Cooking for one may sometimes seem tricky when you’ve got to calculate the right portion size. When money is an issue, too, you want to make sure you get things right. 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 a comforting ham pie and buttery linguine to healthy dhal and ramen, you'll have plenty to choose from.
Check out these wallet-friendly solo suppers below, then take a look at our main collection of budget recipes and browse our budget recipes for two for meals which can easily be halved. You can find even more inexpensive recipes and cookery advice in our budget section.
Budget meals for one
1. 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.
Stir up more comforting dhal recipes.
2. 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.
Budget tip: Given the recent rise in fuel prices and the implication for oven usage, it would be more cost-effective to batch cook this pie and store multiple servings in the freezer.
Try more of our perfect pie recipes.
3. Super-quick sesame ramen
Serve up a comforting bowl of healthy fast food in a flash, using just a handful of ingredients. This easy noodle dish is low-fat and low-calorie yet makes a filling meal which you can have on the table in just 15 minutes. Using dried noodles instead of ready-made will take a bit longer but is more cost-effective.
4. Baked ginger & spinach sweet potato
All good things come in small packages, and this is certainly true for our flavour-packed ginger and spinach sweet potato. This satisfying, spicy veggie meal makes a cheap and low-calorie lunch.
Budget tip: As baking in the oven is a more energy intensive cooking method, it's best to batch cook several of these jacket potatoes at the same time, then store a few in the freezer for future. See our guide for easy baked potato filling ideas to mix up your dinners. To save on energy, you could also use a microwave to cook the baked potato instead - pierce the skin several times with a fork and microwave for around 5 minutes, or until soft.
Get more filling inspiration with our collection of baked potato recipes.
5. 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.
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Find more budget-friendly pasta recipes.
6. 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.
7. Microwave shakshuka
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.
Check out more of our quick and easy microwave recipes
8. Sardines & tomatoes on toast
Tinned sardines are a cost-effective way to get more heart-healthy oily fish in your diet, so it's worth keeping a few cans in the cupboard. Here, we've combined them with juicy cherry tomatoes, watercress and parsley on toast for a speedy no-cook supper.
Budget tip: Using regular wholemeal bread instead of sourdough will make it more budget-friendly – we've got plenty more leftover bread recipes to use up the rest of your loaf, too.
9. Quick & spicy nasi goreng
Rustle up this veggie stir-fry in just 20 minutes using simple yet wholesome ingredients such as brown rice and cabbage. It's great for using up other leftover veggies you have, which you can just grate or chop in. Serve this nasi goreng with a fried egg on top and a drizzle of sriracha chilli sauce for a satisfying supper.
Budget tip: Use Savoy cabbage for a cheaper option than Chinese leaf.
Discover more speedy stir-fry recipes.
10. Miso, mushroom & tofu noodle soup
If you're looking for a lighter supper option, this healthy miso noodle soup is super satisfying but low in calories. Stir-fried mushrooms and tofu help to bulk up the dish, while a scattering of spring onions provides a crispy topping.
Find more budget recipes and meal ideas...
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A week of healthy budget meals
10 dinners and leftover lunches
5 of the best budget superfoods
12 ways to cut your food costs
Easy budget meals for two
Budget dinner party ideas
What other budget meals for one do you like making? Leave a comment below...