35 Low-Calorie Summer Recipes

Updated: Apr. 23, 2024

We can't get enough of these low-calorie summer recipes. They'll refresh you after a long, hot day spent in the sun. Find our favorite healthy main dishes, appetizers and even desserts!

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Crisp Cucumber Salsa

Here’s a fantastic way to use cucumbers. You’ll love the creamy and crunchy texture and super fresh flavors. —Charlene Skjerven, Hoolpe, North Dakota

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Blackened Tilapia with Zucchini Noodles

I love quick and bright meals like this one-skillet wonder. The way it tastes, you'd think it takes a lot more effort, but it goes from prep to dinner table in half an hour. The recipe works well with any light fish, or even shrimp. —Tammy Brownlow, Dallas, Texas
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Grilled Basil Chicken and Tomatoes

Relax after work with a cold drink while this savory chicken marinates in an herby tomato blend for an hour, then toss it on the grill. It tastes just like summer. —Laura Lunardi, West Chester, Pennsylvania
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Lettuce-Wrap Burgers

These fresh flavors blend like a dream. It's a snap to throw the wraps together for a quick, healthy lunch. The burgers can also be served on buns if you like. —Rachelle McCalla, Atlantic, Iowa
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Frosty Watermelon Ice

Here's a fun twist on watermelon. It's so refreshing on a summer day, and you don't have to worry about seeds while you're enjoying it. —Kaaren Jurack, Manassas, Virginia
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Spinach and Artichoke Pizza

My from-scratch pizza has a whole wheat crust flavored with beer. Top it with spinach, artichoke hearts and tomatoes, then add chicken or ham and fresh basil if you want to include meat. —Raymonde Bourgeois, Swastika, Ontario
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Gazpacho Recipe

My daughter got this recipe from a college friend and shared it with me. I serve it often. —Lorna Sirtoli, Cortland, New York
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Tuscan Fish Packets

My husband does a lot of fishing, so I'm always looking for different ways to serve his catches. A professional chef was kind enough to share this recipe with me, and I played around with some different veggie combinations until I found the one my family liked best. —Kathy Morrow, Hubbard, Ohio
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Slow-Cooker Chicken Enchilada Stuffed Peppers

Use up leftovers and clean out the fridge by making these super simple and tasty stuffed peppers! This is an ideal weekend meal that you can put together quickly and let cook while you run errands. —Katie Jasiewicz, Belle Isle, Florida
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Spicy Edamame

Edamame are young soybeans in their pods. While I love to get them with my sushi when I go out, they are also so easy to make at home. —Mark Neufang, Bayshore, Wisconsin
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Fabulous Fajitas

I've enjoyed cooking since I was a girl growing up in the Southwest. When friends call to ask me for new recipes to try, I suggest these flavorful fajitas. It's wonderful to put the beef in the slow cooker before church and come home to a hot delicious main dish. —Janie Reitz, Rochester, Minnesota
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Peach Crisp Parfait Pops

My little ones love fruit crisps and ice pops. I created a healthy and delicious treat that combines the two. For a sweet addition, use cinnamon sticks in place of the wooden pop sticks. —Carmell Childs, Orangeville, Utah
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Easy Crab Cakes

Ready-to-go crabmeat makes these delicate patties easier than other crab cake recipes. You can also form the crab mixture into four thick patties instead of eight crab cakes. —Charlene Spelock, Apollo, Pennsylvania
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Baked Chicken Chimichangas

I developed this quick and easy recipe through trial and error. I used to garnish it with sour cream, too, but I eliminated it in order to lighten the recipe. My friends all love it when I cook these chimichangas, and they're much healthier than deep-fried. —Rickey Madden, Clinton, South Carolina
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Strawberry Gelato

You'll love this smooth and creamy gelato with bright strawberry flavor and just a hint of sea salt and honey. Fresh raspberries or blackberries can be substituted for the strawberries if you prefer. If your berries are tart, add a touch more sugar or honey. —Shelly Bevington, Hermiston, Oregon
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Pepper Ricotta Primavera

Garlic, peppers and herbs top creamy ricotta cheese in this meatless skillet meal you can make in just 20 minutes. —Janet Boulger, Botwood, Newfoundland and Labrador
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Homemade Guacamole

I always judge a Tex-Mex restaurant by its guacamole. And although it's simple to prepare, it can go wrong oh, so easily. I've spent many years perfecting mine, to the point where I think it's better than most restaurants. —Joan Hallford, North Richland Hills, Texas
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Red Pepper & Parmesan Tilapia

My husband and I are always looking for light fish recipes because of their health benefits. This Parmesan tilapia is a hit with him. It’s a staple! —Michelle Martin, Durham, North Carolina
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Shrimp & Corn Stir-Fry

I make this seafood stir-fry at summer’s end when my garden is producing plenty of tomatoes, squash, garlic and corn. For a quick supper, we serve it over rice. —Lindsay Honn, Huntingdon, Pennsylvania
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Summer Bounty Ratatouille

Make use of your garden's surplus with this comforting dish from the Provence region of France. It's a vegetable dish traditionally made with eggplant, tomatoes, onions, zucchini, garlic, bell peppers and various herbs. I highly recommend accompanying it with some freshly baked bread. —Phyllis Jacques, Venice, Florida
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Herbed Pork Chops

Herbs are a fast and flavorful way to dress up pork. Plus, they make the chops look so pretty on a platter. I prepare these year-round as a way to capture the taste of summer. —Dianne Esposite, New Middletown, Ohio
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Grilled Stone Fruits with Balsamic Syrup

Get ready to experience another side of stone fruits. Hot off the rack, these grilled nectarines practically melt in your mouth. —Sonya Labbe, West Hollywood, California
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Caprese Skewers

Trade in the usual veggie platter for these fun kabobs. In addition to preparing these for get-togethers, I often make these as snacks for my family. And because assembly is so easy, the kids often ask to help. —Christine Mitchell, Glendora, California
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Stir-Fried Scallops

Scallops meet mild tomato in this sublime stovetop supper. Try serving the saucy mixture over rice or angel hair pasta, and garnish with cilantro if you like. —Stephany Gocobacki, San Rafael, California
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Lime-Chipotle Carnitas Tostadas

Here's a terrific recipe for your next weeknight dinner. Set out various toppings and garnishes so your family members can customize their own tostadas with the lime-kissed shredded pork. —Jan Valdez, Chicago, Illinois
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Watermelon Gazpacho

My refreshing gazpacho is a delightfully simple, elegant dish. Serve as a side or with pita and hummus for a meal. —Nicole Deelah, Nashville, Tennessee
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Lime and Sesame Grilled Eggplant

When I lived in Greece, I fell in love with eggplant. My recipe's seasonings have an Asian theme, but the dish still makes me think Greek. —Allyson Meyler, Greensboro, North Carolina
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Chocolate-Avocado Mousse

I have rheumatoid arthritis, and I follow a special diet to help manage the symptoms. This avocado mousse is simple to make and tastes heavenly. The avocados can help reduce inflammation. —Kelly Kirby, Mill Bay, Nova Scotia
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Asian Chicken Thighs

The thick, tangy sauce makes this dish one of my favorite Chinese chicken recipes. Serve the chicken over long grain rice or with ramen noodle slaw. —Dave Farrington, Midwest City, Oklahoma
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Fiery Stuffed Poblanos

I love Southwest-inspired cuisine, but the dishes are often unhealthy. As a dietitian, I try to come up with nutritious twists on recipes, which is how my stuffed peppers dish was born. —Amber Massey, Argyle, Texas
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Tender Salsa Beef

This is my Mexican-style twist on comfort food. To keep it kid-friendly, use mild salsa. —Stacie Stamper, North Wilkesboro, North Carolina
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Orange Beef Lettuce Wraps

This is a lighter version of a restaurant favorite. I also recommend trying these wraps with ground chicken or turkey.—Robin Haas, Cranston, Rhode Island
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Split-Second Shrimp

I use my microwave to hurry along the prep of this super fast shrimp scampi. It’s deliciously buttery and full of garlic flavor. We love it as a main dish, but it makes an excellent appetizer, too. — Jalayne Luckett, Marion, Illinois
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Broccoli Cauliflower Combo

Shallots, basil and broth rev up the taste of this nutritious vegetable medley. The bright color and fresh flavors will dress up your plate! —Clara Coulston, Washington Court House, Ohio.
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Balsamic-Glazed Fig & Pork Tenderloin

I have a huge fig tree that produces an abundance of figs. One year I tried drying some and developed this sweet and smoky recipe as a result. —Greg Fontenot, The Woodlands, Texas