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.

Light Dinner Ideas with soups, sandwiches and pasta

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

1. Avocado salad

Avocado salad with chickpeas and olives

We start this recipe roundup with a refreshing avocado salad with chickpeas and cherry tomatoes.

The wholesome combination of creamy avocado chunks, proteinrich chickpeas, and vibrant veggies make a nutrientrich and light dinner.

A quick tip: this salad takes only 10 minutes to prep, making it a fast, guiltfree choice for a satisfying evening meal.

2. Kale soup

Kale soup with spoon and bread

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.

3. Cherry tomato pasta

Cherry tomato pasta with basil

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.

4. Kabocha squash soup

Kabocha Squash soup with sesame seeds and lime

Kabocha squash soup is a creamy and Asian-inspired soup option for a light dinner.

Its velvety texture and subtly sweet flavor make it a comforting choice, perfect for a cozy evening. We recommend serving it with focaccia, sourdough, or crostini bread to sop up the soup leftovers.

5. Butternut squash salad

butternut squash salad on a white plate

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.

6. Chickpea salad

Chickpea salad with a silver fork

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.

7. Avocado toast (avocado spread)

avocado spread on toasted bread

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.

8. Kale salad

Kale salad with crumbled feta as a light dinner idea

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.

9. Black bean salad

Black bean salad with sweet potato

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.

10. Chickpea pasta salad

Chickpea pasta salad with lemon and black olives

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 proteinhealthy carbsplenty of fiber, and a modest fat content – all in the same light meal.

11. Broccoli pasta

Broccoli pasta with mashed broccoli

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.

12. Vegetarian “chicken” salad

tofu salad with dressing

This fried tofu salad recipe is a crunchytasty, healthy bowl perfect for lunch or dinner. You can make this all-year-round recipe with seasonal greens, veggies, and a creamy tahini sauce.

Tofu’s remarkable ability to get flavorful and crisp makes it the ideal protein choice for this light and satiating meal.

13. Lemon tofu

Lemon tofu with fork and knife

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.

14. Butternut squash soup

dutch oven full of butternut squash soup

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 starternourishing main, and for a special holiday meal.

TIP: serve it with roasted or air-fried chickpeas to make it even more delicious.

15. Cauliflower salad

Cauliflower salad on a white plate

Chickpeas and cauliflower are combined in this light and fiberrich dinner salad.

Roasted cauliflower adds a satisfying crunch, while chickpeas infuse a creamy texture and plantbased protein. Tossed with tahini sauce and pomegranate seeds, it’s a delightful and nutritious meal.

16. Vegetable soup

Vegetable soup with silver spoon

Cannellini beans add a creamy texture, mild flavor, and a nutritious plantbased 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.

17. Lentil carrot salad

Lentil carrot salad with shaved almonds

Lentil carrot salad is a tasty, aromatic, light dinner salad inspired by Mediterranean flavors.

It’s easy to make, and you can serve it as a starter or main dish with warm pita bread and yogurt tahini dressing.

TIP: store this carrot salad in an airtight container in the fridge for 3 4 days; it’s excellent as a make-ahead meal.

18. Mushroom Bolognese

Mushroom Bolognese with a fork

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.

19. Chickpea quinoa salad

Quinoa chickpea salad with fork and a lemon

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 guiltfree evening meal.

20. Zucchini boats

Easy zucchini boats

Zucchini boats are a tasty and wholesome recipe with lentils and tomato sauce.

The zucchini has a richsavory 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.

21. Easy mushroom pasta

Mushroom Pasta with a silver fork

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.

22. Stuffed bell peppers

stuffed bell peppers topped with caramelized onions and yogurt

Lentils and rice-stuffed bell peppers make an excellent light dinner option, convenient for busy weeknights and leisurely weekends.

The combination of fiberrich lentils and fluffy rice, nestled within tender bell peppers, offers a satisfying meal that’s easy to prepare and incredibly flavorful.

23. Lentil vegetable soup

lentil vegetable soup with spinach

Lentil vegetable soup is a comforting and easy plantbased 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.

24. Microwave sweet potato

Microwave stuffed sweet potato with pickled red onion and black beans

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.

25. Bruschetta

Bruschetta with different toppings

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:

  1. 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.
  2. 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.
  3. 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 tips
Light Dinner Ideas with healthy meals

Light Dinner Ideas

By: Nico Pallotta
5 from 3 votes
This creamy cherry tomato pasta is a light dinner idea with a delicious sauce of sweet and juicy tomatoes.
This recipe cannot be simpler, and the sauce is ready in the time it takes to cook the pasta. This a favorite tasty meal for a quick lunch or weeknight dinner.
Prep Time: 5 minutes
Cook Time: 13 minutes
Total Time: 18 minutes
Servings: 4 people
Course: Main
Cuisine: Italian


  • 12 ounces spaghetti + 3 quarts of water (12 cups or 3 Liters) and 1 ½ tablespoons of salt (21 grams)
  • pounds cherry tomatoes halved
  • 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 clove garlic pressed or grated
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 2 twists black pepper
  • 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.
    spaghetti in a white pot
  • 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.
    Cherry tomatoes in a skillet
  • Cook on medium-high heat for about 10 minutes or until the pasta is ready. Stir occasionally.
    Cooked cherry tomatoes in a skillet
  • 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.
    Cherry tomato pasta with wooden fork
  • Turn the heat off, add about ½ cup parmesan cheese, and stir until the cheese melts.
    Cherry tomato pasta with parmesan cheese
  • Serve immediately in a bowl, topping it with the cherry tomato sauce, fresh basil leaves, and a drizzle of extra virgin olive oil.
    Cherry tomato pasta with basil


Easy Cherry Tomato Pasta in 20 minutes


Nutritional information is an estimate for 1 serving of cherry tomato pasta out of 4 servings.
Make ahead: this is not a good recipe to make ahead as the pasta will overcook and the sauce will dry. Make it and eat it.
Refrigerator: keep leftovers in an airtight container in the fridge for 24 hours.
Reheat: warm it on a pan with a drizzle of olive oil or in the microwave for 60 – 90 seconds.
Freezer: pasta with cherry tomatoes is not suitable for freezing.


Calories: 463kcal, Carbohydrates: 72g, Protein: 17g, Fat: 12g, Saturated Fat: 3g, Polyunsaturated Fat: 1g, Monounsaturated Fat: 6g, Trans Fat: 1g, Cholesterol: 11mg, Potassium: 602mg, Dietary Fiber: 4g, Sugar: 7g, Vitamin A: 1176IU, Vitamin B6: 0.3mg, Vitamin C: 40mg, Vitamin E: 2mg, Vitamin K: 25µg, Calcium: 156mg, Folate: 41µg, Iron: 3mg, Manganese: 1mg, Magnesium: 68mg, Zinc: 2mg
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If you liked these light dinner ideas, you might also enjoy:

Nico and Louise in the kitchen

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.

Easy right?

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