Next Week's Meal Plan

A Week of Cheap, Healthy, Simple Dinners for One

updated Sep 26, 2019
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Credit: From Left to Right: Joe Lingeman; Emily Han; Joe Lingeman; Joe Lingeman; Ghazalle Badiozamoni

Welcome to Next Week’s Meal Plan! Meal planning isn’t always easy — especially if you’re just getting started. But I’m a firm believer that it’s the secret to stress-free weeknight dinners. I want to help you find inspiration and ease some of the pain points that come with getting dinner on the table night after night, whether you’re cooking for one or a family of eight. Every week, I’ll be sharing a new meal plan solution specifically customized for you from reader requests or from a guest contributor.

This week’s meal plan answers a call we’ve heard in our Meal Plan Club Facebook Group over and over — one for flavorful, healthy, and affordable recipes that won’t leave single people with mountains of leftovers. So here it is: A week of meals for one that are simple to make. We’ve planned out crossover ingredients to cut back on waste and go easy on the budget.

Credit: Joe Lingeman

Monday: Pesto Zoodle Bowl

You’ll save the most by buying whole zucchini and doing the spiraling yourself, but the pre-cut and frozen versions are pretty affordable too. The pesto will come back on Friday as well, but still, get the smallest container you can find or make your own to avoid waste.

Get the recipe: Pesto Zoodle Bowl 

Credit: Emily Han

Tuesday: Stuffed Sweet Potato with Beans and Greens

This is possibly one of my favorite solo dinners: It’s hearty and delicious. You can easily swap this meal for Thursday’s beans on toast if you don’t have time to bake the sweet potato and make the bean salad in one evening.

Credit: Joe Lingeman

Wednesday: Roasted Tomatoes and Mushrooms over Polenta

Buy just a cup of polenta from the bulk section and then spend your money on lots of meaty mushrooms for this dinner bowl. The roasted vegetables make excellent leftovers if you need a lunch for tomorrow.

Get the recipe: Sheet Pan Roasted Tomatoes and Mushrooms over Polenta

Credit: Joe Lingeman

Thursday: Marinated White Beans on Toast

The bean salad you made on Tuesday will taste even better over toast on Thursday after it has marinated. To add some more protein, you can soft-boil an egg to go with it (you should have some left over from Monday’s dinner), but if not, this salad over toast is filling on its own.

Use these leftovers from Tuesday: Marinated White Beans on Toast

Friday: Pesto Pasta Salad

Here’s the idea for Friday: You likely have some leftover bits of zucchini, half a red onion, some tomatoes you didn’t roast, and leftover pesto. Boil a handful of pasta, toss it with the leftovers, and make a very satisfying pasta salad.

Here’s the recipe to riff on: Greek Pasta Salad

New to meal planning? Start here.

Click below to get more tips, insights, and ideas from our Meal Plan Club crew and readers like you.