Cooking at university is the first major adult responsibility students come across. You’re responsible for all your own meals, whether you cook them yourselves at not. For a lot of students, university is a great way to actually learn how to cook! If that’s the case, though, it’s probably better to start off with some quick and easy meals before you go for those Michelin stars.
In this article, I’ll be showing you my 10 favourite recipes that I personally use while at university. Even if you don’t like the recipes I’ve linked, the websites I’ll talk about have so many more options, so you’ll definitely find one that you like!
1. Chicken curry
Chicken curry is a classic meal and loved by students (including myself)! It’s easy to cook and covers all of your essential food groups. You can also change the level of spice to suit your taste!
I’d recommend this recipe by The Student Food Project. It serves 1 person and takes 20 minutes to make, so it’s a healthy and reliable option with minimal food waste.
The only downside is that it is a bit pricey, because ingredients like rice are expensive. In total, this meal might cost you around £10. However, if you buy more ingredients and make more to eat later, you can save some money.
If you want to discover some tips on how you can save money effectively, check out this article from Think Student.
2. Grilled sandwiches
While they aren’t the fanciest or tastiest meals around, grilled sandwiches are cheap, filling, and easy to make if you’re short on time. Grilled sandwiches definitely got my friends and I through our first term.
There’s no one recipe for a grilled sandwich, but all you’ll need is a loaf of bread, some butter, and the filling of your choice. To grill the sandwich, butter the bread on the outside and grill it in a hot pan! They might not be the most nutritious, but they are certainly viable.
Grilled sandwiches are super cheap – the most expensive things you’ll need are a loaf of bread and a block of butter. The good thing is you can use both of those things over the course of the week. In total, it shouldn’t cost you more than £5 for a week’s worth!
3. Stir-fry noodles
Noodles are personally one of my favourite student meals. They taste great and can be changed to suit almost any dietary requirement – I personally cook gluten-free noodles! They’re also a great group meal, if you’re cooking with friends.
A recipe I like is one of Jamie Oliver’s, which I’ve linked here. These noodles are veggie, but you can pick and swap the ingredients you want, which is one of the reasons I like this recipe so much!
Not only that, but this recipe truly is quick, easy and cheap. It only takes 30 minutes and serves 4 people, which means you can cook in a group and save time or save portions for later! As well as this, it only costs around £3 per serving, which is really cost-effective for such a nutritious meal.
4. One-pan spaghetti
One of the recipes I turn to the most is the one-pan spaghetti recipe by BBC Goodfood, linked here. The website has a video tutorial, so you can directly follow along, which is really helpful!
It only takes about 15 minutes to make, so it’s an easy and tasty meal if you’re on a time limit. It’s also meat-free, so it suits a wider range of dietary requirements than other options. I’d recommend trying it out for sure!
5. BBC’s budget meal plan for one
In BBC’s meal plan for one, you can cook 7 meals for £10. I haven’t personally tried this, but I know friends who have. They’ve said it’s been super helpful when you don’t have time to meal prep!
All the meals in this plan only serve 1 person. It includes classics like roast chicken dinner and mac ‘n’ cheese! Even for picky eaters, there are some great choices!
6. Hello Fresh meal plans
Talking of meal plans, you’ve probably heard of Hello Fresh. On their website, linked here, you can order boxes of fresh ingredients, pre-portioned and with a recipe!
You can customise these boxes to suit your tastes, and they include vegetarian and pescatarian options. With their plans, you can receive up to 5 recipes a week, which is great as a busy student. They also do discounts quite frequently, so if you need to save some money, definitely consider it!
7. Toasted salmon burritos
I found this recipe way before university, but I’ve been cooking it a lot since I’ve started! Taste’s toasted salmon burrito recipe is a healthy and filling meal.
The recipe they provide takes about 20 minutes to cook and serves 6. Because of the large serving size, it costs a bit more than other meals at around £16 for all the ingredients. However, this is only £2.60 per serving. It’s a lot cheaper than chain sandwiches!
There are around 560 calories per serving, but each burrito is packed with nutrition. As a tasty healthy meal option, these burritos are worth the time and effort!
8. Caponata pasta
Another pasta recipe from BBC Goodfood, I know! This time it’s a red sauce caponata pasta recipe. Trust me, you will thank me for this!
It takes only 20 minutes to cook and serves 4 people, so it’s another great recipe to cook with friends or save more for later. You can also very easily simplify this recipe (as it is slightly more complex than basic student cooking), if you just want a good red sauce pasta recipe.
It costs around £7 in total for all the ingredients, but for 4 days’ worth of meals, it’s not a bad price at all.
9. Chili con carne
This recipe comes from Save the Student, so you know it’s for students. It takes longer than most recipes in this list at 40 minutes, but it’s only 75p per serving, and serves 4 people.
You can adjust the spice levels to suit your tastes (which my friends and I do quite frequently). This is definitely a reliable recipe I’ve found myself using several times during term.
Another chili con carne recipe I like is from The Student Food Project, although this takes longer to prepare and costs slightly more. Personally, I’d recommend the Save The Student recipe more.
It doesn’t matter if it isn’t Shrove Tuesday – pancakes taste good any day! The recipe I use for cooking pancakes at university is from the delicious. website.
These pancakes are super cheap and easy to make; they cost only 13p per serving and serves 8 people. These are regular lemon and sugar pancakes, but of course you can add toppings of your choice.
If you want to cook something a little healthier, to help you power through all of those lectures, check out this article from Think Student for some more ideas.