Cooking for one can feel like more trouble than it’s worth and it’s sometimes tricky to calculate the right portion size. When money is an issue, too, motivation can wane. That’s why we’ve put together a selection of simple, low-cost dishes that allow you to make the most of storecupboard and freezer ingredients without having lots of leftovers. From comforting pie and buttery linguine to healthy dhal and ramen, you’ll be glad you made the (minimal) effort…
Dhal with garam masala carrots
This nutritious and warming red lentil dhal makes a great budget vegetarian option and is also low in calories. Toss the carrots in garam masala for a hint of spice and serve with a little Greek yogurt for a luxuriously creamy texture.
Pea & ham pot pie
Who says baking a pie isn’t viable for one person? With a few affordable ingredients and frozen veg, you can easily knock up this beauty and have it all to yourself. Using a ready-made soffrito is a cheap and easy way to create an extra layer of flavour. Freeze the remaining puff pastry to use in another recipe – you’ll find plenty of ideas in our puff pastry collection.
Super-quick sesame ramen
Serve up a comforting bowl of healthy fast food in a flash. This Asian noodle dish is low-fat and low-calorie yet makes a filling meal which you can have on the table in only 15 minutes.
Baked ginger & spinach sweet potato
All good things come in small packages, and this is certainly true for our flavour-packed ginger & spinach sweet potato. This satisfying, spicy veggie meal makes a cheap and low-calorie lunch.
Brown butter linguine
Sometimes, there is little more comforting than a bowl of buttery pasta topped with grated cheese. Browning the butter gives the dish a wonderfully nutty flavour and we’ve also added crispy breadcrumbs to soak up any extra sauce.
Chorizo hummus bowl
Combine hummus with flavourful chorizo, chickpeas and kale for a protein-packed dish that won’t break the bank. Serve with a drizzle of olive oil and flatbread for a simple, speedy lunch which is ready in just 15 minutes.
Whip up our microwaveable shakshuka in just 10 minutes. The rich tomato sauce, topped with a runny egg is perfect for dipping pieces of warmed pitta bread into. Both healthy and hearty, this Middle Eastern-style meal in a mug is sure to be a student staple.
Easy chicken chowder
Stir up this creamy chicken and sweetcorn soup for a comforting solo supper. We’ve used chicken, sweetcorn and potato, but you can customise the recipe with other basic ingredients from your storecupboard or fridge.
Storecupboard stir-fried rice
Put storecupboard ingredients to good use with this simple egg-fried rice. Use half a pounch of ready-cooked rice and combine with vegetables, ginger and spices. Stir in an egg and season with soy sauce for a super quick and thrifty meal.
Find more budget recipes and meals for one…
Meals-for-one recipe collection
Healthy meals-for-one recipe collection
Budget recipe collection
A guide to money-saving meals
What to eat on a budget: A week of thrifty suppers and leftover lunches
5 of the best budget superfoods
12 ways to cut your food costs
Budget dinner party ideas
What other budget meals for one do you like making? Leave a comment below…