This selection of meal-for-one recipes is especially for those of you who are in solo lockdown. Each recipe is easy to prepare, using commonly-found ingredients – and they’re inexpensive too.
The first two recipes (which I’ve taken the liberty of slightly adapting) come from the rather handsome Miguel Barclay who has a popular Instagram account called One Pound Meals which is definitely worth checking out when you have a spare five minutes (something we all seem to have at the moment!).
Sweet Potato Katsu Curry
Crispy sweet potato fritters and a sweet-meets-spicy katsu sauce, this deliciously simple recipe is totally vegan.
INGREDIENTS: Medium sweet potato cut into four slices. Microwaveable long grain rice. 1 tsp mild Madras curry powder. 5 tsp golden syrup. Tsp soy sauce. Spring onion, sliced lengthways. 100g self raising flour and 1 tsp plain flour.
HOW TO PREPARE: Heat a 3 – 4 tbspns of vegetable oil in a deep frying pan. In a bowl, whisk the self-raising flour with 150ml water. Dip the sweet potato slices in the batter, then fry in the oil for 10 mins or until golden, crisp and cooked through. Remove, drain on kitchen paper and keep warm.
For the curry sauce, put a saucepan over a medium heat and add the curry powder, syrup and plain flour. Mix to a paste, then stir in 100 – 200ml water, a little at a time, until you have the consistency you like. Stir in the soy sauce.
Microwave the rice (usually takes 90 seconds but check pack instructions) and serve as shown above. Any leftover rice can be used another day in a salad or as an accompaniment.
Spanish Chorizo Stew
When you’re having a day when comfort food is top of your list, then look no further than this mouthwatering dish. And it’s under 500 calories too.
INGREDIENTS: Handful sliced cooking chorizo. Half white onion, sliced. 200g drained canned chickpeas. 200g tinned tomatoes. Tsp paprika. Handful spinach. 2 tsp olive oil.
HOW TO PREPARE: Heat 1tsp oil in a pan over a medium heat, then add the chorizo and fry for a few mins until it starts to brown. Add the onion and cook for 1 min until it softens and starts to go translucent.
Add the chickpeas and fry for 2 mins, coating everything in the oil. Add the tomatoes and paprika, season with pepper and simmer for 5 mins until the sauce thickens.
Just before serving, stir in the spinach until it wilts. To serve, drizzle the stew with the other 1tsp olive oil and plenty of black pepper.
Spicy, garlicky, lemony, herby sardines on toast
Buy the best tinned fish you can afford – supermarket own-brand ones are usually great and, for a treat, the range from Spanish brand Ortiz is exceptional. This recipe comes from Signe Johansen’s Solo: The Joy of Cooking For One
INGREDIENTS: One large or 2 small slices sourdough bread. Garlic clove (peeled and halved). Olive oil. A few ripe tomatoes. 80g tin spicy sardines. Tsp fresh oregano leaves. Sprig parsley. Grated zest and juice of half lemon.
HOW TO PREPARE: Toast the bread until crispy and golden and crisp. Rub the cut sides of the garlic clove vigorously all over the crusty bread while it’s still warm. I like to drizzle a little of the oil from the sardine tin over the bread, but if you prefer, just use plain olive oil (or butter) instead.
Arrange the tomato slices on the toast, followed by the sardines and herbs, and sprinkle with squeeze the lemon juice on the herbs. Scatter over the lemon zest and eat while warm.
Variations: You could spread mashed avocado on the garlicky toast before the rest of the ingredients.
Crispy skin chicken with salsa verde
Whip up this recipe from Delicious Magazine in just twenty minutes.
INGREDIENTS: Skin on chicken breast. Fresh rosemary sprig. Grated zest and juice of a lemon. 10g unsalted butter. 1.5 tbsp olive oil. Banana shallot, finely chopped. Crushed clove of garlic. Handful of chopped soft fresh herbs. Tbsp capers, drained and roughly chopped. Splash of dry white wine.
HOW TO PREPARE: Lay cling film over a chopping board, put the chicken breast on top, then cover the chicken with another sheet of cling film. Using a rolling pin, bash the chicken all over to flatten it to an even thickness (this ensures the meat will cook evenly in the pan). Season with salt and pepper, the rosemary/thyme and half the lemon zest.
Heat half the butter and ½ tbsp oil in a small non-stick frying pan, then cook
the chicken for 10-12 minutes, turning, until golden, adding the remaining butter to the pan as you turn. Continue to cook until the chicken is cooked through.
Meanwhile, for the salsa verde, mix the remaining oil and lemon zest, ½ tbsp lemon juice, the shallot, garlic, soft herbs and capers in a small bowl. Taste and season.
Once the chicken is cooked, transfer to a warm serving plate to rest. Add a good splash of white wine to the frying pan and stir over the heat to release any tasty bits stuck to the bottom. Halve or slice the chicken, then toss in the warm pan juices. Serve drizzled with the salsa verde, with new potatoes and salad.
Scallops with cauliflower and bean purée
This looks impressive but doesn’t take long from kitchen to table. Perfect weekend treat with a large glass of crisp white wine?
INGREDIENTS: 90g cauliflower florets. 125ml skimmed milk. 100ml vegetable stock. Bay leaf. 50g tin cannellini beans, drained and rinsed. Tsp soy sauce. Pinch chilli flakes. Finely grated zest and juice half lemon. 60g fine green beans. 100g (about five) raw scallops.
HOW TO PREPARE: Put the cauliflower in a small pan with the skimmed milk, stock and bay leaf. Bring to the boil, then turn down the heat and simmer for 8-10 minutes until soft. After 5 minutes, add the cannellini beans to warm.
In a small bowl mix the extra-virgin olive oil, soy, chilli and lemon zest and juice with some black pepper. In another pan, cook the green beans in boiling water for 3 minutes, then drain and keep warm.
Once the cauliflower is soft, drain the cauli and beans (reserve the liquid and discard the bay leaf). Put the cauli and beans in a bowl with a good splash of the cooking liquid and, using a stick blender, whizz to a purée, adding more liquid if needed. Season and keep warm.
Heat a non-stick frying pan until hot, then spray with cooking oil spray. Add the scallops, season with salt and pepper and cook for 2 minutes, then turn (in the order you put them in the pan) and cook for 2 minutes more or until just cooked through and lightly browned on both sides. Serve straightaway with the cauliflower purée, green beans and the soy-chilli dressing drizzled over.
Healthy cinnamon French toast
This versatile recipe by Slimming World can be used at breakfast time or as a dessert. Serve with berries and creamy yoghurt.
INGREDIENTS: 1 egg. 30ml skimmed milk. Half tspn sweetener. ¼ tsp ground cinnamon. 2 slices wholemeal bread. Low calorie cooking spray. 30g fat free natural yoghurt. 100g mixed berries.
HOW TO PREPARE: Whisk together the egg, milk, sweetener and ground cinnamon until well combined. Dip each slice of bread into the egg, allowing the bread to soak up the mixture.
Spray a medium non-stick frying pan with low-calorie cooking spray and place over a medium-high heat. Fry the bread for 2-3 minutes on each side, or until golden.
Slice in half diagonally and spoon over the yogurt and berries and dust with a pinch of cinnamon.