You’ve decided to go vegetarian to lose some weight, great choice. As a vegetarian myself, I know that it can absolutely be a healthy lifestyle. The key is focusing on whole foods like fruits and vegetables, grains, and legumes. A balanced vegetarian diet full of nutrient-dense, lower calorie vegetarian options will help you achieve your weight loss goals in no time.
In this article, I’m going to share some of my favorite low calorie vegetarian recipes that I make when I want to drop a few pounds. These satisfying dishes are full of flavor so you won’t feel like you’re missing out. Get ready to cook up a storm with recipes for breakfast, lunch, dinner and snacks.
By the end of this, you’ll have a whole arsenal of delicious vegetarian recipes to help you eat healthy and weight loss. Let’s get cooking!
Low Calorie Vegetarian Soups and Stews
Nothing warms you up on a chilly day like a bowl of homemade soup. And when it’s low in calories but big on flavor, it’s the perfect comfort food for weight loss.
Start with vegetable broth as the base. Make your own or opt for a low-sodium store-bought version. Add in loads of veggies like carrots, celery, mushrooms, spinach and tomatoes. The more the merrier – you really can’t overdo it. Chop everything into bite-sized pieces so they blend right into the broth.
For extra heartiness, add beans or lentils. Fiber-filled and satisfying, a half cup of beans adds protein without a ton of calories. Lentil soup is always a good choice. If you want something creamy, puree part of the soup or add a mashed potato.
This Japanese classic is light but filling. Dissolve a spoonful or two of miso paste into broth along with diced tofu, seaweed and scallions. Only about 50 calories per cup!
Spice it up with chili powder, cumin, garlic and diced chiles. Top your bowl with avocado, cilantro, lime juice and baked tortilla strips. Around 200 calories per serving.
With the right mix of veggies, beans, spices and toppings, vegetarian soups and stews can be good for your body and your belly. And when the weather’s cold, nothing satisfies quite like a hot bowl of homemade goodness. Dig in!
Healthy Low Calorie Vegetarian Salads
A healthy salad doesn’t have to be boring. There are so many delicious, low-calorie vegetarian salads you can make at home.
Start with a base of mixed greens like spinach, kale, arugula or romaine. Add in lots of veggies – tomatoes, cucumbers, carrots, sprouts, mushrooms, etc. The more the merrier! Not only will extra veggies add nutrition, they provide volume so you feel full without a ton of calories.
Dress it up
A light dressing, like vinaigrette, lemon juice or salsa adds flavor without excess fat and calories. Or, skip the dressing altogether and season your salad with salt, pepper, fresh or dried herbs.
Add some protein
For a heartier meal, include a protein source such as beans, eggs, nuts or seeds. Some options:
-Black beans, chickpeas or edamame
-Hard boiled eggs, egg whites or an omelet
-Almonds, walnuts, sunflower seeds or pumpkin seeds
Mix it up
Keep things interesting by switching up your salad toppings and mix-ins. Some other tasty, low-cal options include:
-Grilled veggies like zucchini, bell peppers or eggplant
-Fresh or dried fruit like berries, apples, cranberries or raisins
-Grains such as quinoa, farro or bulgur wheat
-Avocado – it’s creamy and filling, just watch your portion size
-Tofu or tempeh – grill it, bake it or add it raw
-Hummus – use it as a salad dressing, dip or spread
With a little creativity, you can enjoy delicious salads every day of the week without breaking the calorie bank! Healthy, low-calorie eating never tasted so good.
Satisfying Low Calorie Vegetarian Main Dishes
Satisfying low calorie vegetarian main dishes are key to losing weight while still feeling full and content. Some delicious options include:
Vegetable Stir Fry
Stir frying is a quick and healthy cooking technique. Heat a little olive oil in a pan or wok and stir fry lots of crisp veggies like broccoli, bell peppers, cabbage, carrots and snow peas.
Add tofu, tempeh or beans for protein and serve over rice or noodles. The key is using minimal oil and sauce, so the dish stays light.
Lentil Soup or Stew
Hearty lentil soup or stew is very filling yet low in calories. Lentils provide fiber, protein and iron. Sauté onions, garlic and veggies of your choice, then simmer in broth with lentils and herbs like rosemary and thyme. Puree some of the lentils to give it a creamy texture. Lentil soup is perfect for a cold day and leftovers freeze well.
Burritos or Tacos
Build your own burritos or tacos with lots of veggies, beans, salsa and guacamole. Use lettuce cups or soft taco shells instead of large burrito wraps to cut calories. A variety of ingredients means you’ll never get bored.
Toss whole wheat pasta with marinara sauce, zucchini, summer squash, eggplant, spinach, mushrooms, etc. Add white beans or tofu for protein. The veggies provide volume to make it satisfying while keeping calories in check. Use minimal oil, cheese and salt. Pasta primavera is a lighter take on a classic comfort food.
Following a balanced low calorie vegetarian diet with lots of whole plant foods, lean proteins and healthy fats will allow you to lose weight steadily without feeling deprived. Focus on fresh, homemade meals and watch your portion sizes – your waistline will thank you!
Guilt-Free Low Calorie Vegetarian Snacks
When craving a snack, it can be tough to find options that satisfy without derailing your weight loss goals. But as a vegetarian, you have plenty of guilt-free choices that are naturally low in calories. Here are some of the best low calorie vegetarian snacks to keep hunger at bay between meals:
Veggies and Hummus
Fresh cut veggies like carrots, cucumbers and bell peppers paired with protein-packed hummus make a perfect light snack. Hummus comes in a variety of flavors like roasted red pepper or sriracha and provides healthy fats to keep you full. A single serving of hummus with veggies contains around 200 calories.
Blend up your favorite fruits like bananas, berries and leafy greens with non-dairy milk for a refreshing fruit smoothie. Use water or unsweetened plant-based milk and skip the added sugar. A smoothie made with 1 cup each of mixed berries, banana, and unsweetened almond milk has under 250 calories.
Rice Cakes with Toppings
Rice cakes or veggie chips make a great base for a variety of toppings. Try mashed avocado, nut butter, or bean spread. Top with fresh or dried fruit like raisins, chopped nuts or nut butters for extra nutrition. Two rice cakes with mashed avocado and a tablespoon of nuts contains about 260 calories.
Popcorn can absolutely be part of a healthy vegetarian diet when air-popped without oil and lightly seasoned. Air-popped popcorn has only 31 calories per cup. Toss with nutritional yeast, chili powder, cinnamon or fresh herbs to boost the flavor. Four cups of air-popped popcorn with 2 tablespoons of nutritional yeast has just under 250 calories.
With a little creativity, you can enjoy delicious low-calorie vegetarian snacks to satisfy your cravings without guilt. Choosing snacks high in nutrients but low in calories will keep your energy levels up and your waistline in check. Focus on fresh or minimally processed options, watch your portion sizes and enjoy!
Delicious Low Calorie Vegetarian Desserts
When you’re craving something sweet but want to avoid extra calories, try one of these delicious low calorie vegetarian dessert options.
Fruit Skewers with Chocolate Drizzle
Fruit is naturally low in calories and high in nutrients, so it makes a perfect dessert base. Thread your favorite berries, like strawberries, blueberries and blackberries, onto skewers and drizzle with just a bit of melted dark chocolate for a chocolatey treat under 100 calories.
Mini Fruit Pizzas
Use small circles of puff pastry or pie crust as the “pizza crust.” Top with a bit of low-fat cream cheese or Greek yogurt and fresh fruit like kiwi, mango and peach slices. Dust with a sprinkle of powdered sugar and cinnamon for a dessert pizza under 150 calories per mini pizza.
Dark Chocolate Avocado Pudding
Blend one ripe avocado, 1/4 cup cocoa powder, 1/4 cup maple syrup and a splash of milk for a creamy chocolate pudding. Avocado provides a creamy base without the need for sugar, eggs or cream. Pour into glasses and chill before serving. Under 200 calories per 1/2 cup serving.
Coconut Milk Ice Pops
For a lighter take on ice cream, blend one 13.5 ounce can light coconut milk, 2 tablespoons honey and 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract. Pour into ice pop molds and freeze. Coconut milk provides a creamy base with healthy fats to keep you satisfied, and the natural sweeteners mean each ice pop has under 100 calories.
Mini Vegan Cheesecakes
Blend 12 ounces silken tofu, 1/3 cup maple syrup, 1/4 cup coconut oil, 2 teaspoons vanilla and 1/4 teaspoon salt until smooth. Pour into a graham cracker or cookie crust and chill before serving. Top with fruit sauce or fresh berries. Each mini cheesecake has around 150 calories.
Following a few simple swaps, like using fresh fruit, dark chocolate, and plant-based milk in place of full-fat dairy, you can enjoy delicious desserts guilt-free. Keep portions in control and choose options with natural sweeteners to keep calories in check while satisfying your sweet tooth.
So there you have it, 5 low calorie vegetarian recipes under 400 calories to help you lose weight in a healthy way. By focusing on nutritious whole foods like fruits and vegetables, grains, and legumes, you’ll feel satisfied and energized. These meals prove that eating light doesn’t mean sacrificing flavor or variety. Whether you’re looking for breakfast, lunch, dinner or snack options, this collection has you covered.
The best part is, once you get the hang of it, you can start experimenting by substituting different veggies and spices to create your own low-cal vegetarian dishes. Losing weight has never tasted so good! You’ve got this – now get cooking and enjoy your new slim and delicious life.