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7 Cheap Healthy Dinners That You’d Swear Were Gourmet

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What could be better than a healthy, homemade dinner? One that’s as cheap as bachelor convenience chow but contains a lot more nutrients for your money.

Load up on staples like eggs, onions, carrots, bell peppers, and ground meat – especially when you can find them on sale – and you’ll always have something to throw in the skillet or baking dish for a quick dinner.

If you’re craving Asian takeout, try No-Noodle Pad Thai or Egg Roll in a Bowl instead. For comfort food, it doesn’t get much more comforting than a cottage pie filled with veggies and ground beef. Those who prefer to prep dinner and leave it alone to do the rest will love salsa chicken casserole.

And if all else fails, a turkey burger will make an amazing meal, especially with shredded zucchini mixed in for extra vitamins.

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Skillet Poached Eggs with Spinach

Serves 4

Need a simple, low-key dinner? There’s nothing like breakfast as a nighttime meal, whether you want to whip up some quick 3-ingredient protein pancakes or use a single pan to make bacon and eggs.

Nutrition Facts (Per Serving)



14 g


8 g


17 g



2 Tbsp. extra virgin olive oil

2 leeks

5 oz. baby spinach

8 large eggs

Salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste

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No Noodle Pad Thai

Serves 4

Eating more veggies is a cinch when you replace noodles with them, like in this recipe. But looking at the picture, you’d never know the difference!

This version of Pad Thai goes light on the carbs by substituting radish, carrots, and zucchini in place of rice noodles. But with the taste of this awesome peanut sauce, you could take a few bites without realizing there’s something up.

Nutrition Facts (Per Serving)



27 g


35 g


29 g



Pad Thai:

¾ lb. daikon radish, peeled

4 medium carrots, peeled

½ lb. zucchini

½ lb. (8 oz.) bean sprouts

4 green onions, finely sliced (white and green parts)

14 oz. organic extra-firm tofu, drained and very gently squeezed of excess moisture

1 small handful cilantro leaves, chopped (plus extra for serving)

2 Tbsp. black sesame seeds (plus extra for serving)

4 small wedges of lime

Peanut Sauce:

½ cup peanut butter (or almond butter)

¼ cup lime juice

2 Tbsp. tamari (or other soy sauce)

2 Tbsp. honey

2 tsp. grated fresh ginger

Pinch of red pepper flakes

3 Tbsp. water (add as needed to thin)

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Egg Roll in a Bowl

Serves 4

Everything that’s stuffed inside of an egg roll is usually pretty good for you: ground meat, shredded cabbage, and mushrooms. It’s the wrapper that’s fried in oil that poses a dietary problem. That’s why it’s smart to deconstruct it and enjoy the flavor of the best Chinese takeout in a bowl.

This stir fry only takes about 15 minutes to whip up too, so it’s faster than calling for delivery.

Nutrition Facts (Per Serving)



33 g


17 g


13 g



1 lb. extra-lean ground pork

2 Tbsp. coconut aminos, divided

1 lb. (half medium head) cabbage

3 medium carrots

2 Tbsp. peanut oil

1 tsp. fresh grated ginger

2 cloves garlic, minced

½ cup dried shiitake mushrooms (dried or fresh)

1 tsp. fish sauce

2 Tbsp. sesame seeds (optional garnish)

Chopped green onions (optional garnish)

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Stuffed Pepper Casserole

Serves 6

There’s a lot to rave about when it comes to stuffed peppers, but unfortunately that’s because they’re often laden with fat like too much oil and cheese.

This casserole delivers on the flavor, but it keeps the macros as lean as possible so it’s a well-balanced meal – not just greasy ingredients hiding in a healthy package.

Nutrition Facts (Per Serving)



26 g


29 g


9 g



1 lb. lean ground beef (90%)

1 green bell pepper, diced

1 red bell pepper, diced

1 small onion, diced

1 ½ Tbsp. minced garlic

1 tsp. oregano

2 cups brown rice, cooked

24 oz. jar reduced-sugar spaghetti sauce

1 cup reduced-fat shredded Italian cheese blend

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Beef & Lentil Cottage Pie

Serves 4

Tired of the same old shepherd’s pie? It is a great protein-packed dinner, but even meat and potatoes can feel like a food rut after a while.

Luckily it doesn’t take too much to make an old classic taste new again. This recipe uses lentils and mixed root vegetables to create something even heartier than the standard shepherd’s pie but with just as much protein.

Nutrition Facts (Per Serving)



51 g


81 g


12 g



1 Tbsp. extra virgin olive oil

1 lb. ground beef

1 onion, finely diced

1 carrot, finely diced

1 celery stalk, finely diced

¾ cup tomato puree

16 oz. beef stock

1 ½ Tbsp. tomato paste

1 tsp. Worcestershire sauce

½ tsp. chili powder

¾ cup green lentils

2 ½ lb. mixed root vegetables (one sweet potato + carrots, parsnips, butternut squash)

1 ½ Tbsp. bread crumbs

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Spicy Turkey and Zucchini Burger

Serves 4

A lean burger can still be a satisfying burger, and this patty proves it. Not only does it use ground turkey instead of beef, but this recipe mixes in grated zucchini to lighten it even further.

There’s no sacrificing flavor here, however. This burger has Middle Eastern flair with mint, cilantro, cayenne, and a lemony sour cream sauce.

Nutrition Facts (Per Serving)



34 g


6 g


28 g



1 lb. ground turkey

2 cups very lightly packed, coarsely grated zucchini (about 2 small, or one medium zucchini)

3 green onions, thinly sliced (white and green parts)

2 Tbsp. chopped fresh spearmint

2 Tbsp. chopped fresh cilantro (tender stems included)

1 clove garlic, crushed and minced

1 tsp. ground cumin

1 tsp. kosher salt

½ tsp. freshly ground black pepper

½ tsp. cayenne

3 Tbsp. vegetable oil

Sour Cream Sauce:

¼ cup sour cream

1/3 cup plain non-fat Greek yogurt

1 tsp. grated lemon zest

1 Tbsp. lemon juice

½ tsp. minced garlic

2 tsp. extra virgin olive oil

¼ tsp. salt

Pinch of freshly ground black pepper

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Salsa Chicken Casserole

Serves 6

This is like everything you love about stopping by the Mexican restaurant on the corner for tacos, burritos, and horchata – well, except the horchata.

But otherwise, this casserole nails it with juicy chicken breast, beans, rice, salsa, and cheese. And did I mention it’s low-fat too? There’s not a single teaspoon of oil required.

Nutrition Facts (Per Serving)



58 g


80 g


17 g



1 cup uncooked rice

1 cup frozen corn kernels, thawed

1 can (15 oz.) black beans

1 jar (16 oz.) salsa

1 cup chicken broth

½ Tbsp. chili powder

½ tsp. oregano

2 large (1.5 lbs.) chicken breasts

1 cup shredded cheddar cheese

2 whole green onions, sliced

Get the Recipe


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