6 Easy, Delicious Meals for One—in 15 Minutes or Less!

By Joy Manning |

Stuck at home? That doesn’t mean you have to stick to the same menu.

shrimp pasta meal for oneIt's easy to get stuck in a rut if you're cooking for one, but mealtime doesn't have to be a boring hassle. Mix things up in the kitchen with these tasty recipes. These meals for one are perfectly portioned-and easily doubled for two or for leftovers. Even better, they can be prepared in 15 minutes or less.

Meal for One #1: Garlic Shrimp with Whole Wheat Fettuccine

Cooked shrimp from the seafood counter or the freezer section are a convenient source of lean protein. Loaded with garlic and served over fiber-rich whole wheat pasta, this feast for one tastes like more trouble than it is.

Serves: 1

You’ll need:

  • 2 ounces whole wheat fettuccine (or other whole wheat or chickpea pasta)
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 4 to 6 cooked shrimp (thawed, if frozen)
  • 1 tablespoon minced basil

What to do: Bring a pot of water to a boil and cook pasta according to package directions.

While the pasta is cooking, warm the olive oil in a medium skillet over medium heat. Add the garlic and cook, stirring, until the garlic becomes fragrant and light golden, 1 to 2 minutes. Add the shrimp and cook until warmed through.

Drain the pasta and add it to the skillet. Stir to combine. Season to taste with salt and pepper, and sprinkle minced basil over the top.

Meal for One #2: Mediterranean Stuffed Sweet Potato

Stuffed with hearty brown rice and studded with flavorful tomatoes and olives, this dish is an ideal candidate for Meatless Monday or any other day you want an easy vegetarian meal. Sweet potatoes are filling and packed with important nutrients like potassium and beta-carotene, a powerful antioxidant.

Serves: 1

You’ll need:

  • 1 small sweet potato
  • ½ cup cooked brown rice
  • 4 cherry tomatoes, quartered
  • 5 pitted kalamata olives, chopped
  • ¼ teaspoon dried oregano
  • 1 tablespoon crumbled feta cheese

What to do: Use a fork to poke holes in the sweet potato, then microwave it until tender, about 5 to 8 minutes. When the sweet potato is cool enough to handle, slice in half.

While the sweet potato cools, combine the brown rice, tomatoes, olives, and oregano in a microwave-safe bowl and microwave until hot.

Top each sweet potato half with the brown rice mixture, and sprinkle feta cheese over the top.

Meal for One #3: Caprese Chicken Salad

This entrée salad draws inspiration from everyone's favorite summer salad-tomato, basil, and mozzarella, otherwise known as caprese. In the summer, use whatever ripe seasonal tomatoes you might have. The rest of the year, cherry tomatoes typically have the best flavor.

Serves: 1

You’ll need:

  • 2 cups chopped romaine lettuce
  • 5 cherry tomatoes, halved
  • 2 teaspoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 teaspoon balsamic vinegar
  • 3 ounces grilled chicken breast strips or 1 cup of chopped rotisserie chicken
  • ½ ounce fresh mozzarella, cut into cubes
  • 2 tablespoons chopped fresh basil

What to do: In a salad bowl, combine the romaine lettuce, cherry tomatoes, extra-virgin olive oil, and balsamic vinegar. Toss, then top with the grilled chicken breast strips, fresh mozzarella, and fresh basil. Season to taste with salt and pepper.

Meal for One #4: Salmon Burger with Smashed Avocado

Packaged salmon burgers are an easy way to add brain-healthy omega-3s to your diet. Look for the brands with the fewest ingredients and less than 200 milligrams of sodium per serving. A whole wheat English muffin provides fiber, and the avocado adds healthy monounsaturated fat.

Serves: 1

You’ll need:

  • 1 store-bought salmon burger
  • 1 whole wheat English muffin
  • ¼ avocado, mashed with a fork
  • Fresh cucumber slices, for garnish (optional)
  • Thinly sliced red onion, for garnish (optional)

What to do: Cook the salmon burger according to package directions. While the burger is cooking, lightly toast the English muffin.

Spread the mashed avocado onto the English muffin. Add the burger, and top with cucumber and red onion, if desired. Serve with a side salad.

Meal for One #5: Chicken and Pinto Bean Tacos

Tacos are fun and festive, and they can be a healthy, convenient dinner for one. You can use whatever toppings you prefer-chopped cilantro, sliced radishes, diced red onion, hot sauce, and low-fat sour cream would all be welcome here. Make your tacos meatless by substituting black beans for the chicken.

Serves: 1

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You’ll need:

  • ¾ cup pulled chicken (from a rotisserie chicken or homemade)
  • ½ cup canned pinto beans, rinsed and drained
  • ¼ cup jarred salsa
  • 3 whole grain corn tortillas, warmed in the microwave
  • 2 tablespoons shredded Mexican-blend cheese (optional)
  • 2 tablespoons prepared guacamole (optional)

What to do: In a small saucepan over medium heat, combine the chicken, pinto beans, and salsa. Stir occasionally until warmed through, about 5 minutes.

Divide the chicken mixture evenly onto the tortillas, and top with cheese and guacamole, if desired.

Meal for One #6: Shakshuka

Eggs, one of the most affordable sources of protein at the supermarket, aren't just for breakfast. Nestled in a fragrant spiced tomato sauce, they turn into shakshuka, a comforting Middle Eastern classic. Serve with a slice of whole grain bread to soak up every last drop of sauce.

Serves: 1

You’ll need:

  • 1 cup tomato sauce
  • ¼ teaspoon smoked paprika
  • ⅛ teaspoon cumin
  • 2 large eggs
  • 2 tablespoons chopped cilantro
  • Hot pepper flakes (optional)

What to do: In a small skillet over medium heat, combine the tomato sauce, smoked paprika, and cumin. Bring to a simmer.

Make two wells in the sauce with the back of a spoon and crack the eggs into the wells. Cover with a lid, and simmer until the eggs are cooked to desired doneness, about 5 to 8 minutes.

Sprinkle with the chopped cilantro and hot pepper flakes, if desired. Serve with whole grain bread.

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