Host a special holiday feast without breaking the bank. These clever main dishes will help you save money on meals without sacrificing taste or nutrition — and we have options for both meat eaters and vegetarians.
FOR THE MEAT EATERS
1. FIVE-SPICE GRILLED CHICKEN THIGHS WITH BLACKBERRY GLAZE | COOKING LIGHT
Serve up a holiday main dish in less than 20 minutes with these five-spice grilled chicken thighs. (Don’t have a grill? Sear chicken on the stove, about 2 minutes per side, and then bake in the oven at 425°F until meat is cooked through.) Recipe makes 4 servings at 2 chicken thighs and 2 tablespoons glaze each.
Nutrition (per serving): Calories: 285; Total Fat: 13g; Saturated Fat: 4g; Monounsaturated Fat: 5g; Cholesterol: 112mg; Sodium: 395mg; Carbohydrate: 17g; Dietary Fiber: 0g; Sugar: 0g; Protein: 31g
2. 5-INGREDIENT SWEET POTATO TURKEY CHILI | PINCH OF YUM
This hearty meal is ready to eat in three easy steps! Sweet potatoes, black beans and ground turkey give this chili plenty of body while taco seasoning, chili powder and cayenne deliver a punch of flavor. Control your sodium levels by opting for reduced-sodium black beans and broth, then salt to taste. Recipe makes 5 servings.
Nutrition (per serving): Calories: 408; Total Fat: 15g; Saturated Fat: 3g; Monounsaturated Fat: 6g; Cholesterol: 101mg; Sodium: 811mg; Carbohydrate: 36g; Dietary Fiber: 10g; Sugar: 5g; Protein: 34g
3. HONEY-GLAZED SPICED PORK TENDERLOIN | THE MOST DECADENT DIET
Sweet and spicy honey-glazed pork tenderloin uses pantry spices and other ingredients you likely have on hand (like honey, garlic and olive oil) to create a quick yet memorable meal! For speedier prep, marinate your pork ahead of time. Recipe makes 4 servings at 5 ounces pork tenderloin each.
Nutrition (per serving): Calories: 209; Total Fat: 8g; Saturated Fat: 3g; Monounsaturated Fat: 4g; Cholesterol: 84mg; Sodium: 362mg; Carbohydrate: 8g; Dietary Fiber: 1g; Sugar: 6g; Protein: 27g
4. GREEK CHICKEN SHEET PAN DINNER | SKINNYTASTE
If you’re rushing to whip up a flavorful and inexpensive holiday dinner, try this Greek chicken recipe. It’s a complete meal made on a baking sheet! Simply toss ingredients together, and dinner is ready in 30 minutes. Recipe makes 4 servings at 1 chicken thigh and 1/4 veggies each.
Nutrition (per serving): Calories: 335; Total Fat: 13g; Saturated Fat: 2g; Monounsaturated Fat: 5g; Cholesterol: 117mg; Sodium: 650mg; Carbohydrate: 28g; Dietary Fiber: 3g; Sugar: 6g; Protein: 28g
5. CHICKEN & BROCCOLI RICE CASSEROLE | COOKING LIGHT
This delicious cheesy chicken and broccoli rice casserole combines simple ingredients for a winning family meal. Recipe makes 4 servings at 2 cups each.
Nutrition (per serving): Calories: 432; Total Fat: 14g; Saturated Fat: 5g; Monounsaturated Fat: 4g; Cholesterol: 68mg; Sodium: 668mg; Carbohydrate: 52g; Dietary Fiber: 6g; Sugar: 9g; Protein: 27g
6. MEXICAN CHILI BEEF PASTA BAKE | CLEAN EATING
This hearty, nutritious meal packs in 9 grams of fiber and 30 grams of protein per serving! Ancho chili powder gives this dish a hint of smoky heat without being overly spicy, but if you don’t have it on hand, regular chili powder works equally well. Make this dish in advance, store in the freezer and bake when you’re in need of a tasty, time-saving meal this holiday season. Recipe makes 8 servings at 1 1/2 cups each.
Nutrition (per serving): Calories: 433; Total Fat: 15g; Saturated Fat: 8g; Monounsaturated Fat: 0g; Cholesterol: 55mg; Sodium: 475mg; Carbohydrate: 46g; Dietary Fiber: 9g; Sugar: 5g; Protein: 30g
FOR THE VEGETARIANS
7. VEGAN LENTIL “MEAT” BALLS | OH SHE GLOWS
These lentil mushroom balls are festive, filling and a great vegan protein option for your next holiday meal. Paired with a cranberry-pear sauce, these meatless balls make for a delightful sweet and savory combo in every bite. Prepare these in advance for a less hectic dinner prep. Recipe makes 7 servings at 2 balls each.
Nutrition (per serving): Calories: 327; Total Fat: 14g; Saturated Fat: 1g; Monounsaturated Fat: 3g; Cholesterol: 0mg; Sodium: 254mg; Carbohydrate: 45g; Dietary Fiber: 9g; Sugar: 24g; Protein: 11g
8. SWEET POTATO CRANBERRY QUINOA STUFFING | WITH STYLE AND GRACE
This elegant and simple holiday centerpiece takes less than 20 minutes to prep, but it gives guests the illusion that you spent hours in the kitchen. Cumin, cranberries, toasted pecans and parsley are mixed with sweet potatoes and quinoa for a dish that’s bursting with winter colors and flavors. Recipe makes 4 servings.
Nutrition (per serving): Calories: 386; Total Fat: 12g; Saturated Fat: 1g; Monounsaturated Fat: 5g; Cholesterol: 0mg; Sodium: 168mg; Carbohydrate: 65g; Dietary Fiber: 8g; Sugar: 20g; Protein: 8g
9. MEDITERRANEAN BAKED SWEET POTATOES | MINIMALIST BAKER
This Mediterranean twist on a holiday classic tops baked sweet potatoes with a creamy garlic-herb sauce and spiced chickpeas for a vegetarian main that’s anything but boring. For under 300 calories, this wholesome dish provides an impressive 14 grams of fiber and 10 grams of of protein — you’ll be pleasantly satisfied and nutritiously stuffed this holiday! Recipe makes 4 servings.
Nutrition (per serving): Calories: 286; Total Fat: 7g; Saturated Fat: 1g; Monounsaturated Fat: 1g; Cholesterol: 0mg; Sodium: 136mg; Carbohydrate: 40g; Dietary Fiber: 14g; Sugar: 8g; Protein: 10g
10. BRUSSELS SPROUTS & TOFU WITH HONEY-SESAME GLAZE | COOKIE AND KATE
Roasted Brussels sprouts with extra crispy tofu and brown rice are topped with an irresistible sweet-and-spicy glaze for a filling Asian-inspired holiday meal. (Serve sauce on the side so dinner guests can season to taste and keep salt levels in check.) Recipe makes 4 servings. (Sauce not included.)
Nutrition (per serving): Calories: 337; Total Fat: 15g; Saturated Fat: 1g; Monounsaturated Fat: 7g; Cholesterol: 0mg; Sodium: 269mg; Carbohydrate: 40g; Dietary Fiber: 5g; Sugar: 2g; Protein: 11g
11. BUTTERNUT SQUASH ALFREDO BAKED SHELLS | GIMME SOME OVEN
Topped with a lightened creamy Alfredo sauce, these butternut squash-stuffed pasta shells are a beautiful addition to your holiday fare. Italian-spiced breadcrumbs give this baked dish a nice, crunchy finish. Recipe makes 6 servings.
Nutrition (per serving): Calories: 323; Total Fat: 15g; Saturated Fat: 6g; Monounsaturated Fat: 5g; Cholesterol: 8mg; Sodium: 490mg; Carbohydrate: 30g; Dietary Fiber: 4g; Sugar: 6g; Protein: 12g
12. STUFFED BUTTERNUT SQUASH | DIETITIAN DEBBIE DISHES
This Mediterranean-inspired recipe features baked butternut squash boats filled with fluffy quinoa, Brussels sprouts, olives and feta cheese. It’s a terrific option for meatless meals. Recipe makes 4 servings at 1/4 squash each.
Nutrition (per serving): Calories: 321; Total Fat: 14g; Saturated Fat: 6g; Monounsaturated Fat: 5g; Cholesterol: 22mg; Sodium: 299mg; Carbohydrate: 45g; Dietary Fiber: 7g; Sugar: 7g; Protein: 7g
13. VEGETARIAN SPAGHETTI SQUASH BOATS | LOVE & ZEST
These spaghetti squash boats are a meatless comfort food stuffed with budget-friendly ingredients like beans, cheese, broccoli and onions. With plenty of fiber and vitamins A and C, we’re wishing you a bon voyage in the cooking of this dish. Easily multiply recipe size based on how many guests you have. Recipe makes 2 servings at 1 boat each.
Nutrition (per serving): Calories: 384; Total Fat: 14g; Saturated Fat: 7g; Monounsaturated Fat: 2g; Cholesterol: 25mg; Sodium: 395mg; Carbohydrate: 52g; Dietary Fiber: 10g; Sugar: 4g; Protein: 19g