive "Squachos," easy, cheesy nacho-style broiled squash slices, to complete the meal.
Family-Style Taco Night
For family taco night, set out the filling, taco shells, and toppings, and let everyone craft their own unique creations. Rather than a store-bought taco mix pack, we created a simple homemade blend of basic pantry spices. It takes no more than five minutes to measure it all out and blend it up, and provides excellent flavor to a comforting, uncomplicated meal.
Chicken Wonton Soup
Stash a batch in the freezer for a faster, fresher, veggie-packed alternative to takeout. For an easier dumpling shape, fold wrapper in half over filling to form a half-moon; press well to seal edges.
Vietnamese Pork Salad
Think of this impressive salad as a deconstructed version of a spring roll. Rice noodles cook in just 2 minutes; be sure to drain and rinse promptly with cold water so they don't overcook.
The Perfect Lobster Roll
Neptune Oyster in Boston and Red's Eats in Maine, on which this recipe is based, both give the option of butter or mayo. Offering that choice means they can't hide anything about the quality of their lobster.
Lemon-Garlic Pork and Broccoli Bulgur Bowl
Pork isn't always the fastest thing to cook, so using up leftovers can result in quick pork-based dishes for weeknights. Use fattier cuts, such as pork belly, sparingly to add loads of flavor without too many extra calories. Pork tenderloin is an ideal choice for a main dish due its ability to be sliced, shredded, or chopped.
In this filling bowl, bulgur is a great go-to grain because of its quick cook time and neutral flavor. Have for an easy to pack ahead lunch or light dinner.
Steak & Mushroom Pizza-Dillas
When stuffed tortillas are bound with gooey mozzarella and dunked into warm marinara, you end up with a pizza-quesadilla hybrid, or a pizza-dilla. Fill the piza-dillas with shredded chicken and spinach or with zucchini and mushrooms for a vegetarian option.
Lemony Roasted Salmon with White Wine Couscous
The tangy herbed yogurt sauce also moistens the salmon during cooking.
Ropa Vieja Empanadas
Cookbook author Sandra Gutierrez learned about entertaining from her grandmother, who frequently hosted huge parties at her home outside Guatemala City. "It's my greatest inheritance: her love for style, food, entertaining, and making people happy," says Gutierrez. Those gatherings often featured empanadas, flaky hand pies filled with savory or sweet fillings. Gutierrez developed an appreciation for the portable turnovers: "I love them for parties," she says. "They're easy to eat—perfect for standing and talking." Take a cue from Gutierrez and create your own memorable gathering with the make-ahead empanada recipes that follow.
First up, a classic empanada recipe: Rojo Vieja. In Latin American cuisine, flank steak is the go-to choice for recipes that call for boiled meat because it shreds beautifully and offers bold flavor. It's also inexpensive, making it ideal for feeding a crowd.
Savory Chickpea Waffles
We swap sugary pancake syrup for a poached egg and use chickpea flour in place of refined for an extra punch of protein. Enjoy for a quick breakfast or dinner.
Waffle Iron Turkey Melt Panini
This playful turkey melt's abundant crisp crevices and gooey interior will have the whole family wondering, "What can we waffle next?"