Are you looking for delicious and nutritious light dinner ideas that will satisfy your taste buds without leaving you feeling too heavy?
This recipe roundup will assist you as we explore 25 delightful dinner options with various flavors and cuisines.
From refreshing salads to comforting pasta and creamy soups, these recipes are designed to make your evenings both flavorful and healthy.
Whether you’re a vegetarian, meat lover, or simply looking to incorporate more vegetables into your diet, we have a diverse range of options to suit your palate.
Join us in the kitchen as we discover light and satisfying dinners perfect for any occasion.
Our best light dinner ideas
We start this recipe roundup with a refreshing avocado salad with chickpeas and cherry tomatoes.
The wholesome combination of creamy avocado chunks, protein–rich chickpeas, and vibrant veggies make a nutrient–rich and light dinner.
A quick tip: this salad takes only 10 minutes to prep, making it a fast, guilt–free choice for a satisfying evening meal.
Kale soup with white beans is a delightful and creamy light dinner option.
The vibrant green kale adds freshness, while the creamy white beans provide a hearty texture. The soup is packed with essential vitamins and fiber, making it a perfect choice for a lighter evening meal.
Enjoy the simple flavors of this creamy cherry tomato pasta, where plump, ripe tomatoes bursting with juice infuse the pasta with natural sweetness.
Tossed with al dente pasta and fragrant basil leaves, it’s a light dinner option that satisfies both taste buds and conscience.
Kabocha squash soup is a creamy and Asian-inspired soup option for a light dinner.
You’ll love this butternut squash salad because it’s a light and wholesome recipe with bold flavors that meld together into a cozy and harmonious dish.
It’s an excellent meal for fall and winter holidays and a special family dinner.
Chickpea salad combines nutty chickpeas with fresh, colorful veggies and a tangy, creamy mustard dressing.
You can make this recipe in 15 minutes with simple seasonal ingredients. It’s light, wholesome, and excellent for meal prep.
This creamy avocado spread combined with the nutty richness of tahini is a harmonious flavor duo.
Slathered on warm toast, it’s a quick and satisfying light dinner with a blend of textures and a healthy dose of potassium and fats—a perfect choice for a nutritious evening meal.
Next on our roundup is this refreshing kale salad bursting with vibrant flavors and colorful ingredients.
Tossed with sweet roasted butternut squash and garnished with juicy pomegranate seeds, walnuts, and green apples, it’s a nutritious and light meal that’s both satisfying and wholesome.
Roasted sweet potatoes, creamy avocado, and a zesty lime dressing offer a delightful balance of flavors in this black bean salad.
It’s an excellent light meal idea with the earthy richness of black beans, roasted sweet potatoes, and luscious creaminess from avocado.
TIP: this is a meal to make ahead of time, store in the fridge, and serve as you need during the week. It lasts about four days in an airtight container, and you can eat it cold straight out of the fridge.
This chickpea pasta salad is healthy, satiating, and convenient when you have little cooking time.
From a nutritional standpoint, mixing good quality pasta with chickpeas is the perfect combination to make you feel satiated and nourished.
Those two ingredients provide complete high-quality protein, healthy carbs, plenty of fiber, and a modest fat content – all in the same light meal.
You’ll love this broccoli pasta because of its simplicity, delicious taste, creamy texture, and wholesome ingredients.
With broccoli and orecchiette as the main ingredients, you will enjoy a light and irresistibly creamy sauce with al dente pasta.
Tofu’s remarkable ability to get flavorful and crisp makes it the ideal protein choice for this light and satiating meal.
Lemon tofu is an easy and light everyday recipe you can make in 20 minutes with simple ingredients.
This recipe is a vegetarian interpretation of Italian lemon chicken. We replaced the chicken fillet with tofu slices, resulting in a lighter and plant-based meal that can be prepared quickly.
We keep this butternut squash soup recipe light and simple to fully appreciate the squash’s flavor.
Our recipe is easy to make, and it’s excellent as a cozy starter, nourishing main, and for a special holiday meal.
Chickpeas and cauliflower are combined in this light and fiber–rich dinner salad.
Roasted cauliflower adds a satisfying crunch, while chickpeas infuse a creamy texture and plant–based protein. Tossed with tahini sauce and pomegranate seeds, it’s a delightful and nutritious meal.
Cannellini beans add a creamy texture, mild flavor, and a nutritious plant–based protein to this comforting vegetable soup.
Their subtle taste of white beans complements the crispy texture of cauliflower and green beans, offering you a harmonious and light dinner.
Lentil carrot salad is a tasty, aromatic, light dinner salad inspired by Mediterranean flavors.
TIP: store this carrot salad in an airtight container in the fridge for 3 – 4 days; it’s excellent as a make-ahead meal.
Mushroom ragu is a vegetarian sauce with earthy mushrooms and savory herbs; it is an exquisite light dinner paired with good-quality pasta.
This hearty vegan and vegetarian-friendly dinner will surely please your taste buds and leave you content.
Chickpea quinoa salad is a reader-favorite that will leave you feeling light and satiated.
Its blend of nutty chickpeas, fluffy quinoa, and vibrant veggies creates a satisfying yet light meal that’s both delicious and wholesome.
Its versatility and quick preparation make it an excellent choice for a guilt–free evening meal.
Zucchini boats are a tasty and wholesome recipe with lentils and tomato sauce.
The zucchini has a rich, savory filling with brown lentils, tomatoes, herbs, and walnuts.
Our recipe is a meatless meal, and it’s suitable for most diets. Thanks to their robust flavor, you can serve them as a light yet fulfilling dinner for most occasions.
This mushroom pasta is an easy and wholesome recipe where the earthy flavor of sautéed mushrooms melds with juicy cherry tomatoes into a tasty sauce.
It perfectly balances simplicity and taste for a light and cozy evening meal.
Lentils and rice-stuffed bell peppers make an excellent light dinner option, convenient for busy weeknights and leisurely weekends.
The combination of fiber–rich lentils and fluffy rice, nestled within tender bell peppers, offers a satisfying meal that’s easy to prepare and incredibly flavorful.
Lentil vegetable soup is a comforting and easy plant–based dinner.
It is packed with protein and fiber and offers a satisfying meal without the heaviness.
We love this soup for its blend of colorful vegetables and aromatic spices, which makes it a delicious option for a light dinner.
Microwave sweet potato with black bean salad is a wholesome dinner option ready in minutes.
The tender, sweet potato pairs perfectly with the hearty black beans and creates a satisfying and nutritious meal. This quick and light dinner is a tasty way to end the day on a healthy note.
Bruschetta is a simple yet incredibly delicious meal made from thick grilled slices of bread and topped with a mix of extra virgin olive oil, salt, and tomatoes.
This recipe is quick and easy to make, and it’s the perfect dish for a beautiful light dinner with friends and family.
Three Tips to Light Dinner Ideas
A light dinner can be a great way to support a wholesome lifestyle* and potentially manage your calorie intake. Here are some ideas to get started:
- Choose Lean Protein: Opt for lean protein sources such as tofu, legumes, or beans.
These options are lower in calories and saturated fats compared to fatty cuts of meat or processed meats.
- Incorporate More Vegetables: Load your plate with vegetables like leafy greens, for example, broccoli, cauliflower, bell peppers, and zucchini.
These veggies are high in fiber and nutrients but low in calories, making your meal more filling without adding excessive calories.
- Use Healthy Cooking Methods: Avoid frying or cooking with excessive oil.
Choose healthier cooking methods like baking, grilling, steaming, air frying, or sautéing with minimal oil. This reduces the calorie content of your meal.
*Always consult a doctor or nutritionist when making dietary changes.
Light Dinner Ideas
- 12 ounces spaghetti + 3 quarts of water (12 cups or 3 Liters) and 1 ½ tablespoons of salt (21 grams)
- 1½ pounds cherry tomatoes halved
- 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
- 1 clove garlic pressed or grated
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 2 twists black pepper
- ⅛ teaspoon red pepper flakes or more to taste
- 15 fresh basil leaves + more for garnishing
- ½ cup parmesan cheese or non-dairy cheese, grated. Add more or less to taste.
- Start by boiling a large pot of water and cutting 1½ pounds cherry tomatoes in half.When the water is boiling, add the salt and 12 ounces spaghetti.Boil pasta as per package instructions minus 3 minutes.
- In a large skillet, heat 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil. Add the halved cherry tomatoes and season them with 1 teaspoon salt, 2 twists black pepper, 1 clove garlic(grated), and ⅛ teaspoon red pepper flakes.
- Cook on medium-high heat for about 10 minutes or until the pasta is ready. Stir occasionally.
- Reserve 1 cup of pasta water, drain the pasta and add it to the sauce.Add about ½ cup of pasta water and 15 fresh basil leaves, and finish cooking the pasta in the sauce on medium heat while stirring for a couple of minutes.The pasta should be al dente, with a bite. Add more pasta water if necessary.
- Turn the heat off, add about ½ cup parmesan cheese, and stir until the cheese melts.
- Serve immediately in a bowl, topping it with the cherry tomato sauce, fresh basil leaves, and a drizzle of extra virgin olive oil.
If you liked these light dinner ideas, you might also enjoy:
Hi! We are Nico & Louise
Welcome to The Plant-Based School, a food blog with easy, tasty, and wholesome recipes.
Our aim is to help you and your family eat more veggies through delicious recipes with simple ingredients.