Top 7 Healthy Plant-Based Bowls Under 500 Calories

Sharon Palmer

Are you considering taking on some new healthy eating goals? One way to do that is to eat balanced meals that are rich in nutrients, yet moderate in calories. But you don’t want to skimp so much on calories that you don’t feel satisfied and energetic. Often, prepared “light” meals are so light (around 200 calories) that you feel hungry when the last morsel is gone. But a healthy weight plan should provide for more than 200 calories per meal. In fact, aiming for about 400-500 calories for lunch and dinner, along with a similar meal plan for breakfast and a small snack, provides about 1500 calories per day, a good amount to promote a healthful, sustained weight loss for many people. These under 500-calorie plant-based (vegan) bowls are so hearty you will be satisfied until the next meal. Plus, they are packed with nutrients, including protein, fiber, vitamins, minerals, healthy fats, slow-digesting carbs, and phytochemicals. They are great for meal-prep and easy dinners. You can also make these bowl recipes interactive, so that your friends and family can prepare their own bowl the way they like it. Just get the ingredients ready, and let everyone build their own bowl.

And just a reminder. It’s not only about calories. If you eat a diet filled with moderate amounts of minimally processed plant foods, like these bowls, you won’t have to worry about counting calories. Sure, calories count. But so does activity, rest, and overall balance in your life.

Be mindful, and eat and live well. Don’t stress out over calories!


Top 7 Healthy Plant-Based Bowls Under 500 Calories


Tofu Kale Power Bowl with Tahini Dressing (Vegan)

This power bowl is packed with the nutrition power of baked tofu, kale, sweet potatoes, peas, peppers, hemp seeds, and tahini. It’s the perfect lunch to get you through the day, satisfied and primed for your best performance. Best of all, it’s delicious, thanks to the colorful combination of plant foods, home-baked tofu, and a flavorful tahini dressing. Check out the video for this recipe here.

Sesame Tempeh Buddha Bowl (Vegan)

This Buddha bowl is inspired by tempeh—the traditional fermented Indonesian soy and grain cake. It’s filled to the brim with brown rice, crunchy radishes, baby kale, asparagus, mushrooms, and peppers. And topped with a tahini ginger dressing for bold flavor. Check out the video for this recipe here.

Mediterranean Edamame Quinoa Bowl (Vegan, Gluten-Free)

This delicious, Greek-inspired salad is a nourishing one-dish-in-a-bowl for lunch or dinner, or the perfect salad accompaniment for a family-sized meal. Packed with nutrients and flavors, this will soon be your go-to recipe of the week.

Green Goddess Buddha Bowl (Vegan, Gluten-Free)

Buddha bowls—light, healthy meals comprised of a whole grain, lots of vegetables, a healthful protein source, and a flavorful sauce—are all the rage. This bowl combines the star nutrition power of whole grain sorghum and beans with cool green veggies, such as arugula, avocados, cucumbers, asparagus, and pumpkin seeds. Plus, it’s topped with a house-made, plant-based Green Goddess Dressing that is as tasty as it is pretty.

Pistachio Turmeric Rice Power Bowl (Vegan, Gluten-Free)

What’s not to like about this exotic, golden yellow rice bowl, packed with powerful flavors and nutrients, compliments of pistachios, chickpeas, spinach, avocado, and cranberries? Just cook up the flavorful rice, and add the toppings right before eating it. You can also meal prep this recipe and create ready to go meals for lunch or dinner. Check out the video for this recipe here.

Moroccan Chickpea Sorghum Bowl (Vegan, Gluten-Free)

There’s nothing quite like a meal bowl, filled with the goodness of whole grains, pulses, and roasted vegetables. The flavors of Morocco—spice, lemons, and olives—shine through in this easy, nutritious bowl. It’s perfect for meal prep—prepare this recipe and pack it up for 4 healthy meals all week long. Or serve it for your next family meal as a one-dish wonder. Check out the video for this recipe here.

Turmeric Rice and Black Bean Bowl (Vegan, Gluten-Free)

Bowl meals are just. so. great. Aren’t they? I love the combination of a whole grain foundation, with layers of seasonal produce, plant proteins, and fruits. You can use this strategy for meal prep: Just get the ingredients all together to create several grab-and-go, packed up meals for the week. Or I love to prepare all of the ingredients and let the whole family build their bowl the way they like it. No matter what, this is a healthy plant-powered meal strategy that is here to stay. That’s why I really love this completely plant-based (vegan) Turmeric Rice and Black Bean Bowl, which is topped with jewel-toned black beans, pomegranate seeds, avocados, green onions, and yellow bell peppers. It all starts with this super flavorful golden turmeric rice. Then the toppings are all fresh and easy. You can even change up the toppings per your taste preference or season. Try cauliflower florets, cucumbers, radishes, and chickpeas, for example. The sky is the limit on creativity.

Follow along with my videos on how to make these under 500-calorie plant-based meal bowls here:

Chipotle Tomato Rice Power Bowl
Tofu Kale Power Bowl with Tahini Dressing
Pistachio Turmeric Rice Power Bowl
Moroccan Chickpea Sorghum Bowl
Sesame Tempeh Buddha Bowl

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