5 Easy, Healthy Dinners That Serve Just One Person
I've spent years making healthy solo dinners, and in that time I realized one key problem with many of the single-serving recipes you can find online: One of the biggest hurdles to prepping dinner for one isn't the actuality of making a smaller resulting dish but the motivation to create anything in the first place. As humans, we're hard-wired to more easily expend effort when those efforts will be appreciated by others—so when you're just sitting down alone to reap the rewards of your time spent cooking, it can be difficult to find that same level of incentive.
That's why, before I propose any actual meals, I propose a mindset shift—to realize that you alone are worth it. There doesn't need to be a spouse or child to appreciate the food you create; you can appreciate it. I'm all about turning a solo dinner into more of an occasion. Light a candle. Put on some of your favorite music. Then sit down to one of these just-hard-enough healthy meals:
1. Cheese plate for one
A fun no-cook dinner that lets you feel fancy and like you're snacking all night, a mini cheese plate is the perfect meal for anyone who likes the art of arranging more than that of actually cooking. Slice up a few pieces of your favorite pastured cheese, and display it on a small cutting board with some fresh seasonal fruit, your favorite store-bought dip (look for one with protein for a complete meal—these are our favorites), a few olives, and some grain-free crackers (we love Simple Mills). Take your time making it look beautiful and exactly to your liking before you dive in.
2. Tamari-maple salmon
Buying a small fillet of salmon is a great way to make dinner for one. Pick up a fresh 4- to 6-ounce serving on your way home from work, then let it marinate in some 2 tablespoons of tamari and 1 tablespoon maple syrup while your oven heats up to 400 degrees Fahrenheit. Pop it in on a parchment-lined pan for 15 to 20 minutes, until it's just cooked through. Serve with some fresh greens tossed in olive oil, lemon juice, lemon zest, sea salt, and pepper for a simple, elegant meal.
3. Tortilla pizza
Tortillas are already perfectly sized to be a personal pizza. Preheat your oven to 400 degrees, then top your tortilla (we love Siete's grain-free varieties) with a spoonful of tomato paste (buy the one in a tube, so you don't have to worry about extra going bad) mixed with sea salt and Italian seasoning to taste. Top with pastured cheese and any leftover veggies you have lying around, then pop in the oven on a parchment-lined pan until the edges are brown and crispy.
4. Hummus toast
Move over, avocado toast—while the healthy fat-rich food is a perennial favorite, hummus toast packs a protein punch that will keep your blood sugar stable all night long. You can either make your own hummus by combining rinsed, drained chickpeas; tahini; olive oil; garlic; lemon juice; and salt to taste in a food processor, or buy your favorite version at the store. Spread it on top of a toasted piece of your favorite healthy bread (here are our top picks), then add thin-sliced red onion, tomato, arugula, and maybe some capers (if you're feeling fancy). Top the whole thing with a drizzle of high-quality extra-virgin olive oil for a delightfully savory feast.
5. Frozen broccoli pasta
A broccoli and garlic pasta with red-pepper flakes is given a solo-meal twist by utilizing the frozen version of the vegetable—that way, you never have to worry about how much you use. Just add a single serving to a medium skillet with some extra-virgin olive oil and sliced garlic cloves. Sauté on medium until the broccoli is bright green and crisp, then toss with your favorite healthy pasta (here are our picks) cooked in well-salted water, lemon juice and zest, salt to taste, and red pepper flakes. A bit of pastured Parm ups the ante even more.
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