A vegetarian diet is a great way to increase your consumption of healthy foods, while limiting your intake of saturated fats and animal products. Done properly, it can also be a great way to lose weight in a healthy way. Try incorporating these five low-calorie vegetarian recipes into your diet as a way to jump start your new lifestyle.
Vegetarian Cooking for Weight Loss
It’s possible to eat a very varied diet and still be a vegetarian. In fact, it’s also easy to eat a very high-calorie diet filled with high-glycemic carbs and little actual nutrition. That’s why if you’ve chosen to eat a vegetarian diet as a way to lose weight, it’s important to pay attention to the calorie count and other nutritional information in what you’re eating. A huge plate of spinach and cheese ravioli with alfredo sauce is vegetarian, but that isn’t going to help you in your efforts to lose weight. While it can be difficult to learn how to do vegetarian right, there are plenty of great options for you to consider.
In fact, there are numerous options for low-calorie vegetarian recipes that can help you reach your goals. Many of these recipes are adaptable, so you can substitute some of the ingredients to suit your preferences. Many of these recipes can also be served alongside a healthy green salad to help fill you up, while keeping the calorie count low.
5 Low-Calorie Vegetarian Recipes
These five recipes feature a number of different culinary styles, and are designed to be both healthy and filling, while remaining low in calories. Use them alone, or use them as a jumping off point to get yourself into a healthy new lifestyle, or consider using them as the starting point for taking a course in healthy vegetarian cooking for kids.
1. Green Curry Cashew Stir Fry
This healthy stir fry clocks in at just under 400 calories per serving. It features a mix of green veggies with crunchy cashews for flavor. And while it adds a little green curry for flavor, it’s much closer to a stir fry in terms of texture and calorie count than a true curry is. Serve it over a bed of rice for a complete meal, or have it alone for lunch.
- 1 tablespoon coconut oil
- 1 small yellow onion, sliced thinly
- 2 cups sliced mushrooms
- 1 tablespoon minced garlic
- Thumb-sized knob of fresh ginger, minced
- 1/2 pound green beans, cut into thirds
- 1/2 pound snap peas
- 1/2 cup dried cranberries
- 2 tablespoons light coconut milk
- 2 tablespoons green curry paste
- 1 tablespoon lemon juice
- 1 tablespoon tamari sauce
- 1/2 cup roasted cashews chopped
- Heat the coconut oil in a large skillet until melted.
- Add the ginger and garlic to the pan and sauté until fragrant.
- Add the onion and mushrooms to the pan and sauté until the mushrooms are brown and the onions translucent.
- Add the green beans, snap peas, and cranberries and sauté for about three minutes.
- Whisk together the coconut milk, curry paste, lemon juice, and tamari sauce in a small bowl. Pour the mixture over the greens and reduce heat, stirring until the mixture thickens.
- Remove from heat and top with the chopped cashews. Serve over rice.
2. Sweet Potato Tagine
This sweet and tangy dish is packed with anti-oxidants in the form of pomegranate seeds. Serve it as a side dish with any meal. Each serving clocks in well under 300 calories.
- 3 medium sweet potatoes, peeled and cubed
- 1 large fennel bulb, sliced
- 2 medium carrots, peeled and sliced
- 2 stalks of celery, sliced
- 1 medium yellow onion, sliced
- 1 tablespoon minced garlic
- 1/4 cup olive oil
- 1 cup vegetable broth
- 1 cup pomegranate seeds
- Combine the sweet potatoes, fennel, carrots, celery, onion, and garlic in a 3-1/2 quart tagine.
- Stir in the oil, and then add the broth.
- Place in a cold oven, then adjust the heat to 300 degrees F.
- Cook for about 2-1/2 hours, or until the vegetables are soft. Stir the mixture every 45 minutes.
- Sprinkle with pomegranate seeds just before serving.
3. Zucchini Quesadillas
These spicy quesadillas are baked, rather than fried, which helps lower their calorie count down to about 310 calories per serving. Serve them with some fresh guacamole and salsa for dipping.
- 2 cups grated zucchini
- 2 tablespoons of olive oil
- 1 small yellow onion, chopped
- 2 tablespoons minced garlic
- 1 cup grated jalapeño cheddar cheese
- 2 tablespoons chopped black olives
- 2 tablespoons lime juice
- 2 tablespoons chopped cilantro (optional)
- 8 6-inch tortillas
- Preheat the oven to 400 degrees
- Place the zucchini in a colander, drape with a paper towel and squeeze to release the excess water.
- Heat 1 tablespoon of the oil in a skillet and sauté the garlic and onion for about 5 minutes.
- Add the zucchini and sauté for an additional 5 minutes.
- Remove from heat and stir the cheese, olives, and lime juice into the mixture.
- Brush one side of each of the tortillas with the remaining oil.
- Place four tortillas, oil side up on a pan and divide the filling between them.
- Top with the remaining four tortillas, oil side down.
- Bake the tortillas for about 10 minutes, turning them half way through, until the filling is hot and the tortillas are browned.
4. Apple and Date Crisp
Just because you’re cutting calories on a vegetarian diet, doesn’t mean that you have to give up desserts. There are plenty of low-calorie vegetarian recipes for desserts; this one can be adapted to use several different apple varieties to help change the taste of the dish. Each serving clocks in at under 150 calories.
- 1/2 cup rolled oats
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 1 tablespoon sugar
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- 2 large granny smith apples, peeled, cored, and chopped
- 4 Medjool dates, pitted and chopped
- Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.
- Pulse the oats in a food processer until ground
- Combine the oats, sugar, salt, and oil in a small bowl
- Combine the apples and dates in a separate bowl.
- Divide up the apple mixture between 6 oven-proof ramekins and top with the oat mixture.
- Bake for about 25 minutes, or until the apples are soft and the topping is golden brown.
- Let cool for 10 minutes before serving.
5. Tuscan Pizza
Just because you’re counting calories doesn’t mean you can’t enjoy a slice of pizza. This Tuscan pizza recipe features pesto, caramelized onions, and dried figs for a complex, sweet and savory taste. Each slice comes in at just 325 calories.
Makes one large pizza
- 1 cup pesto
- 1 pre-baked pizza crust
- 1 large sweet yellow onion, sliced
- 1/2 cup sliced dried figs
- 1 Tablespoon pine nuts
- 1/4 cup plus Tablespoon olive oil
- Heat 1/4 olive oil in a large skillet and add the onions.
- Sauté over low heat until the onions caramelize – about 40 to 45 minutes.
- Preheat the oven to 425 degrees F.
- Top the pizza crust with the pesto, onion, figs, and pine nuts.
- Drizzle with the remaining olive oil.
- Bake for 5 to 6 minutes until the toppings are hot.
- Serve immediately.
Treat Yourself Right
Following a low-calorie vegetarian diet does not have to be tasteless, or doom you to a lifetime of salads. There are lots of low-calorie vegetarian recipes out there that can satisfy your hunger and your taste buds, all without overloading you on processed carbs or junk. Once you’ve tried these four recipes, consider taking a course in Indian vegetarian cooking, or consider taking a course in vegan vegetarian cooking to expand your options even more. With just a little bit of practice, and an adventurous spirit, you’ll find yourself cooking up delicious, low-calorie vegetarian recipes of your own in no time.