Surviving as a university student can be tough. Millions of students struggle to eat healthy meals that are also inexpensive. The good news is that there are a ton of recipes for students to try if they want to save money and eat healthily.
We list a handful of easy recipes and as you become more confident in the kitchen you can expand your repertoire or recipes.
Omelettes are an excellent choice for anyone who needs a filling meal. Not only do eggs taste great, but this option is also healthy and inexpensive. Most people customise an omelette to suit their tastes.
Adding inexpensive ingredients can make a huge difference in the flavor. Many people enjoy cheese on their omelette. Adding ingredients such as onions or mushrooms can also make the dish much tastier.
- 3 Eggs
- 50 Grams of Cheese
- 20 Grams of Mushrooms
- 10 Grams of Onions
- Heat the oil in a frying pan and fry the onion gently until it is cooked.
- Beat the eggs, add dessert spoon of water / milk, salt and pepper and pour into the pan over the onion.
- Spread the mixture around the frying pan and cook until the eggs are set and come away from the edge of the frying pan.
- Turn the omelette carefully to cook on the other side.
A baked potato is a staple among students who are eating on a budget. There are multiple advantages to cooking baked potatoes. Not only can these options taste great with added ingredients, but students can cook many potatoes at the same time.
Toppings can be as simple as adding butter or sour cream to their baked potato or add bacon or chives. All of these options are excellent choices. For the cheapest way to make a baked potato, it is best to use only a few ingredients. For the number of calories and nutrients in the meals, baked potatoes are one of the best choices for students on a budget.
- 1 Potato
- 20 Grams of Butter or your own topping
- Dash of Salt
- Pre-heat the oven to 220°C / 425°F / Gas Mark 7.
- Wash the potatoes, then prick them all over with a fork, or a slice with knife into centre.
- Bake in a pre-heated oven for 1 1/2 hours or until the inside is tender.
- For the microwave method, follow the instructions given in the manual.
Beans and Toast
Beans and toast are staples, not only do these items taste great together, but there are also numerous nutrients.
The choice is entirely yours on how you want to put your beans on toast together. If you fancy getting a little posher try a beans and cheese toastie, but beware those little beans are like boiling lava if you don’t give them a bit of time to cool down.
There is no doubt that Heinz baked beans are the pinnacle in the baked beans world, but if you are watching the pennies and buying own brand baked beans, try adding a squirt of ketchup into the beans which creates a richer tomato taste … almost as good as Heinz.
Spaghetti or any pasta is another excellent choice for students who need a lot of calories quickly. Spaghetti is simple to make, but it can be enhanced with added ingredients.
The key thing is to avoid overcooking the pasta. Pasta is very versatile and in my student days it was a staple and can be as simple as you like. Drain the pasta, a knob of butter and stir in some grated cheese. My tip if using a pasta sauce is to simmer it for a few minutes first to break down the acid of the tomatoes which you can then top or stir into your pasta.
- 450g mince – I find that the Aldi 12% fat mince is perfect blend
- 1 tin of tomatoes
- 1 red pepper sliced
- 1 onion finely chopped
- 1 beef, chicken or vegetable stock cube, softened in 270ml hot water
- Bolognese sauce
- 225g spaghetti
- Add a little oil to pan and fry the onions, red pepper, you can also add some garlic and chilli at this point if you fancy. Once sweated add the mince and brown.
- If you have some wine about, you can deglaze the pan now with some wine, if not add your stock, tin of tomatoes, simmer for 10 minutes.
- Add jar of bolognese suace, spicy tomato is also lovely and simmer again for 10 – 15 minutes.
- If you used spaghetti then spoon your sauce over the spaghetti, if you used pasta shells or penne, then add to your sauce and stir though before serving.
Homemade lasagne is not a typical meal for a uni student. Not only is lasagne tasty, but it can also be turned into various meals. The ingredients list for this meal is much longer than others. However, with the right preparation, this is an excellent choice for anyone who wants to eat cheap and healthily. Most students can make dinner for a week or more with this lasagne recipe.
- 450 Grams of Lamb or Beef mince
- 1 Onion
- 1 Green Pepper
- 8 Mushrooms
- 1 Chopped Tomato
- 1 Clove of Garlic
- Cheese sauce : 25g margarine, 25g flour, 3/4 pt Milk, 50g low fat grated cheese.
- 10 Lasagne Sheets
Note: You could use a bechamel packet / jar sauce or cheese sauce.
- Pre-heat the oven to 180°C / 350°F / Gas Mark 4.
- To make meat sauce: Chop onions, peppers, mushrooms and garlic. Put mince into a large pan and fry until completely brown, stirring all the time with a wooden spoon. Add onions and garlic to mince and cook for 3-4 minutes. Add chopped peppers, chopped mushrooms, tin of tomatoes and tomato sauce to the mince mixture. Bring to the boil and leave to simmer on a low heat for 15-20 minutes.
- To make the cheese sauce: Melt the margarine in a saucepan. Add the flour and cook over a low heat for 1 minute, stirring all the time. Remove from the heat and cool slightly. Add the milk, salt and pepper stirring all the time.
- Return to the heat and bring to the boil. Keep stirring. Add cheese. Reduce heat and cook slowly for 5 minutes.
- Put layer of meat sauce in the bottom of casserole dish, cover with easi-cook lasagne sheets. Make 1 or 2 more layers as above finishing with a layer of lasagne sheets. Cover with cheese sauce. Sprinkle with remainder of cheese and bake for 30 to 40 minutes.
Yes, cookies are staple snacks at uni and the ideal pick me up when cramming at night. Cheap and easy to make, better value then buying them.
- 100 Grams of Butter
- 100 Grams of Sugar
- 150 Grams of Self-Raising Flour
- 100 Grams of Chocolate Chunks, smarties, M&Ms … get creative
- Pre heat oven to 180-200 degrees
- Put all the ingredients into a big mixing bowl
- Mix well with a wooden spoon for a good 5-10 minutes until it starts to form a dough then use your hands to kneed the dough into a big ball.
- Grab a small handful of the tough and roll in the cups of your hands into a ping-pong sized ball.
- Squash the balls between the palms of your hand into a 1cm-1.5cm thick disc.
- Place the cookies on a backing tray and place in the oven for 15 minutes
- Remove and leave to cool on the backing tray for a further 5 minutes
- Leave to cool completely or eat warm!
Quesadillas (Tortilla Toasties)
Quesadillas are essentially toasties that use tortillas instead of bread. Quick, easy and nutritious, they can be made with a variety of fillings and served with a salad or noshed all by themselves. The only thing you need to make sure of is to have a frying pan that will fit the size of tortilla you are using.
The types of ingredients are up to you, ham and cheese, tuna sweetcorn and cheese, chicken salsa peppers and cheese. Don’t overfill or when it comes time to flipping over, all your filling falls out.
Here is the method making chicken and cheese.
- Pre-heat a frying pan over a medium to high heat.
- Take one of the tortillas and lay it on a flat surface. Spread with the salsa and add on the chicken and cheese.
- You could add other veg such as sweetcorn, peppers, etc.
- Add on the other tortilla to top to make a sort-of sandwich and squeeze together.
- Fry on both sides of just 1-2 minutes until brown and crisp
- Cut into quarters and enjoy with some sour cream and guacamole!
Tuna Pasta Bake
This is a staple dish loved by students around the world. Not only does this dish taste great, but it is one of the easiest recipes to make. Although traditional recipes only call for penne and cheese, there are multiple variations to add flavor to this dish.
- 4 standard mugfuls of dried penne or fusilli pasta
- 1 x quantity tomato pasta sauce
- 1 x tin chopped tomatoes
- 2 x 130g tins tuna, drained
- 1-2 large handfuls of Cheddar cheese, grated
Side Note: instead of using tomato based sauce, youu can switch it up with a bechamel sauce or carbonara sauce with a dash of lime juice too.
- Preheat oven to 200°C (180°C fan) mark 6. Bring a large saucepan of water to the boil and cook pasta according to pack instructions.
- Meanwhile, empty the Tomato Sauce and the tin of tomatoes into a separate large saucepan and bring to the boil. Take off the heat and set aside.
- When the pasta is cooked, drain it by pouring the pasta and cooking water through a colander or sieve. Stir the drained pasta into the tomato sauce with the tuna and some seasoning.
- Spoon the mixture into an ovenproof dish or roasting tin. Cook in the oven for 35min or until the cheese is bubbling and golden.
Nachos are universally loved and easy to cook. Not only do nachos provide great flavor, but there are numerous ways to prepare this dish. Adding in just a few ingredients can drastically change the flavor of the chips. Pizza nachos are a unique variation of this dish. Now I am not too sure of the overall nutritional value of this dish, so have some salad with it.
- Tortilla Chips
- 100 Grams of Shredded Cheese
- 25 Grams of Salsa
- 25 Grams of Onions
- 25 Grams of Mushrooms
- Sour Cream (For Dipping)
- Pre-heat the oven to 160 degrees.
- In an oven proof tray, bowl or dish of some kind, add in the tortilla chips.
- Top with spoonfuls of salsa. Add on some cheese.
- Add on your toppings – e.g. pepperoni, peppers, onions, cooked meats, etc.
- Add on a bit more cheese.
- Bake in the oven for a few minutes (really shouldn’t need more than 5) until the cheese has melted.
- Alternatively you can place them in the microwave for a minute or so!
These food choices are easy to make and taste great. Not only that, but all of these choices are inexpensive and great for a tight student budget.