Cooking for One: 15 Easy Meal Ideas & Recipes for Singles

Photo taken from above of two hands cracking an egg over a skillet on a wooden countertop. Around the skillet we can see healthy green leafy vegetables, garlic, and mushrooms.

Last Updated on 25/08/2022

Ugh, time to cook again already? If you live alone, you know how boring cooking for one can get.

It can also be downright difficult to do meal planning for one person. Working or studying full-time and running around to take care of everything else in life hardly leave much time to coordinate complicated grocery lists, let alone spend hours in the kitchen.

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So many recipes are just too complicated, call for a long list of expensive ingredients, or simply take too long to prepare. I live alone, too, so I know the struggle is real.

If you’re tired of eating scrambled eggs on toast night after night, read on. I’ve gathered together 15 of my favourite easy recipes for 1 in this post, all from my Minimalist Cooking board on Pinterest. These meals are easy to make, relatively inexpensive, satiating, and healthy.

There’s something in here for breakfast, lunch and dinner, vegans, keto, paleo and Whole30 followers, and folks on a tight budget. A couple of these recipes are portioned for more than one person where indicated. In those cases, I recommend either dividing the ingredients for one, or making the full serving to cook ahead. After all, nothing beats being able to open the fridge after a long day to find a fully cooked meal you only need to heat up. Or, you can freeze extra servings and thaw them as needed, or pop them into the microwave for a quick meal.

Baked Sweet Potato & Egg Breakfast Boats

Yum. You only need seven ingredients to put together this hearty breakfast. It’s paleo and gluten-free so it won’t weigh you down. Substitute the bacon with turkey or vegan alternatives if you keep kosher.

Tuna Stuffed Avocado Bowls

This is a delicious gluten-free, low-carb recipe for breakfast, even though the author says it’s a lunchtime dish. Super fast to make, with just four main ingredients, this boat has it all. Healthy fats from the avocado, crunchiness from pecans, sweetness from dried cherries, and the protein your brain needs to conquer the day.

Vegan Teriyaki

This is one of my own recipes. It’s veggie-based, easy to make, and super tasty! You need seven to eight ingredients for this, depending on whether you like your teriyaki sweet or not. The whole dish takes just 15 minutes to cook for one person, and you can serve it over rice or rice noodles. Or konjac noodles if you’re keto!

Mini Tater Tot Omelets

Here’s another easy meal to cook for one person. These mini omelettes are great for breakfast, lunch, or a snack in between meals. You make them right in a muffin form, so they can be prepped ahead.

Mini Spanish Tortilla with Zucchini

Don’t confuse this tortilla with Mexican tortillas. This is a Spanish one, made from eggs and potato, and thus much more filling. You need just seven ingredients here to whip this together. It’s an ideal dish for any meal of the day!

Cheese Grits

I love American southern cooking, and I love grits! Here’s a simple recipe for cheese grits for one. And if you’ve always wondered what the difference is between polenta and grits, it’s explained here, too. 20 minutes from stove to table. I’m in!

Big Ass Salad

This is the original “big ass” salad from Mark’s Daily Apple, and you can essentially wing it. There’s no recipe set in stone. I almost always have a big ass salad ready to go in my fridge on any given day. I don’t put any dressing or oil on it until I’m ready to eat. That way it stays crisp. Then I just add whatever protein I have on hand. Feta cheese, hard-boiled eggs, leftover grilled meat, a can of tuna fish, you name it. You can get creative. Always have a big ass salad in the fridge if you live alone, and half of your meal planning is already done!

Chipotle-Lime Chicken Tacos & Broccoli-Radish Salad

Pick up a rotisserie chicken on your way home, a couple of simple things from the produce section, and use up those taco shells you have in your cupboard with this yummy recipe. If you bought a whole chicken, save the rest to heat up with some ready rice the next day, and you’ve got yourself a whole extra meal or two 😎  Or use the leftover chicken to make some…

Chicken ‘n Rice

With just seven ingredients, you can put this quick meal together together in 15 minutes. With tomato and garlic, it’s a comforting dish.

Easy One Pot Pasta With Zucchini

Six ingredients, some water and 40 minutes later: boom. Careful, this recipe is for five portions. So either trim it down if you’re cooking for one, or invite some friends over.

Spinach Salmon Salad

This is one of my go-to meals throughout the week. It makes a great lunch or dinner. Plus, it’s primal/paleo, gluten-free and soy-free. Gather these seven ingredients and you can put this dish together in about ten minutes.

Sweet Potato Bacon Kale Hash

This super easy meal is a delicious single-pan serving that will leave you feeling full for hours. It’s grain-free, dairy-free, paleo and Whole30 compliant. Super healthy. If you don’t eat pork, substitute with e.g. turkey bacon or plant-based bacon.

Southwestern Black Bean Soup

This hearty soup takes about 10 minutes to prep, and 35 minutes to cook, but it’s worth the wait! It’s a great dinner on a cold night, and goes well paired with a beer or a glass of red wine when you’re staying in.

Personal Mini-Pizzas

This “recipe” assumes you’re making your own little mini pizza crusts and freezing them ahead. Let’s skip the line here! Use pita bread instead, and ready-made tomato sauce. Add your preferred toppings, pop these babies into the toaster oven, and you’ve got yourself a quick meal. Add a tossed salad on the side if you’re feeling guilty. Or just make a…

Pizza Bowl

Here’s another super quick, super easy low-carb dish for one that’s filling. Plus, you can make it as a vegan version with dairy-free, vegan cheese and vegan meat substitute. Because there are hardly any carbs in here, this would make a great lunch. It won’t cause the usual afternoon drowsiness that bread, pasta, and potatoes do.

Whew. There we have it. 15 easy recipes next time you’re stuck on what to cook for one person. I’m quite hungry now, how about you?

Bookmark your favourites, or pin to your food board. And if you’re setting up your first kitchen, be sure to have these minimal kitchen essentials for easy meal prep. Bon appétit !

Cropped photograph taken from above of two hands cracking an egg over a skillet on a wooden countertop. Around the skillet we can see healthy green leafy vegetables, garlic, and mushrooms. Caption reads: 15 easy meals for one and is geared to single folks who live alone and are looking for new recipes for single servings.
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