5 simple recipes for students

For many new students, cooking for themselves is a totally new experience. It's no coincidence that the phrase 'student food' usually brings to mind instant noodles and cereal for dinner! But cooking doesn't have to be difficult, expensive or time-consuming, and at the end of a long day on campus there's nothing better than a home cooked meal.

We've put together recipe cards for five simple, versatile meals that you can make easily on a budget - and a blank one so you can start building your own recipe collection! Print them out and keep them in your kitchen so they're right there when you need them.

All these recipes feed four hungry people (if you want to be the most popular person in halls!) but they can be halved easily for smaller portions.

Spaghetti Bolognese


  • 1 onion
  • 2 garlic cloves
  • 1 celery stick
  • 1 carrot
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 250g beef mince
  • 400g tin chopped tomatoes
  • 1 tbsp tomato puree
  • 1 tsp oregano
  • 300g spaghetti
  • grated cheese (to serve)


  1. Finely chop the onion, garlic, carrot and celery
  2. Heat 1 tbsp of the oil in a large saucepan over a medium heat. Add the vegetables and sweat until soft (about 5-10 minutes), then transfer to a bowl
  3. In the same pan, add the remaining oil and the beef mince. Fry until browned, draining off any excess fat
  4. Add the cooked vegetables to the mince, along with the tinned tomatoes, tomato puree, oregano and a pinch of salt and pepper
  5. Bring to a simmer, then cook on a low heat for 45 minutes, stirring regularly. Add a splash of boiling water if the sauce looks a bit dry
  6. 10 minutes before the sauce is ready, cook the spaghetti to packet instructions
  7. Serve with grated cheese or parmesan

Go Vegan: Swap out the beef mince for 200g of red lentils, boiled for 10 minutes and drained, and use a sprinkling of nutritional yeast instead of parmesan

Go Gluten-Free: Many supermarkets now sell gluten-free pasta which you can use instead of spaghetti

Thai Green Curry and Rice (gf)


  • 1 tbsp vegetable or sunflower oil
  • ¼ jar Thai green curry paste (more if you like it spicy)
  • 400g tin coconut milk
  • 1 tsp fish sauce
  • 400g chicken breast, sliced into strips
  • 100g green beans or mangetout
  • 100g baby corn
  • 300g basmati rice
  • lime wedges (to serve)
  • fresh coriander (to serve)


  1. Heat the oil in a large saucepan or wok over a medium-high heat. Add the curry paste and fry for a minute or two, until fragrant
  2. Add the coconut milk and fish sauce and bring to a simmer
  3. In another pan, put the rice on to cook according to packet instructions
  4. Add the chicken strips to the curry sauce, cover the pan and leave to cook for 5 minutes
  5. Add the vegetables and cook for a further 5 minutes
  6. Once the chicken and vegetables are cooked through, serve the curry over rice with lime wedges and coriander to garnish

Go Vegan: Swap the chicken for 400g mixed mushrooms and use a splash of soy sauce instead of fish sauce

Go Healthy: Use light coconut milk and swap the basmati rice for brown (don't forget that brown rice takes longer to cook - you'll need to put this on first!)

Veggie Fajitas (v)


  • 1 red pepper
  • 1 yellow pepper
  • 1 green pepper
  • 200g mushrooms
  • 1 red onion
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 tsp ground cumin
  • 1 tsp ground coriander
  • ½ tsp chili flakes
  • 100g cherry tomatoes, halved

To serve:

  • Flour tortillas
  • Grated cheese
  • Sliced avocado
  • Sour cream


  1. Prepare the vegetables - cut the onions into half moons, the peppers into thin strips and the mushrooms into slices
  2. Heat the oil in a large frying pan on a medium-high heat
  3. Add the vegetables and spices to the pan. Cook for 15-20 minutes or until soft, stirring frequently
  4. Add the cherry tomatoes 5 minutes before the end of cooking time

Serve with tortillas, avocado, sour cream and grated cheese - let everyone build their own!

Go Vegan: Swap the sour cream for houmous and the cheese for a vegan alternative. If you want an extra protein boost, add a tin of drained kidney beans or chickpeas to the vegetable mix

Go Thrifty: This cooked fajita mix can be eaten cold for lunches too - try it with couscous, or in a pitta bread with lots of salad

Leek and Potato Soup (ve) (gf)


  • 1 medium onion
  • 2 leeks
  • 300g white potatoes
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 1.5 litres vegetable stock
  • crusty bread (to serve)


  1. Prepare the vegetables - thinly slice the onion, wash and slice the leeks, and peel and dice the potatoes
  2. Heat the oil in a large saucepan on a medium heat. Add the vegetables and sweat gently until the onions and leeks are soft, about 10 minutes
  3. Add the vegetable stock, season well and bring to a simmer. Cover and cook for 10 minutes, or until the potatoes are soft
  4. If you have an immersion blender you can use it to pulse the soup until it's your desired texture - if not, use a potato masher to break up some of the potatoes to thicken the soup
  5. Serve hot with plenty of crusty bread

Go Indulgent: Swap 250ml of the stock for single cream, and scatter crispy bacon bits on top for a meaty crowd-pleaser

Go Thrifty: This soup will keep well in the fridge for 3-4 days, or it can be frozen for up to a month

Apple Crumble (v)


  • 600g cooking apples (such as Bramley)
  • 2 tbsp golden caster sugar
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • 100g porridge oats
  • 100g plain flour
  • 100g cold butter, cubed
  • 100g golden caster sugar
  • custard or ice cream (to serve)


  1. Preheat the oven to 190C/170 fan/gas 5
  2. Peel and core the apples, then chop into 1cm chunks
  3. In a deep ovenproof dish, toss the apples with the sugar and cinnamon
  4. Put the flour, oats, sugar and butter into a bowl. Rub the butter into the dry ingredients with your fingertips until the mixture looks like coarse breadcrumbs
  5. Pour the crumble mixture evenly over the apples, then press down gently with a fork
  6. Bake for 30-40 minutes or until the crumble is golden and the apples are soft

Go Vegan: Use a dairy-free butter substitute in the crumble topping, and serve with dairy-free ice cream or oat cream

Go Indulgent: Swap 100g of the apples for blackberries or raspberries, or add crushed walnuts to the crumble instead of porridge oats