25 Lightened Up Dinner Recipes

This is the time of year when many are trying to get back on track after one too many Christmas cookies, extra helpings of that fabulous warm brie dip at holiday parties, or had one too many cocktails and mugs of eggnog filled with empty calories. But they tasted so good going down.

Here are 25 ideas for lightening things up in January:

Everything is vegan, or vegetarian where noted, and most are gluten-free.

Most are ready in less than 30 minutes and all are easy enough for busy weeknights.

Many make just enough leftovers for lunch the next day.

There’s not one traditional lettuce salad on the list. Who said lightened up and healthy had to involve lettuce anyway.

1. Peanut Noodles with Mixed Vegetables and Peanut Sauce (vegan, GF)

2.Spicy Baked Black Beans with Mixed Vegetables (vegan, GF)

3. Vegetable Lasagna Casserole (vegan, GF)

4. Peanut Sauce Baked Tofu (vegan, GF)

5. Spinach Artichoke and Roasted Red Pepper Cheesy Squares (vegetarian, with vegan & GF options)


6. Raw Pasta Salad with Creamy Lemon & Herb Dressing (vegan, GF)

7. Cheezy Vegetable Bake (vegan, GF)

8. Roasted Carrot and Red Pepper Peanut Soup (vegan, gluten-free, soy-free)


9. Apple Glazed Vegetable & Edamame Stir Fry (vegan, GF)

10. Orange Ginger Tempeh and Brown Rice Salad with Orange Balsamic Vinaigrette (vegan, gluten free if GF tempeh is used)

11. Chipotle Avocado Cucumber Flatbreads (vegetarian, vegan if vegan flatbread is used)

12. Pumpkin Spiced Brown Rice Tempeh and Cranberry Salad (vegan, gluten free if GF tempeh is used)

13. Salsa Verde Pepperjack Tofu (microwave, vegan, GF)

14. Baked Parsnip Fries with Creamy Balsamic Reduction Dip

15. Fresh Vegan Spring Rolls and 2-Minute Peanut Sauce (vegan, GF)

16. Mango Basil Personal-Sized Tortilla Pizzas (vegetarian or vegan if vegan cheese and tortillas are used)

17. Creamy Tomato Soup (vegan, GF)

18. Baked Chipotle Sweet Potato and Zucchini Fritters (vegan, GF)

19. Barbeque Tofu with Pineapple and Mango (vegan, GF)

20. Roasted Cinnamon-Ginger Delicata Squash (vegan, GF)

21.Pumpkin and Cheesy Baked Potato Casserole (vegan, GF)

22. Caribbean Coconut Rice with Garbanzos & Veggies (vegan, GF)

23.Vegetable Fried Rice Frittata (vegetarian, GF)

24. Avocado, Cream Cheese, and Salsa-Stuffed Puff Pastries (use vegan puff pastry and vegan cream cheese to keep vegan)

25. Sweet Potato Red Pepper and Coconut Milk Soup (vegan, gluten-free, soy-free, microwave-friendly)

Are you eating any differently in January? Making any changes with things in 2013?

If you have favorite recipes that are your go-to weeknight options, I’d love to hear about them. Links welcome.

Thanks for the Glass Dharma Glass Straw $25 Giveaway Entries

40 comments on “25 Lightened Up Dinner Recipes”

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  2. Averie,
    These cheerful and beautiful photographs are so refreshing for my poor last-day-of-January soul. I am so glad to have found this line-up of healthy light meals. And they are easy. Wow! We will be having the delicata with cinnamon tonight. Sounds delish! Thanks so much for sharing.

  3. What great lighten up dishes for the new year, they all look fabulous!!

  4. Hi Averie,

    I was searching for recipes to use up ripened bananas when I stumbled upon your wonderful website (I am going to make the Blueberry Banana Oat Cakes :) As a college student, I have recently been looking for easy vegetarian lunch ideas other than the usual sandwich as I don’t do well with bread due to past issues of an eating disorder. I just read your 25 Lightened up Entrees and I think I found my answer. Your site is very well layed out and more importantly your recipes seem simple, healthy, tasty and quick. Thank you for sharing your creativity keep it up!

  5. This is exactly what I was looking for as I try to shed my holiday gut- and oh my god I am now dying for spring rolls! I must have these, like, now.

  6. Awesome collection here Avery!

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