If you’re looking for an evening meal that will not make you feel like going to sleep for a thousand years, light dinner ideas are the way to go.
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There are lots of reasons to have a light dinner. If you go to bed on a full stomach, you may sleep more restlessly. Also, if you suffer from heartburn or indigestion, eating a light dinner will help with that. Also, when you eat light in the evening, weight loss is easier.
Light dinners are super easy to make and are perfect for anyone looking to shave off calories and other waistline-expanding elements.
As the day comes to a close, many people look for ways to unwind and relax with a meal that doesn’t weigh them down. Light dinners have gained immense popularity for their many benefits, such as aiding digestion, promoting better sleep, and contributing to weight management goals. Convenient and delicious, these wholesome meal options provide the ideal way to nourish the body without the heaviness that often accompanies larger meals.
One of the key aspects of preparing a light dinner is finding the perfect balance of ingredients: lean proteins, vegetables, and healthy fats, combined with exciting flavors and textures. By incorporating a variety of fresh, seasonal produce, low-fat proteins, and whole grains, it’s possible to create a meal that is both satisfying and healthful. This approach not only makes for appealing dishes but also encourages mindful, intuitive eating habits.
Another reason to consider light dinner options is the time and energy-saving aspect, as they typically require less preparation. Quick and easy meal options allow individuals to spend more of their evenings pursuing hobbies, spending time with loved ones, or indulging in self-care activities, ultimately contributing to overall well-being. With these advantages, light dinners are undeniably a trend worth trying and adopting as a part of a balanced lifestyle.
Plus, you’ve got tons of light meals for dinner to choose from with flavors and ingredients to suit all tastes.
Below we’ve gathered 40 exciting light dinner recipes that are big on flavor and small on carbs and calories.
There’s nothing like the incredible taste of tacos, but let’s be honest, those tortillas and taco shells add a lot of carbs and calories to our meal. But with this recipe for taco salad, you can enjoy your favorite taco flavors while eating lighter.
Suppose you’re looking for new light cuisine with many spicy flavors. In that case, this recipe for Aloo Matar Bobi uses simple, fresh ingredients like potatoes, cauliflower, peas, and savory spices to create a delicious experience that won’t ambush you at the scale!
Another fun, flavorful, and healthy light dinner is this pan sheet meal featuring seasoned sweet potatoes, broccoli, onions, dried cranberries, walnuts, and juicy chunks of chicken. It’s fast and easy to make and brings together so many amazing textures and flavors. Plus, you can switch things up with other veggies like carrots, Brussels sprouts, cauliflower, and more.
Meal bowls are another great option for light, delicious meals that give plenty of variety and flavor. This Buddha Bowl with Thai sweet chili chicken brings together juicy sweet chili chicken and tons of veggies in a sweet chili dressing that you’ll absolutely love.
This delicious chicken bruschetta recipe doesn’t add additional balsamic reduction or cheese. It’s simple, flavorful, and very easy to make with a fantastic homemade pesto sauce that gives the juicy chicken an unbelievable flavor. Also, the recipe only needs eight ingredients and is ready to eat in less than 30 minutes!
Another fun meatless meal combines chickpeas, feta, peppers, quinoa, olives, onion, and zesty garlic, lemon, and oregano seasoning stuffed inside zucchini for a hearty, nutritious meal that delivers lots of delicious taste. These savory zucchini boats are ready to eat in about 30 minutes.
This delicious Italian Antipasto rainbow pasta salad makes for an amazing side dish or main course. Plus, it’s whipping it together is a breeze. Just toss your ingredients in an Italian herb vinaigrette, and you’ve got yourself a very zesty pasta salad that won’t leave you hungry.
Here’s a great sheet pan recipe that features delicious Mediterranean-style roasted veggies that only takes 25 minutes to make from start to finish. The main ingredients include asparagus, cherry tomatoes, onion, and large shrimp coated in a savory homemade citrus-ginger olive oil sauce that’s simply wonderful.
If you’re looking to cut back on red meat but don’t want to give up taco night, this recipe for taco lettuce wraps using seasoned ground turkey is just the thing you need. It also features ingredients such as black beans, cheddar cheese, tomatoes, cilantro, avocado, sour cream, and fresh lime juice, among others.
Soup is another great option for a flavorful light dinner. And this recipe for classic chicken noodle soup combines delicious ingredients such as juicy chicken, celery, carrots, and egg noodles swimming in a seasoned, flavorful broth that will have you happily sipping away to the last drop!
Here’s a recipe for a colorful Asian chicken salad that features a delicious homemade tangy and sweet vinaigrette sauce. The salad also has crunchy veggies such as carrots, napa cabbage, red cabbage, green onions, romaine lettuce, kale, and the sweet addition of apple and juicy seasoned chicken.
This light and delicious recipe for Pesto Chicken Tortellini has fresh basil and sun tomatoes and pairs very well with salads such as Panazella, fruit, and cucumber salad. Plus, it’s super kid-friendly, and it’s made using only one pot. And the pesto sauce is simply something you have to taste to believe.
These chicken lettuce wraps are healthy and flavorful ways to cut back on carbs while enjoying the lean protein of savory seasoned ground chicken. You can use white meat, but dark meat chicken will have more flavor. Plus, the recipe calls for a few peanut sprinkles, but they are entirely optional.
This recipe for Chicken Provencal Skillet is a meal that’s ready in 30 minutes and tastes even better than it looks! This beautiful meal features cherry tomatoes, garlic, shallots, white wine, lemon, and lots of fresh herbs, making it an instant legend at your dining table.
Kabobs are a fun and easy light dinner you can make on a grill or in the oven. Cooking all the ingredients together on one stick really helps transfer incredible flavors, such as the red bell pepper to other components like the juicy chicken and zucchini.
If you’re in the mood for some good Thai food but don’t fancy paying an arm and a leg for delivery or hopping in your car, try this Thai Basil Chicken recipe, also known as Pad Krapow Gai. The savory seasoned beef and spices taste amazing with the fried egg!
Shrimp make a delicious alternative to beef in tacos. This recipe for shrimp tacos delivers plump, juicy shrimp cooked with deliciously spicy Cajun seasonings and the flavors of sweet and fresh pineapple and creamy fresh avocado for a taco experience like nothing you’ll Taco Bell.
Here’s another incredible one-pan meal that’s no-muss, no-fuss, but all delicious flavor. This baked honey mustard chicken recipe features insanely juicy chicken breast seasons in a homemade honey mustard sauce with green beans and potatoes. You’ve got a complete meal that is super quick and easy.
These cool, crunchy tuna wraps will certainly liven up your dinner if you want to spice things up. They are made with a savory, spicy tuna salad mix, crunchy carrots and cucumbers, and creamy avocado for a delicious combination of textures and flavors.
Here’s another fun taco recipe featuring juicy chicken tacos in a spicy and sweet sriracha sauce with cool mixed greens, green onion, creamy avocado, and a delicious sour cream cilantro-lime sauce that’s just out of this world!
This power bowl recipe for Greek Chicken Orzo makes for both a great lunch and dinner. Plus, it’s packed with loads of delicious ingredients such as savory seasoned chicken, shallots, cucumber, tomatoes, cheese, and mint, all in a blend of spices and tzatziki sauce that makes this chicken dinner a real winner!
This sheet pan dinner features salmon seasoned in a savory-sweet and tangy maple-mustard glaze and veggies such as crispy Brussels sprouts and sweet potatoes served with pecans, pomegranate, and pumpkin seeds. This incredibly flavorful meal is super easy to put together using only a few simple ingredients.
23. Hunan Shrimp
Stir-fry meals are great light dinner options that a very easy to put together in just minutes. This recipe for Hunan shrimp features juicy shrimp, broccoli, red bell peppers, green onions, and yellow onions in a spicy homemade human sauce that’s better than any takeout you’ve had.
Here’s another amazing one-pan dish that features juicy roasted chicken and tender potatoes seasoned in a zesty lemon spice sauce. Best of all, this citrusy, savory meal requires nothing special. You just combine your lemon mix and roast all your ingredients together, letting your oven take care of the rest!
For a restaurant-quality meal without the high bill and hour wait, try this recipe for flakey, meaty salmon smothered in a flavorful, creamy sauce that can be on your plate and ready to eat in only 30 minutes. The recipe also includes garlic, cherry tomatoes, baby spinach, and parmesan cheese.
Lime shrimp and avocado salad is a zesty, refreshing, and light meal that calls for zero cooking! This cool salad is perfect for the summer and it has fresh ingredients like juicy shrimp, red onion, tomatoes, cilantro avocados, and chopped jalapeno all tossed in freshly squeezed lime juice with just a touch of olive oil.
Kick your dinner up a notch or two tonight with this recipe for firecracker salmon. It’s made with a spicy sriracha sauce and red pepper flakes that give it a bold fiery flavor. Now, if you find the marinade a bit too spicy, you can always balance it with a bit of sweetness by adding some brown sugar.
Another delicious dinner salad is this recipe for mango shrimp salad with lime vinaigrette dressing. This salad features mixed lettuce, cherry tomatoes, grated parmesan, mango, and a special homemade lime vinaigrette dressing that gives up some extra pep.
Here’s another delicious Buddha bowl recipe that features a bit of Korean spice. But, the vibrant Thai flavors really bring everything together. It’s very well balanced between salty, sweet, sour, and spicy. You’ve got all the flavors of Southeast Asia represented in this one amazing dish!
Chicken cobb salad is a super healthy and delicious meal you can make for lunch or, in this case, a light dinner. It’s packed with proteins such as baked or grilled chicken, boiled eggs, and crispy bacon. You also have cream avocado, cool cucumber, juicy cherry tomatoes, red onion, and feta cheese on top of your favorite greens.
Going back to our favorite light dinner soups, we have this recipe for Moroccan lentil soup featuring some flavorful and tasty Moroccan spices and lots of savory veggies. However, don’t be fooled. The soup is not super spicy — plus, it’s gluten-free and vegan.
We have this recipe for Fasolada or “Greek Bean Soup, ” moving back to our Mediterranean dishes.” This soup makes for a tasty and very satisfying weeknight dinner, and you’ll absolutely love all the bold and fragrant Greek flavors. Plus, this dish is gluten-free and vegan.
Appetizers can also make for some delicious light dinner choices, and this recipe for shrimp Rémoulade features poached shrimp that’s tossed in a creamy and spicy light sauce. The Rémoulade sauce is a mix of mustard, mayonnaise, cajun seasonings, paprika, garlic, horseradish, pickle juice, or chopped pickle, plus bits of chopped veggies like onions, peppers, or shallots.
If you’re craving a light meal that brings the beef, try this recipe for Greek Spinach salad featuring juicy grilled flap steak and creamy, savory marinated Feta cheese. It also has tomatoes, cucumber, and baby spinach.
For a super easy and healthy light dinner, try this Thai Peanut Chicken Wraps recipe. It’s made with a very flavorful peanut sauce, crunchy carrots and cabbage, and juicy chicken.
Naco peppers are basically deconstructed stuff bell peppers with tons of seasoned beef, cheese, and your favorite toppings. You can make your recipe even lighter by substituting beef for ground turkey.
Here’s a recipe that gives classic fried rice a delicious Mediterranean twist featuring salami and a creamy, flavorful tzatziki sauce. Plus, this recipe also takes about five minutes to make!
Forget about those heavy, cheesy, doughy pizzas that drag you down. Try this recipe for potatoes asparagus and spinach galette featuring thin slices of potatoes, asparagus, and gruyere cheese, all on top of a light pie crust.
And finally, we have a fun recipe called grille squash garlic bread that features delicious thinly-sliced grill zucchini and squash, creamy ricotta cheese, scallions, and garlic on top of golden crispy ciabatta bread slices.
As you’ve seen, there are tons of fantastic easy light dinner ideas out there you can enjoy without spending hours in the kitchen. These light meals are filling without leaving you feeling groggy.
Lite dinner ideas are the perfect way to maintain a healthier diet without giving up good-tasting meals. Now you can enjoy a light healthy dinner every night of the week!
Below, we’ve included a video featuring five delicious light dinners that will satisfy your taste buds and appetite.
Our 40+ BEST Light Dinner Ideas (+Healthy Taco Salad Recipe)
- 1 pound taco-seasoned ground turkey
- 1 diced ripened avocado
- 1 teaspoon extra virgin olive oil
- 1 cup cilantro
- 1 head chopped lettuce
- 1 can rinsed and drained black beans
- 1/4 cup sliced scallions
- 1 cup canned corn
- 1/2 cup low fat cheese
- Toss all ingredients together.
- Serve with dressing.
Use in or with your favorite recipe.