Start with a main dish that’s lower in calories, pair with simple roasted or steamed vegetables or a salad, and you’re on the road to a healthy dinner any night of the week.
November 29, 2010
1 of 16Photo: Beau Gustafson
Low-Cal Entrées with High-Octane Flavor
At Cooking Light, we’re not much for counting calories. Maintaining a healthy lifestyle and diet is all about balance. But there are times when counting on a lower-calorie main dish just makes sticking to a healthy eating plan easier. Start with any of these simple main dishes, all ringing in at 250 calories or less, and pair with a salad or steamed vegetable, and you can rest easy that a healthy meal waits at the end of the day.
Low-calorie for Cooking Light should never mean low-flavor, so we’ve stuck to our motto of “Making Healthy Taste Great” by adding small amounts of high-impact ingredients—like pancetta in this pizza—for maximum flavor.
The mildness of cod takes well to bold flavorings such as Dijon mustard and Creole seasoning. Lemon juice, added after cooking, brightens the flavor. Serve with steamed fingerling potatoes and warm cabbage slaw.
Broiling the flank steak keeps clean-up a synch and takes only 10 minutes. Let the steak stand while you heat the spicy tomato topping. Fill out the meal with orzo, and garnish with fresh cilantro sprigs, if desired.
Serve this dish with Israeli couscous tossed with toasted sliced almonds, dried cranberries, and chopped fresh parsley. If you can't find fresh halibut, substitute another mild, firm white fish. And change up the color palette by selecting red, orange, or yellow bell peppers.
The grouper is seared to give it a slightly crisp crust that can hold up to the moisture from the tomato topping. Use a heavy oven-proof skillet that can go from stovetop to oven. To easily seed a tomato, cut it in half, hold each half in the palm of your hand, and squeeze gently.
The combination of cumin, coriander, and ground red pepper create a tasty rub for the beef. Brown sugar aids caramelization. Cooking the steak in a preheated cast-iron skillet seasons the steak without having to first brown it on the stovetop.
A robust combination of flavors from garlic, shiitake mushrooms, fresh ginger, soy, green onions, and dark sesame oil offer interesting, complex notes with little calories or fat. Serve with a spinach-and-mandarin orange salad for an elegant meal. Substitute snapper or rainbow trout for the bass, if you wish.
This simple pan-fried fish is brightened with a homemade fresh salsa. Any variety of sole or flounder will work in this recipe. Try lemon sole or butter sole. Finish the meal with simple roasted asparagus spears.
Fresh pineapple chunks, now widely available in supermarkets, speed the prep for this relish. Round out the menu with a romaine lettuce salad tossed with lime dressing. The zesty heat of Cajun spices combined with fresh, tropical fruit creates the perfect Mediterranean flavor.
Allspice and mango bring Caribbean flair to this dish. The salsa, redolent of mint, also packs a bit of heat thanks to a dusting of crushed red pepper. If you can afford the extra calories, a Jamaican beer, such as Red Stripe, would complement this meal. Or choose from our picks for the best light beers.
Pick up a container of fresh pineapple chunks in the produce section of the supermarket; chop into 1/2-inch pieces for the salsa. Serve with steamed broccoli and warm rolls to complete this 20-minute dinner.