Preparing a meal for one doesn’t have to mean a bowl of cereal or beans on toast, there are easy ways to make a delicious and nutritious meal just for you to enjoy.

A benefit of solo meal prep is that you can make it as luxurious or simple as you please, but you can also use the opportunity to batch cook meals for freezing and heating up as and when you need it.

Simple meal ideas come together easily when you have a few things to hand in your kitchen. Some of our favourite go to store cupboard ingredients include:

  • Extra virgin olive oil
  • Good quality stock or bouillon
  • A range of your favourite dried or fresh herbs and spices
  • Tinned tomatoes, pasata and tomato puree
  • Tinned beans such as black beans, butter beans, chickpeas, kidney beans
  • Whole oats, quinoa and brown basmati rice
  • Tinned or frozen fish such as sardines, mackerel and red salmon. Frozen prawns
  • Tofu
  • Tamari, fish sauce and apple cider vinegar
  • Coconut milk/cream
  • Raw nuts and nut butters
  • Cocoa powder
  • Oatcakes
  • Onions and garlic.

With these to hand, along with some fresh everyday ingredients like eggs and vegetables we can create some quick and tasty meals such as some of the delicious recipes from our 7-day recipe planner. Why not have a go and then freeze one or two portions for days when you may have little time, energy or motivation for food preparation

Sweet potato and spinach frittata – can be frozen and you could use the same recipe to make frittata muffins

Ingredients
Olive oil
1 medium sweet potato, sliced
100g baby spinach or shredded chard
4 eggs
Basil, parsley or herbs of choice
Salt, black pepper

Heat your oven to 200 degrees, gas 6. Place the potato and onion slices on an oven tray, drizzle with olive oil, season, and roast for 15-20 minutes until tender. When cooked layer the potato, onion, spinach and herbs in a 20cm greased baking dish. Whisk the eggs with a little seasoning then pour over the vegetables. Gently push down to make sure the eggs have soaked through. Reduce the oven to 190 degrees, gas 5 and bake for 15-20 minutes until the eggs are set.

Vegetable and black bean burgers – this mixture for the burgers can be frozen for up to a month

Ingredients
2 medium sweet potatoes (650g), cubed
1 cup of cooked quinoa (60g cooked in 2x volume of water or stock)
1 cup, rolled oats or millet flakes
400g tin black beans or kidney beans, drained and rinsed
1 large onion, chopped
1 clove of garlic, chopped
Handful of coriander leaves, chopped
2 tsp cumin seeds, ground
half a tsp chilli powder (optional)
1 tsp smoked paprika
Salt and pepper
Olive oil

Drizzle the potato with a little oil and bake in a preheated oven at 200 degrees, gas 6 for 30 minutes, turning every 10 minutes. Soften the onion, garlic and spices in a little olive oil. Combine with the remaining ingredients, mixing well to mash the beans and vegetables to help the burgers hold together, or place in an electric blender to mix. Cool th emixture, divide into eight, roll each piece into a ball then flatten slightly on a lightly greased tray. Place in the fridge for an hour, this will help the burgers set and also make them easier to cook. Bake at 180 degrees, gas 4 for 15-20 minutes or heat in a little oil in a frying pan and cook in batches for 3-4 minutes on each side until lightly browned and cooked through.

Tip: For added protein and texture, add 100g chopped walnuts.