Eating and indeed cooking for one has always had a bit of a sad connotation attached to it. It implies that you are either a loner, have few friends or ( the horror) you are single – eek! I am not a loner (although I’ll admit to enjoying my own company) have plenty of great friends and family and very happily married, so I actually kinda relish my meals for one when I get the opportunity. It’s a chance for me to experiment and take risks because the only person going to suffer if it doesn’t taste great is me.

Cooking for one can be so much fun if you allow it to be. There’s no reason why you shouldn’t put as much effort into cooking for yourself because (whilst I’m not a fan of L’oreal, I do wholeheartedly agree with their somewhat brainwashing slogan) you are worth it.

Why is it that when it comes to making our own food we are inclined to go for the easy option like opening a tin of  soup or toasting a slice of bread? Not that I don’t do that myself. Canned soups are a mainstay in my cupboard, however, now and again, it’s nice to make something a little more special.

Special doesn’t necessarily have to mean spending an age in the kitchen, chopping, frying, sweating, boiling. No, my ‘special’ lunches must have a preparation time limit of about 20mins – meaning I want to be sitting down and eating within that timeframe. Now, I know to some even 20mins might sound like too much time to invest in lunch for one, but if you think about it, heating up some ready made soup on the hob and making a sandwich to go with easily takes 10-15mins – so what’s five more?

Vermicelli noodles are perfect if you’re in a hurry because they are virtually a no cook food. You simply soak them in boiling water and a few minutes later they are transformed into these gorgeously translucent strands, which go with a multitude of ingredients. Whilst I do like rice vermicelli, I do find the mung bean variety hold their shape and texture much better and don’t disintegrate easily – which also makes them fantastic in noodle soups. Hmmmm, noodle soup……

I’ve previously posted a couple of  lunchtime dishes that are equally quick and painless and super tasty to boot:

Lunchtime Brown Basmati Pilaf

and

Bulgar Wheat Lunch

These are pretty much throw it together style lunches so even if you don’t have the exact ingredients, don’t worry – just use what you have in the fridge, freezer, store cupboard and create your own version. See, cooking for one can be fun, so the next time you reach for that tin of soup why not treat yourself to a properly prepared lunch that can be made (and eaten!) in minutes.

quick noodle salad for one

1 portion of mung bean vermicelli noodles

1 cup mixed beans sprouts (not the chinese stir fry kind)

2 spring onions/scallions

1/4 cucumber

1 tbsp white wine vinegar

1/2 tsp sugar

1 tbsp poppy seeds

wasabi dressing

1/4 tsp wasabi powder

juice 1 lime

1 tbsp sunflower oil

agave nectar

salt

Place the noodles in a bowl and cover with freshly boiled water – set aside.

Peel and core the cucumber and roughly grate. Place in a small shallow bowl and pour over the white wine vinegar. Sprinkle with the sugar, mix thoroughly and set aside.

Mix the wasabi powder with a little water – start with a 1/4 tsp. Stir the powder until it dissolved into the water and a thin paste is formed. Transfer to an empty jar and add the lime juice, oil, salt and a small squeeze of agave – less than 1/4 tsp. Shake vigorously until the dressing emulsifies – set aside.

Finely chop the scallions. Drain the noodles and transfer to a medium sized bowl. Add the beans, scallions, cucumber and give it a mix.

Gradually pour over the dressing adding half a jar first. Give it a thorough mix before adding the remainder of the dressing and the poppy seeds. Make sure all the ingredients are incorporated before serving in a large bowl with a slice of fresh lime.

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