75 Best Low-Carb Dishes for Dinner, Lunch or Snacks

Amanda M. Rye

Low-carb diets are as popular as ever. But finding low-carb dishes that aren’t the same old, same old can be tough. That’s why we rounded up our favorite low-carb recipes from the thousands of Parade recipes. Remember, low-carb recipes can be just as satisfying and flavorful as dishes that are high in carbs. (Yes, recipes without lots of bread can still be great!) Bacon-wrapped onion rings, chicken wings, deviled eggs and guacamole are just some of the low-carb snack and appetizer options to make for holidays and family get-togethers. Cheap low-carb salads and soups are perfect for quick lunches and won’t weigh you down into an afternoon slump before the workday is done.

With so many low-carb versions of classic recipes available, you can still enjoy your favorite comfort food dishes on a low-carb diet. From roast chicken to low-carb shepherd’s pie, there are easy low-carb dinner recipes with plenty of protein and nutrient-packed vegetables that the whole family can enjoy. Scroll through our roundup of low-carb recipes to find a quick and easy snack, lunch and dinner ideas!

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What is a general low-carb diet?

If you’re not interested in following a specific low-carb diet like Atkins or keto, you can simply focus on reducing your carb intake and adding more fresh, healthy foods to your diet. The upside of this type of diet (or un-diet, if you will) is the ability to set your own rules.

“The basic low-carb diet gives you the freedom to eat carbs that include fruits, vegetables, dairy, whole grains, nuts, legumes, and seeds rather than a plan that tells you what you need to eat and when,” says Taft Draper, a registered dietitian and Integrative and Functional Nutritionist located in Asheville, N.C. “So, you don’t have to count carbs. All you do is eat fewer than you have in the past.”

Related: 98 Tasty Low-Carb Foods

Low-Carb Recipes

Bacon Ranch Flatbread Pizza

This recipe from NBC’s The Biggest Loser chef Devin Alexander uses lavash, a Middle Eastern flatbread that contains fewer carbs than traditional crust. Find it near hummus and pita in the deli section of the grocery store, and look for varieties with no more than 100 calories and about 100mg sodium per serving.

Nutrition per serving: 250 cal, 7g fat, 27g protein, 19g carbs, 4g sugar, 2g fiber, 60 chol, 400mg sodium

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Baked Chicken Parmesan with Zucchini Noodles

Lighten up the classic with this version from Kelly Smith, blogger at thenourishinghome.com. The meal meets lower carb diet goals without skimping on flavor. Smith uses baked chicken and swaps pasta for spiralized vegetables (found in the produce section of most grocery stores).

Nutrition per serving: 412 cal, 12g fat, 145mg chol, 40g prot, 36g carbs, 11g sugar, 5g fiber, 986mg sodium

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Thai Peanut Buddha Bowl

Buddha bowls are filling, colorful meals bursting from a large bowl packed with nutritious veggies. Drizzle this bowl with a delectable peanut sauce, which adds crave-worthy flavor to otherwise plain proteins and vegetables.

Nutrition per serving: Calories: 427; Carbs: 18.1g; Net Carbs: 10.8g; Fiber: 7.3g; Protein: 21.8g; Fat: 30.7g

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Low-Carb Lasagna

This lasagna is made with low-carb lasagna noodles and traditional ingredients including ricotta cheese, mozzarella and marinara sauce.

Nutrition per serving: 270 calories, 8g fat, 15mg cholesterol, 430mg sodium, 16g protein, 33g carbs

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Slow Cooker Quiche

Serve up a delicious brunch with this empty-the-fridge, slow cooker Sun-Dried Tomato, Basil & Sausage Crustless Quiche recipe. It’s packed with flavor from Italian sausage, sun-dried tomatoes and basil. You can make this easy family-friendly breakfast dish your own by using ham instead of sausage, along with whatever veggies and cheese you have on hand.

Nutrition per serving: 262 cal, 20g fat, 230mg chol, 17g prot, 4g carbs, 1g sugar, 0g fiber, 562mg sodium

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Low-Carb Chorizo and Cauliflower Breakfast Hash

There’s no room for starchy potatoes in a low-sugar breakfast, but it’s easy to replace them with tasty, healthy cauliflower, as in this full-bodied hash. Serve this simple but scrumptious dish with salsa or tomato relish, if you like, and add more non-starchy vegetables for extra nutrients.

Nutrition per serving: 27.1 g protein; 30.6 g fat; 7.3 g carbs; 410 cal

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Crustless Bacon and Greens Quiche

This superfood-fueled main dish is a perfect savory complement to sweeter breakfast fare. No need to fuss with a crust (plus you’ll save on carbs). Subbing turkey bacon for pork means less fat and fewer calories without sacrificing flavor.

Nutrition per serving: 231 cal, 14g fat, 136mg chol, 17g prot, 8g carbs, 3g sugar, 1g fiber, 785mg sodium

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Chicken with Pear and Avocado

Avocados are buttery in texture, and Bartlett pears have buttery flavor. Pairing them with sautéed chicken and a light, white-wine pan sauce makes a superb dish. Ready in 20 minutes, it turns dinner into an occasion.

Nutrition per serving: 285 calories, 12g carbs, 28g protein, 13g fat, 3g saturated fat, 4g fiber

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Golden Roast Chickens With Pan Sauce

Start a family tradition with this herb-roasted classic. Golden Roast Chickens with Pan Sauce is an easy, crowd-pleasing recipe. Two whole chickens are roasted with a few spices, herbs and vegetables and served with a quick, delicious pan sauce. Simple and comforting, this dish might even be better the next day—and it’s definitely a no-brainer dinner for a satisfying meal on a cold winter night!

Nutrition per serving: 345 cal, 21g fat, 125mg chol, 43g prot, 1g carbs, 0g sugar, 0g fiber, 609mg sodium

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Low-Carb Cauliflower Shepherd’s Pie

Ground turkey replaces lamb or beef in this twist on Sh
epherd’s Pie from Yvonne Feld of triedandtasty.com. Swapping the traditional mashed potato topping for mashed cauliflower makes it a comforting low-carb meal. The whole family is sure to enjoy this quick and easy weeknight dinner!

Nutrition per serving: 204 cal, 10g fat, 49mg chol, 16g prot, 16g carbs, 6g sugar, 4g fiber, 714mg sodium

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Bacon-Wrapped Green Bean Bundles

This fun, easy appetizer is a perfect example of what to make the next time a bacon craving strikes.

Nutrition per serving: 79 calories, 10 g protein, 4 g carbs (2 g sugar), 3 g fat, trace saturated fat, 38 mg cholesterol, 2 g fiber, 300 mg sodium

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Masala Salmon

This weeknight-friendly recipe is adapted from the new book A Woman’s Place by Deepi Ahluwalia and Stef Ferrari. Tandoori masala is a blend of ground spices — typically paprika, cumin, coriander, ginger, garlic, turmeric and cayenne, but it varies a bit from one cook to the next. It’s delicious on this salmon, as well as on lamb, chicken and vegetables.

Nutrition per serving: 254 cal, 1.6g carbs, 35g protein, 12g fat, 80mg chol.

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Pizza Spaghetti Squash

Slash carbs by swapping a crust for spaghetti squash, which shreds into noodle-like strands after baking.

Nutrition per serving: 487 cal, 29g fat, 30mg chol, 19g prot, 46g carbs, 20g sugar, 9g fiber, 1368mg sodium

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Faux Mashed Potatoes

To create this low-carb side dish, substitute cauliflower for potatoes.

Nutrition per serving: 47 calories, 6g carbs, 2g protein, 2g fat, 6mg cholesterol, 241mg sodium, 299mg potassium, 3g fiber, 3g sugar

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BLT Salad with Ranch

Missing BLTs on the low-carb diet? This BLT Salad with Ranch will satisfy those cravings. Just be sure not to overcook the bacon; seven minutes is just right.

Nutrition per serving: 480 calories, 35g carbs, 13g protein, 33g fat, 30mg cholesterol

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Shrimp Stuffed Avocados

Lime juice keeps the avocados from discoloring in these shrimp-stuffed avocados with cantaloupe and honeydew.

Nutrition per serving: 400 cal, 13g carbs, 20g protein, 35g fat, 165mg chol.

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Slow-Cooker Cauliflower Queso

This dump-and-go dip from blogger and cooking instructor Kalisha Blair is the perfect starter for all your summer get-togethers. And it features a surprising ingredient—cauliflower—which adds texture and sneaks a vegetable into this otherwise decadent dip that’s always a crowd pleaser. “Any leftover queso is delicious tossed with cooked penne pasta,” says Blair.

Nutrition per serving: 326 cal, 22g fat, 47mg chol, 8g prot, 24g carbs, 2g sugar, 3g fiber, 409mg sodium

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Warm Kale Salad

Warm Kale Salad is a hearty side or main dish that mounts a delicious defense against cold and flu season. Vitamin C-rich kale and beta carotene-packed butternut squash star in this winter salad, while bits of bacon add smoky flavor without driving up fat and calories.

Nutrition per serving: 101 cal, 3g fat (1g sat fat), 10mg chol, 4g prot, 11g carbs, 4g sugar, 3g fiber, 251mg sodium

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PB and J Spirals

This classic three-ingredient wrap is ideal for on-the-go snacking. All you need is peanut butter, a fruit spread and a low-carb tortilla to make this quick and easy recipe.

Nutrition per serving: 253 calories, 10g protein, 28g carbohydrates, 12g fat (2 g saturated), 0mg cholesterol, 5g fiber, 448mg sodium

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Lemony Detox Salad

Chock-full of mouthwatering color and zingy flavor, this detox salad with lemon chia dressing lives up to the name of the new cookbook Joy Bauer’s Superfood. “I developed this salad as sort of a ‘day after’ cleanse,” says Bauer, a registered dietitian who’s best known as the popular health and nutrition expert on NBC’s The Today Show. Packed with filling fiber, anti-inflammatory antioxidants and healthy fats, “it’s a bowl full of pure goodness,” Bauer promises.

Nutrition per serving: 250 cal, 9 g protein, 17 g fat (2.5 g sat fat), 0 mg cholesterol, 21 g carbs, 9 g fiber, 7 g sugar (0 g added sugar), 210 mg sodium

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Jalapeño Poppers

Bacon-wrapped jalapeño poppers became popular in the ’90s as Americans began seeking out spicier cuisine. Now they’re a staple of game day parties and summer cookouts.

Nutrition per serving: 70 cal, 1g carb, 3g protein, 6g fat, 20mg chol, 200mg sodium, 0g fiber

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Tomato & Avocado Salad with Empress Dressing

A purée of peas and a handful of fresh herbs lend this nutritious dressing its emerald green glow. With only a speck of fat and minimal calories, it provides more than a significant amount of vitamins A and C – with calcium and iron, too – when dressing a salad of red, ripe tomatoes, buttery avocado and low-fat mozzarella cheese.

Nutrition per serving: Calories 350; Total fat 22g; Saturated fat 6g; Cholesterol 20mg; Sodium 540mg; carbs 19g; Fiber 8g; Protein 21g

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Low-Carb Artichoke Dip Rolls

These gluten-free, low-carb Artichoke Dip Rolls only take a few minutes to make, have just three ingredients and are perfect for any party.

Nutrition pe
r serving:
228 calories, 3.6g carbs, 8.8g protein, 18g fat, 56mg cholesterol, 656mg sodium, 80mg potassium, 0.5g fiber, 0g sugar

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Joy Bauer’s Buffalo Chicken Salad

Joy Bauer’s recipe for Buffalo Chicken Salad puts a guilt-free spin on an all-American indulgence: Buffalo wings. It’s from Joy Bauer’s Superfood, by Today’s popular health and nutrition expert. These lettuce cups make great party, potluck or picnic fare, as well as a low-carb lunch or dinner.

Nutrition per serving: 210 cal, 35g protein, 4.5g fat (1 g sat fat), 100mg cholesterol, 6g carbs, 2g fiber, 3g sugar (0 g added sugar), 490mg sodium

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Green Pea Soup with Bacon

Chopped bacon gives this green pea soup some extra texture and flavor.

Nutrition per serving: 140 calories, 16g carbs, 8g protein, 5g fat, 5mg cholesterol, 960mg sodium, 5g fiber

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Garden Greens Soup

This spring soup recipe has leeks, onion, potatoes, broccoli and watercress with a creme fraiche topping. Don’t skip the water-and-vinegar bath for the leeks; it pulls out the sand.

Nutrition per serving: 200 calories, 22g carbohydrate, 6g protein, 12g fat, 20mg cholesterol

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Asparagus Soup

Blended asparagus gives this soup a lovely spring green color.

Nutrition per serving: 100 calories, 11g carbs, 5g protein, 5g fat, 730mg sodium, 15mg cholesterol, 4g fiber

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Peach and Raspberry Chicken Salad

Summer’s flavors shine in this fresh, filling salad from Jamie Sherman, blogger at lovebakesgoodcakes.com. Substitute cherry tomatoes for the raspberries, if you prefer.

Nutrition per serving: 518 cal, 29g fat, 102mg chol, 40g prot, 27g carbs, 21g sugar, 5g fiber, 196mg sodium

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Cold Zucchini Soup

This chilled soup is the perfect dish to help counter summer heat.

Nutrition per serving: 80 calories, 7g carbs, 3g protein, 6g fat, 720mg sodium, 5mg cholesterol, 2g fiber

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Pea Soup with Dill

This easy pea soup with dill is ready in under 15 minutes and requires only a handful of ingredients.

Nutrition per serving: 190 calories, 22g carbs, 6g protein, 10g fat, 5mg cholesterol, 910mg sodium, 6g fiber

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Vegan Egg Salad

This no-egg salad is made with crumbled tofu instead of eggs, plus vegan mayonnaise, almond milk yogurt, fresh veggies and herbs. Roll the salad in Nori wraps to for a low-carb wrap alternative.

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Sam Sifton’s Trini-Chinese Chicken

This winning chicken recipe, from See You on Sunday by New York Times food editor Sam Sifton, features the haunting flavors of Trinidad and Tobago. “Do not stint on the lime used in the marinade,” says Sifton. “It offers a tartness that helps cut the saltiness of the soy.” Serve this with white or fried rice.

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Instant Pot Shepherd’s Pie

This shepherd’s pie is a bit different from the traditional. For one thing, it uses cauliflower instead of potatoes as a topping, making it lower in carbs. And it incorporates lean protein and tons of veggies instead of lamb, all the while maintaining the comfort touch of the original. It’s a great, complete meal for chilly nights.

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Baked Cauliflower Bites

These little gems of cauliflower, cheese, herbs and spices are baked in mini muffin tin pans. They’re perfect for brunch, an appetizer before a big meal or a great take-along to a party.

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Avocado with Toasty Crumbs

This recipe comes from mom of two, model and social media superstar Chrissy Teigen’s much-anticipated second cookbook, Cravings: Hungry for More. This easy recipe is her riff on popular avocado toast, but in reverse. Perfect avocado halves are left intact and garnished with crunchy, herby toasted bread crumbs, thinly sliced radishes and a squeeze of lemon for a perfect starter or snack.

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South African T-Bone Steak

In Gordon Ramsay’s National Geographic docuseries Gordon Ramsay: Uncharted, he explores different cuisines and meets local chefs around the world. When Ramsay visits South Africa, he learns about the cuisine of Zulu warriors from beloved local chef, TV personality and cookbook author Zola Nene. Their menu includes this recipe for braai-style steak with spicy local pelepele relish.

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Classic Guacamole with Kale

Get your greens in on Cinco de Mayo this year by making this recipe for Classic Guacamole with Kale. The kale is chopped up finely and stirred in, creating a unique and delicious take on guacamole. Grab some chips and dip away!

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Ina Garten’s Homemade Chicken Stock

“I think of homemade chicken stock as liquid gold,” says Ina Garten of this key recipe from her new cookbook, Modern Comfort Food. “It gives anything you make with it rich body and aroma. Just having a big pot of chicken stock simmering away on my stove makes me feel good.” She uses it as a base for soups, of course, and sauces.

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Cauliflower Soup with Crispy Garlic

Here’s an easy way to keep your New Year’s resolution to eat lighter: a creamy (but cream-less) soup from Parade Chef Jon Ashton. Once cooked and pureed in a blender, cauliflower and onions transform into a velvety, comforting bowl made even more delectable by a crispy garlic topping.

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Chicken Thighs with Pancetta and Green Olives

If making chicken always means using skinless boneless breasts, it’s time to up your game. Lucky for you, this recipe for bone-in, pan-fried thighs, from Canal House Cook Something: Recipes to Rely On by Melissa Hamilton and Christopher Hirsheimer, is a bona fide game changer. “Chicken thighs have it all. Lots of dark juicy meat and plenty of skin,” they say.

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Dixie Chicken Wings

This simple game-day chicken wings recipe from chef Pat Martin, owner of Martin’s Bar-B-Que Joint, is a winning last-minute option. Tangy, mayonnaise-based Alabama white barbecue sauce is a tasty match with fried, smoked or grilled chicken.

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Grilled Bacon-Wrapped Poppers

These jalapeño poppers are stuffed with a scrumptious southwestern cheese blend, wrapped in bacon then grilled to perfection. The entire recipe goes go from prep to plate in 30 minutes.

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Mini Taco-Stuffed Peppers

Get all the yumminess of tacos without the taco shells in these Mini Taco-Stuffed Peppers. The cilantro cream sauce adds an extra boost of flavor to these two-bite treats, but for a shortcut, just use plain sour cream.

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Spicy and Buttery Yucátan Shrimp

This spicy, buttery shrimp, from the new See You on Sunday by New York Times food editor Sam Sifton, is on the table in less than 20 minutes. Serve it as a casual appetizer, or pair it with a salad for a lovely light supper.

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Coca-Cola Carnitas

In this recipe, the sugar and caramel in the soda infuses the meat with delicious flavor and great color. Keep these shredded carnitas in the freezer to make quick tacos, burritos and nachos. It’s also delicious with scrambled eggs with onions, tomatoes and chiles in the morning.

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Baked Salmon with Mango and Avocado

Fresh and delicious, this Salmon with Mango and Avocado requires minimal preparation and can easily be doubled or tripled to serve a crowd. This dish takes less than 30 minutes to make so it’s a perfect weeknight meal.

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Spicy Watermelon Salad

This spicy, sweet and creamy watermelon and avocado salad is just right for the dog days of summer. It’s from the Well+Good cookbook, which features 100 recipes from the trendsetting online wellness publication.

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Blue Zones Grain Bowls

These easy grain bowls, from The Blue Zones Kitchen by Dan Buettner, are a healthy way to spin odds and ends left over in the fridge into a delicious lunch or dinner. Beans and legumes provide plant-based protein and lots of fiber. Greens, like spinach, serve up essential vitamins, minerals and fiber. Made with peanut butter, this dressing adds creamy texture and zippy flavor and protein.

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Alex Guarnaschelli’s Sheet Pan Pork Chops

All you need is a handful of ingredients and one sheet pan to make these delicious pork chops and Brussels sprouts from Food Network star Alex Guarnaschelli’s new book, Cook With Me. “This is the kind of weeknight dinner that I often cook up with my daughter,” she says of her Sheet Pan Pork Chops recipe.

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BLT With Baked Avocado Egg Salad

When you combine avocado, eggs and a BLT sandwich, you get one amazing salad! In this simple yet satisfying recipe, the avocado gets even creamier during the baking process, the ripe tomatoes add sweetness, the arugula offers a peppery bite and the bacon gives you a salty little nibble. The egg yolk is all the dressing you need to tie this salad together.

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Ro-Tel Beer Cheese Dip

Serve this addictive cheese dip, adapted from the menu at country music star and The Voice judge Blake Shelton’s Ole Red restaurants, as is with low-carb chips. Or kick it up a notch and make a version of Ole Red’s “redneck nachos” with this dip over low-carb chips, barbecue sauce and smoked chicken, garnished with sour cream, sliced green onions and avocado.

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Mayo-Marinated Pork Chops

If you’re just using that jar of mayonnaise in the fridge for sandwiches, you’re missing out. As this recipe from The Duke’s Mayonnaise Cookbook by Ashley Strickland Freeman demonstrates, mayo is fit for much more than a mere condiment. Here, it’s used in a quick, easy marinade for Rosemary-Dijon Pork Chops, one of the simplest dinners you’ll ever make.

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Three-Ingredient Chocolate Mousse

Inspired by a favorite childhood dessert, baker and popular blogger Gemma Stafford includes this super-simple chocolate mousse in her cookbook, Bigger Bolder Baking. “It’s so easy, but I still think it’s one of the most elegant desserts you can make,” says Stafford.

Nutrition per serving (not including options): 333 cal, 8 g protein, 17 g fat (12 g sat fat), 15 mg c
holesterol, 35 g carbs, 2 g fiber, 30 g sugar, 86 mg sodium

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Pan-Roasted Chicken With Mint Sauce

This stellar chicken dinner, from See You on Sunday by New York Times food editor Sam Sifton, is on the table in less than 30 minutes. Round it out with a side of sautéed greens and roasted potatoes for a meal that will satisfy everyone at the table. The spice rub and bright-flavored sauce also pair well with fish.

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Lobster Guacamole

Who doesn’t want to show off a little while entertaining or creating a special dish for someone else’s party? This Maine Lobster Guacamole recipe from Maine Lobster Marketing Collaborative will make you a game day MVP.

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Spatchcocked Chicken with Chimichurri

This flavorful chicken is a great tailgating recipe. Chimichurri is an Argentine sauce that lends this chicken with loads of flavor. For tailgating, slather the chicken with chimichurri before leaving for the game and keep it chilled until you get to the stadium.

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Buffalo Cauliflower Pizza

Healthy food blogger and cookbook author Kale Me Maybe’s Buffalo Cauliflower Pizza has a chickpea crust topped with buffalo cauliflower, mozzarella, green onion, parsley and ranch. You can customize it with different pizza toppings or even make it dairy free.

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Cashew-Crusted Salmon Skewers

Salmon, nuts and seeds are a home-run combo of flavor, nutrition and simplicity in this recipe from the new cookbook The Game of Eating Smart: Nourishing Recipes for Peak Performance Inspired by MLB Superstars by Julie Loria.

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Salmon Kebabs

Get in the swim of eating more fish with this quick dinner-on-a-stick (perfect for Lent). Let everyone pick their own dipping sauce—choose from bottled teriyaki, hoisin or sweet chili.

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Porcini-Rubbed Rib Eye Steak with Oven-Dried Tomatoes and Arugula

Chef David Burtka keeps a jar of the porcini rub on hand to make this steak, from his new cookbook Life Is a Party, on a moment’s notice. “Everyone goes crazy for it because of those layers of flavor,” he says. “The earthiness of the porcini, the spice of the chile flakes and the sweetness of the sugar—it’s all in there.”

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Three Cheese Cauliflower Gratin

Love mac ‘n’ cheese? Try this low-carb alternative! Blanch the cauliflower up to 2 days ahead. Prepare the sauce up to 2 days ahead and refrigerate; warm over low heat, combine with cauliflower and bake.

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Jessica Seinfeld’s Shortcut Whole Roasted Cauliflower

Cookbook author Jessica Seinfeld contributes this clever recipe to Mixtape Potluck, the cookbook by Questlove, which pairs music with dishes gathered from famous foodies and chefs. Many recipes for roasting whole heads of cauliflower call for blanching the vegetables first, but Seinfeld’s smart technique enables you to skip that step.

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Avocado Stuffed Meatballs

Meatballs are a simple, quick meal that kids love. They are perfect for little hands to pick up without the need for utensils and also delicious in many kinds of sauces. Stuff the meatballs with avocado for a new twist on the family favorite.

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