Pad Thai

Photo: Ann Stratton

Thai: Sweet and Salty Noodles Done Light
Pad Thai is one of the tastiest noodle dishes in Asian cooking, but most renditions are also swimming in oil, which means the typical takeout box will contain 1,140 calories and 7 grams of saturated fat. Make it yourself so you can pile on the vegetables and use fewer rice noodles. This recipe offers other tweaks to lighten the dish.

Get the recipe: Pad Thai
Shrimp tacos

Photo: Thinkstock

Mexican: The Dairy-Free, Fresh-Tasting Taco
While Mexican restaurants in the United States often serve enchiladas covered in melted cheese and then topped with a dollop of sour cream, tacos are a much lighter—and authentically Mexican—dish. This sautéed shrimp version is especially healthful, punched up with fresh tomatoes and lime juice.

Get the recipe: Chipotle Shrimp Tacos
Poached Salmon Fillets

Photo: Christopher Baker

French: Delicious Fish That Isn't Battered and Fried
The French may be known for their masterful ways with butter and cream, but they've also figured out one of the tastiest ways to prepare salmon, letting a light and savory broth do most of the work. This oven-poaching method is impossible to screw up.

Get the recipe: Poached Salmon Fillets
Curried Red Lentil and Swiss Chard Soup

Photo: John Kernick

Indian: A Filling Vegetarian Stew
Indian cuisine is known for its vegetarian-friendly options, and this curried soup is a terrific example, brimming with lentils, chickpeas and Swiss chard. Lots of curry powder lends deep flavor without adding extra calories or fat. Plain Greek yogurt, thinned with some water and drizzled on top, is a cool counterpoint to the spice.

Get the recipe: Curried Red Lentil and Swiss Chard Soup
Miso Noodle Soup

Photo: Sang An

Japanese: A Superfood Soup
In this twist on classic chicken noodle soup, miso, chard and buckwheat noodles stand in for bouillon, peas and pasta. Leeks and scallions add cancer-fighting phytochemicals to the magnesium- and folate-rich dish. And since miso and edamame have a lot of protein, you can even omit the chicken and still have a nutritious soup.

Get the recipe: Miso Noodle Soup
White Bean and Rosemary Soup with Roasted Garlic Croutons

Photo: Anna Williams

Italian: Guilt-Free Comfort Food
Pasta gets all the glory in Italian cuisine, but white beans—aka cannellini—are the unsung heroes: creamy, filling and good for you. This soup, reminiscent of the well-known pasta e fagioli, skips pasta but is no less satisfying, thanks to croutons made with whole wheat bread and roasted garlic.

Get the recipe: White Bean and Rosemary Soup with Roasted Garlic Croutons
Spring rolls

Photo: Thinkstock

Asian: The Egg Roll Alternative
Spring rolls can be a healthy substitute for the deep-fried egg versions, since they're often stuffed with raw vegetables and lean protein and don't require a dip in hot oil. Plus, the rice paper wrapper is gluten-free. (And while they're technically not a dinner, we could eat a whole plateful.) A simple trick to prevent tearing: Use a piece of lettuce as the first layer.

Get the recipe: Crispy Shrimp and Vegetable Spring Rolls

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