by Anisha Jhvareri: Eating alone can be a great way to experiment with dishes and discover flavors you really love…
But for a lot of us who dine solo at least once a day, cooking can be more of a pain than a pleasure. So many recipes out there make multiple servings, meaning you’re stuck with the same leftovers for longer than you’d like. Plus, why spend an hour making a meal you’re going to inhale in five minutes?
Next time you find yourself on your own for breakfast, lunch, dinner, or even dessert, pick from one of these 21 quick meal ideas that are ideal when you’re cooking for one. Each makes just one perfectly portioned serving, and better yet, takes 10 minutes (at most!) to come together. These meals are exactly what you need when you’re short on time and dining companions but don’t want to be shortchanged on quality.
There’s a reason avocado toast is the world’s most popular breakfast these days: It’s super easy, filling, and a healthy way to feed just one person. This recipe goes the extra mile to make it a full and filling meal, piling two scrambled eggs and wilted kale on top. And yup, the whole thing really can come together in 10 minutes!
Cookies for breakfast is every sweet tooth’s dream, and this one—made skillet-style, in a ramekin—doesn’t disappoint. Packed with oats, a dash of cinnamon, and a touch of maple syrup, it’s really not all that different from a regular bowl of oats, but it’s so much more fun to eat in cookie form.
Give potatoes a break and pair your eggs with a hash made from Brussels sprouts instead. A quick, eight-minute flash in the pan gets them slightly charred and crispy, and they put you well on your way toward your vegetable quota for the day.
In just 10 minutes, this recipe meets an impressive number of requirements: It’s quick, it satisfies a chocolate craving, it has no added sugar, and it keeps the carb count in check by swapping out half the oats for riced cauliflower! If a bowl of oatmeal could mic drop, this one totally would.
No waffling about what to eat for breakfast with this recipe around. Dairy-free and whole grain, it’s simply flavored with cinnamon and vanilla, studded with pecans, and cooked to single-serving perfection.
Swapping out the ice cream for Greek yogurt and cottage cheese, the chocolate syrup for strawberry jam, and whipped cream for fresh berries allows this classic soda fountain dessert to be transformed into a breakfast delight. Playful but healthy, it’s a really fun way to start the day.
For a gluten-free departure from oatmeal, this quinoa bowl comes together in a jiffy with the help of the microwave. With the grain cooked until soft, fresh fruit for sugar-free sweetness, and lots of nuts and seeds for crunch, it’s a flavor and texture treat. And don’t worry about its season-specific title—this is too good not to enjoy all year round.
With an entire zucchini grated into the batter, these 10-minute pancakes aren’t just fast, they’re also full of fiber. Held together with an egg, coconut flour, and almond butter, they’re also a lower-carb alternative to a regular short stack. And the very best part? The entire batch is yours to eat.
Most pasta dishes need more than just 10 minutes to come together, but if you’re really short on time, you can still get your noodle fix by making a speedy and scrumptious sauce out of hummus and some lemon juice. Tangy and robust, it’s great for jazzing up spiralized zucchini but even holds up well with regular spaghetti.
With an entire avocado and half a cup of chickpeas, this recipe makes a huge serving that you get to enjoy all by yourself. Packed between two slices of hearty wheat bread, it’s a way to seriously step up your sandwich game.
An avocado a day keeps the doctor away (no, really). Stuff it with protein-rich tuna, lycopene-filled tomatoes, and fiber-packed celery, and you can pretty much count on feeling good after this meal—and all it takes to make is five minutes.
It makes an inevitable appearance in all our fridges once in a while: that carton of leftover rice from the takeout you ordered last night. Repurpose it into this fast fried rice by sautéing it with your favorite veggies, a touch of soy and miso paste, and ginger and garlic. If you don’t already have baked tofu on hand, the plain extra-firm variety should work just fine.
If you’re looking for a lower-carb way to eat smoked salmon than putting it on a bagel, try rolling it up in an omelet with a touch of Dijon mustard and some wilted spinach. It’ll keep you protein-powered, and it’s delicious without being too much work.
Beans on toast is a good start. But for one extra minute, you can toss in some garlicky wilted kale for even more flavor, plus a healthy dose of vitamins A, C, and K. To take it over the top, finish with some chopped basil and a dusting of Parmesan.
Sometimes, tossing random ingredients in a skillet can yield some surprisingly fantastic results. This recipe is proof: With crumbled tempeh, crushed tortilla chips, slivered almonds, and grape tomatoes, it’s an experiment gone very, very right.
It’s really easy—and fast—to slap way too much cheese between two tortillas and call it dinner, but this quesadilla opts for some fillings that are just as quick and much more substantial: protein-rich refried beans, shredded carrots for more fiber, and a sprinkle of nutritional yeast for dairy-free cheesy flavor. Grill until crisp and top with sliced avocado—now that’s a proper quick-fix dinner.
Casseroles are usually made in huge dishes, designed to serve hungry crowds. But why should a lone diner miss out? Using ready-made rice, a few spoonfuls of cheese, and a handful of broccoli florets, this microwave-made meal is quick but as comforting and convenient as the real deal.
From the cream cheese filling to the graham cracker crust, this mini-cheesecake is every bit as good as a regular-sized version, and you don’t even need to worry about the size of your slice because this entire thing is for you. If you have a few extra minutes, we recommend popping this in the refrigerator before you eat it so that it can chill and taste even better.
Free of eggs and dairy and even suitable for Paleo eaters, this coconut flour-based, gluten-free treat gives you all that crumbly cookie dough goodness without the risk of feeling sick afterward. Pro tip: If you’re into smoother cookie dough, just stir in more water or plant-based milk.
It usually takes a crumble a while to get golden and crisp in the oven, but this recipe smartly uses granola to get those all-important clusters without adding extra time. Meanwhile, a zap in the microwave softens the apple just enough. You’ll be digging in in all of two minutes.