Lighten Up! Southern Classics
We cut the the calories—but not the flavor—in your favorite dishes.
Smoked paprika and dark sesame oil add depth to this stir-fry. Serve over precooked brown rice or soba noodles.
Recipe: Smoky Pork Stir-Fry
This green bean casserole gets a much-needed makeover from fresh veggies and a lightened (but super-rich!) homemade sauce. And the best part: It's under 200 calories per serving!
- Recipe: Home-style Green Bean Casserole
Adding cornflakes cereal to the pecan-brown sugar topping gives the casserole extra crispiness and crunch.
This delicious mac and cheese is light on butter and cheese yet still melts in your mouth. Change the flavor profile of the recipe with combinations such as sweet peas and proscuitto or ham and broccoli.
Recipe: Baked Smokin' Macaroni and Cheese
This chocolate pudding is everything you dream of—chocolaty rich, silky smooth, and light on calories!
- Recipe: Chocolate Pudding
Enjoy this Lowcountry favorite without the guilt! We reduced the calories to 235 a serving. It seems too good to be true!
- Recipe: Shrimp and Grits
Instead of fried pork chops, try these pork tenderloin cutlets. Tenderloin is low in fat, and this recipe is "fried" with just enough heart-healthy oil for the crispy crunch you crave!
Enjoy a guilt-free serving of these hearty crab cakes with a rich dollop of cilantro-jalapeño sour cream. Add fresh greens to your plate for extra goodness.
- Recipe: Cornbread Crab Cakes
Lean ham and fat-free broth offer the good flavor of the original dish minus the added saturated fat. Beans add extra fiber too!
- Recipe: Turnip Greens Stew
If you're craving a loaded-out pizza, give this veggie pizza a try! A whole wheat crust topped with roasted sweet potatoes and other colorful veggies ups the good-for-you-factor without skimping on flavor.
- Recipe: Roasted Vegetable Pizza
For this healthier version of carrot cake, we reduced the fat in the batter by using less vegetable oil and sugar, yet it is still as moist as traditional cakes. We also reduced the butter and used reduced-fat cream cheese for the frosting, without losing the flavor!
- Recipe: Layered Carrot Cake
Take advantage of this golden veggie in a lightened version of squash casserole. The combo of cornflakes and French fried onions adds an irresistible crunch without adding too many calories.
- Recipe: Lightened Squash Casserole
If you love Key lime pie, you'll hear angels sing (Jimmy Buffett tunes) when you taste how rich this version is without all the fat!
- Recipe: Key "Light" Pie
Grab a knife and fork, and dig in. There's no guilt behind these hot browns—they're lightened and full of flavor. Typically, this open-faced Kentucky classic is made with a heavy cheese sauce, but we found a way to deliver the same richness without all the saturated fat.
- Recipe: Lightened Hot Browns
We lowered the fat and calories by substituting applesauce for some of the oil, using less butter and sugar, fewer eggs, and substituting light for regular cream cheese.
Recipe: Lightened Hummingbird Cake
These simply-seasoned grilled pork tenderloin sandwiches are topped with a sweet onion barbecue sauce and served on whole wheat buns. Add vitamin-rich leafy greens, such as romaine lettuce, Bibb lettuce, or peppery arugula.
If you think cutting calories means giving up the foods you love, think again. This top-rated makeover is every bit as creamy and satisfying as the full-fat original.
- Recipe: Light King Ranch Casserole
A hearty serving of Layered Lima Bean Dip clocks in at only 172 calories. Top lightly with shredded cheese and bacon. You’ll be surprised at how fast it will disappear.
- Recipe: Layered Lima Bean Dip
This updated Southern classic is made with a creamy herb mixture that has fewer fat grams but still all the flavor of the traditional recipes.
Recipe: Herbed Potato Salad
These oven-fried chicken drumsticks have a satisfyingly crunchy texture. We loved the flavor results when we used 1/2 tsp. red pepper. Use 1/4 tsp. for kids.
- Recipe: Crispy Oven-fried Drumsticks
Increase both the color and the flavor of your cornbread stuffing by adding cubed butternut squash, sweet potato, and Granny Smith apple.
Serve refreshing sweet tea to guests without a tinge of guilt. This green tea version is sweetened with honey and flavored with orange and lime. At 68 calories per cup, you may find a new summer favorite.
- Recipe: Slightly Sweet Tea
This pudding delivers a velvety rich custard, ripe banana flavor, vanilla wafers so soft they melt in your mouth, and an irresistible golden-baked meringue topping. All this, and it's lower in fat and calories than traditional versions. These make great individual party desserts, or make it in an 8-inch square pan. We love it with extra wafers.
- Recipe: Banana Pudding
Put a summertime spin on this traditional Southern dish of beans and corn by mixing with lemon juice and chives and serving cold. It’s easy to prepare in advance and pull out of the fridge to serve with meat hot off the grill.
Recipe: Succotash Salad
This vegetable lasagna showcases a plethora of fresh veggies from zucchini, to mushrooms, to red and yellow bell peppers.
Recipe: Fresh Vegetable Lasagna
Here's a low-fat version of the Louisiana favorite with all the classic, cue-the-trombones flavor you'd expect in this hearty dish.
- Recipe: Stovetop Red Beans and Rice
Mediterranean flavors abound in Greek Chicken Salad. Serve this chicken salad on toasted pita bread wedges.
- Recipe: Greek Chicken Salad
Baby spinach and sun-dried tomatoes add flavor and color to this tasty chicken salad. Serve on whole grain flatbread.
Recipe: Lemon-Basil Chicken Salad
This chicken salad is full of bold flavor with ingredients such as red curry paste, fresh cilantro, and golden raisins mixed together. Try it on baked egg roll wrappers.
- Recipe: Curried Chicken Salad
To all you pimiento cheese purists, we dare you not to love this healthier twist.
- Recipe: Classic Pimiento Cheese
Replace the restaurant-size scoops of butter and sour cream with these good-for-you toppings.
Pound chops into thin cutlets to create more surface area, then pan-fry them, rather than deep-fry, to crispy perfection.Try this versatile technique with chicken, beef, or veal cutlets.
No need to fry these pies! Vodka enhances the crusts' flakiness, so you can use less butter. Chill the dough to help it hold its shape as it bakes.
Recipe: Roasted Cherry Hand Pies
Browned flour makes a low-fat gravy, while the slow cooker creates the creamiest grits without cheese or butter. And with a light gravy, you can indulge in andouille sausage.
Sweet potato creates pillowy, gnocchi-like dumplings and adds Vitamin C, Beta Carotene, Calcium, and Potassium. Start with a whole chicken to create a flavorful, refined broth.
Canned artichokes give the rich filling its meaty heft. Feel free to sub sautéed 'shrooms or spinach.
- Recipe: Tomato-Basil Lasagna Rolls