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cooking for one: looking for inspiration

cauliflowerThis is my typical meal right now, rice with some sort of vegetable. Sometimes I throw in some tofu or tempeh, but it is far from a given.

The thing is, I’ve been on my own for a week now, as Tom is in London for work. I get to go visit him next week (Sidenote: Shoot me any London must-eats!), but then he’s off to Kathmandu for FIVE MORE WEEKS! Having lived with him for 16 years, I’m not really in the habit of cooking for one. I was thinking back to when I last lived alone, my first semester going back to school, eating a lot of Gardenburgers and cous cous. Snore, right?

It’s not that I don’t think I’m worth the effort. I’ll marinate overnight or even bust out the finishing salts for myself, but without a cooking and eating partner, it’s hard to justify multiple pots and pans, not to mention spending a ton of time on a single meal.

Also, I’m trying to avoid packaged foods. Don’t ask me why I decided to do this now (maybe trying to save money for the trip to London I can’t afford), but I’m not buying fake meats or anything more processed than pasta.

So I’ve been making big pots of rice, and using them for the next few meals. Some nights it’s a bunch of stuff: mushrooms, asparagus, peppers, onion, garlic, and baked tofu with jasmine rice. Other nights, like last night, it’s just marinated cauliflower with black rice. And yes, I have had popcorn for dinner. With chocolate chips. Don’t judge.

Maybe bulk cooking is the way to go. A big pan of lasagne or mac-n-cheese, stuffing, marinated tempeh for quick tacos, soup…

Any suggestions? What are some of your favorite dishes when you’re cooking for one? Help me!

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6 thoughts on “cooking for one: looking for inspiration

  1. um. ahem. tacos. You just need some beans, avo, lettuce, sprouts, salsa… whatever your taco-lovin heart desires. Maybe throw some potatoes in there. The individual ingredients last for days, and it takes under 10 minutes to throw them together.

    If you need company, I can be there in 10.

    • I always make my salsa on the spot, so that adds 10 minutes or so. I suppose I could make extra or–cough–buy the premade Trader Joe’s pico.

      That reminds me, though, I have a bag o’ black beans I keep meaning to cook up. I usually have cooked beans in my freezer, but I’m fresh out.

  2. Have a wonderful time in London! I’m so jealous (I’m in the USA at the moment). Eat at Manna (my fave). It’s a bit of a hike (in Primrose Hill) but it’s worth it. If you can’t get there, try Mildred’s in Soho (always fun), or even Tibits. If you will be there on a Sunday, hightail it to Spitalfields and the Brick Lane upmarket and try all of the various vegan Ethiopian stalls. Amazing and so cheap! And if you like raw ice cream, try Inspiral Lounge in Camden. It has good food too, and it’s near Cookies & Scream stall in the Camden market.

  3. I usually cook up a pot of something along the lines of curry or chili that I can vary the sides with, add to on the next day or freeze portions easily if I’ve made too much and am going to get tired of eating it for several days. For example, I made a big spicy squash stew and ate it the first day as it was, then next day added some beans, served with noodles and stirred in peanut butter, next day I blended it into a soup, with added cashews for creamyness, put some fried onions in there…

    Hope you have a fab time in London! How long are you visiting for?

    • So multitasking seems the way to go. Trying really hard to avoid the boredom and keep introducing the fall produce as it comes. I’ve eaten probably four types of squash in the past week!

      I’ll be in London 5 days — long enough to try all the vegan fish & chips.

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