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Cooking for One: 25 Insanely Easy, Healthy Meals You Can Make in Minutes

In the kitchen, one can be the loneliest number. The fear of leftover fatigue or doing the math to modify recipes for a single serving (why do so many recipes make so much at once?) can drive anyone to order out or eat a sad bowl of cereal rather than cooking. After all, spending time making a dish that requires pans and utensils isn’t worth it when you’re dining alone, right? We call BS. Not only can cooking healthy recipes provide some much-needed alone time, but the best part is that it's a lot quicker than cooking for a crowd. Tie on your apron, because these 25 healthy and tasty meals for one will inspire you to get in the kitchen.


Blueberry Paleo Protein Waffles Recipe

Photo: Food Faith Fitness

Skip the Eggos and whip up these protein-packed waffles instead. Vanilla protein powder and healthy subs such as coconut flour and coconut sugar make these a sweet and filling a.m. meal that packs a nutritional punch. Skip the syrup… a honey-and-lemon drizzle kicks the flavor up a notch while cutting down on sugar.

Mushroom and Herb Omelet Recipe

Photo: Forager Chef

Who says omelets need to be complicated? This fancy-looking recipe only calls for eggs, mushrooms, sour cream, and some of your favorite herbs. Easy to add, herbs make all the difference in taste.

Sweet Potato Kale Hash Recipe

Photo: Paleo Running Momma

This restaurant-quality dessert is packed with savory ingredients: bacon, sweet potatoes, a runny fried egg, and crispy kale. Best of all, everything cooks in one pan, meaning minimal cleanup after you devour it.

Peach Crisp Smoothie Recipe

Photo: My Happy Place

Peaches are an underrated fruit when it comes to smoothies—berries seem to get all the love. But that’s about to change with this recipe. A frozen peach (use fresh if you’ve got ’em!) gets blended with heart-healthy walnuts, oats, and banana for a frozen breakfast with plenty of staying power.

Banana Blueberry Oatmeal Recipe

Photo: Kim's Cravings

Overnight oats are always a solid breakfast option, but this microwave version might be our new favorite. Combine oats, milk, flaxseed, an egg, maple syrup, blueberries, and banana in a mug, and microwave for 2-3 minutes. The egg makes it a little thicker than standard oatmeal and adds some protein to the mix.

No-Bake Vanilla Breakfast Cookies Recipe

Photo: The Big Man's World

Some days you wake up, and a sweet-tooth craving immediately hits. These breakfast cookies are the perfect solution, especially since they can be eaten right away, or placed in the fridge or freezer for 30 minutes while you finish getting ready. Grab ’em on the way out the door and enjoy a sprinkle-filled morning… your 10-year-old self would be so jealous.

Cinnamon Roll Greek Yogurt Pancakes Recipe

Photo: Running With Spoons

Pancakes might seem like a cooking-for-the-masses breakfast, but with the right proportions, they can easily become a solo meal. This sweet cinnamon stack looks decadent but is hiding a ton of healthy ingredients: Greek yogurt, protein powder, egg whites, and rolled oats take the place of a boxed mix.


Chicken Bruschetta Pasta Salad Recipe

Photo: Cafe Delites

When you’re craving Italian but not the six servings a restaurant dish usually comes with, try this Italian-inspired recipe at home. More pasta than salad, it combines spelt noodles, chicken breast, red onion, tomato, and basil leaves. The sauce? A super-easy olive oil and balsamic combo.

Minestrone Soup Recipe

Photo: Zag Left

Unless you want leftovers for the week (which isn’t a bad idea), soup is another tough solo dish. This recipe solves the problem when you just want soup once by giving us a single-serving portion: Two cups of chicken broth, loads of beans and veggies, and two strips of crumbled bacon will have you warm and fuzzy in no time.

Avocado Caprese Salad Recipe

Photo: Foodie Crush

When you’re looking for a light, simple lunch, this fresh salad is a winner. Healthy fats like avocado and olive oil fill you up, while honey and balsamic add just the right balance of sweetness to the salad.

Mediterranean Grilled Cheese Recipe

Photo: The Almond Eater

Take your grilled cheese from late-night drunchie to full-on meal with this Mediterranean-inspired version. Creamy feta isn’t as gooey as the standard mozzarella or cheddar, but it sure is rich, and tastes amazing paired with red onions, tomato, kale, and black olives.

Mexican Stuffed Sweet Potato Recipe

Photo: Veganosity

Corn, black beans, chipotle chili powder, and lime juice come together to create mega southwestern flavor. Stuff it all inside a baked sweet potato (cook it the night before for quicker assembly) and top with cashew crumbles. If you’re not vegan or dairy free, try goat cheese crumbles for a tangy flavor.

Tart Cherry Tuna Salad Stuffed Avocado Recipe

Photo: Love and Zest

Is it us, or do stuffed foods just taste better? Take this stuffed avocado, for instance, which is packed with tuna, dried cherries, and chopped pecans. This recipe takes just a few simple ingredients and turns them into a filling meal.

Falafel Nachos Recipe

Photo: Girl Adulting

These Mediterranean nachos are more like a deconstructed falafel, which is music to our eating-for-one ears (falafel = mucho work for just one). Replace tortilla chips with pita chips and cheese with tzatziki sauce, then throw on chickpeas, cucumber, tomato, and onion.

Tomato, Basil, and Mozzarella Sandwich Recipe

Photo: Bowl of Delicious

Drizzle olive oil on two pieces of ciabatta bread (or any crusty slice). Top with fresh mozzarella cheese, tomatoes, and basil, and sprinkle black pepper, garlic powder, and crushed red pepper on top. If you’re not vegetarian, add in your favorite Italian meat, like prosciutto or salami. Cook the sandwich in a pan over medium heat, flattening with a spatula, until cheese is totally melted. Aw yeahhh.


Mug Mac and Cheese Recipe

Photo: Bigger Bolder Baking

You’ll never eye the blue box again. This creamy mac and cheese gets made entirely in the microwave for those nights when you need comfort food, stat. If you have macaroni, shredded cheese, and milk at home, you’re ready to make this. Whole-wheat pasta gives it a healthier twist; toss in less cheese (or opt for vegan shreds) if you’re watching your dairy intake.

Vegetarian Burrito Bowl Recipe

Photo: Healthy Liv

If eating at Chipotle is burning a hole in your wallet, it’s time to try your hand at making burrito bowls at home. By combining brown rice, black beans, salsa, cheese, and diced avocado, a healthy, delicious Mexican-inspired meal is just five minutes away—and a whole lot cheaper. Add leftover tofu or chicken for extra protein, and a dollop of Greek yogurt in place of sour cream.

Mushroom and Kale Naan Flatbread Recipe

Photo: Crazy Cat Girl

Craving pizza, but not down to order a whole pie for yourself? Probably a good call… try this naan flatbread instead, topped with goat cheese (so rich!), mushrooms, kale, pine nuts, and onions. Bake in the oven for eight minutes—dinner is ready before the pizza guy would have arrived!

Mug Egg Fried Rice Recipe

Photo: Healthy Nibbles and Bits

We’ve heard of many “mug” meals, but fried rice is a new one. Save yourself the Chinese food delivery fee and try this healthier, homemade version instead, which conveniently can be ready in less than 10 minutes (as long as you’ve got some cooked rice on hand).

Shrimp Scampi For One Recipe

Photo: Macheesmo

Spaghetti mixed with shrimp, garlic, and just a touch of butter—this recipe is already winning. But then you add in a splash of cream, white wine, and red pepper flakes for some heat, and this shrimp dish is out-of-this-world good. Pro tips: Make it easier (and quicker) on yourself by using tail-off frozen shrimp, and up the health factor by choosing whole-wheat spaghetti.

Curried Carrot Soup For One Recipe

Photo: Zag Left

Another soup for one, hooray! Coconut milk and chicken broth form the base here, and are blended with tons of carrots (duh), onions, cilantro, and fresh ginger. Turmeric gives the soup an even brighter color, while cumin and chili powder spice things up.


Coffee Cake For One Recipe

Photo: Runway Chef

With a name like that, you can’t go wrong. This easy treat is made with Greek yogurt, cinnamon, and a pinch of all your basic baking ingredients. Cook everything in the microwave and top with a mouthwatering streusel for a healthier coffee cake that will satisfy your sweet tooth whenever a late-night craving strikes.

Berry Cobbler For One Recipe

Photo: Real Life Dinner

Cobbler was definitely on our needs-a-crowd recipe list, until now. Oatmeal, berries, and a few tablespoons of flour, brown sugar, and butter are all you need for a personal pie in minutes.

Microwave Fudge Brownie For One Recipe

Photo: Amy's Healthy Baking

Single-serving dessert recipes = the easiest form of self control. This microwave brownie recipe is made from unsweetened cocoa powder, Greek yogurt, whole-wheat flour, agave, and vanilla extract. So as far as sweets go, it’s definitely on the healthier end of the spectrum.

Strawberry Protein Pancake Rollups Recipe

Photo: Dashing Dish

Are these a dessert or a breakfast? All we know is they’re delicious. A pancake batter made of oats, Greek yogurt, and egg whites gets whipped together in a blender and then cooked in minutes. Stuffed with yogurt and jam, these make an awesome French-inspired dessert.

Originally published April 2014. Updated January 2017.

Updated: January 30, 2017 — 7:30 pm

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