Freshers' Week 2016: 4 Cheap and easy vegetarian recipes for students

Ditch the baked beans: Save your pennies while boosting your health and ego

Munisha Lall
Wednesday 28 September 2016 10:17 BST
This just in: it is possible to eat healthily without spending much money as a student
This just in: it is possible to eat healthily without spending much money as a student (Getty)

There is a long-standing tradition which decrees students must live off an unappetising cocktail of baked beans, pot noodles and questionable ready meals.

But with the arrival of the new university term, trying your hand at some meat-free recipes might well be the answer to your financial and health-related woes.

Being a vegetarian at university needn't be expensive and difficult. The following dishes are colourful and versatile, can be made to last several days, and should hopefully debunk the myth that students can’t dine finely à la vegetarian.

Tomato and mozzarella tart

(Getty (Getty)

AVERAGE COST: £6.95 for three servings

The fruity tomato topping and crisp pastry base make this Mediterranean-inspired tart a lovely, easy dinner-time solution for students. What’s great about this recipe is that it makes three portions and can be refrigerated, which will save time on cooking during the week.


• Jus Rol puff pastry sheet 320g

• 4 plum tomatoes, sliced

• Italian mozzarella 150g, diced

• Baby leaf spinach 60g, stems removed and chopped

• Green pesto 190g

• 1 free range egg, beaten

• Virgin olive oil


1. Preheat oven to 200°c, and evenly grease a small oven tray with virgin olive oil. Remove the Jus Rol puff pastry sheet from the greaseproof paper and place on the oven tray. Place in the oven for ten minutes.

2. Whilst the pastry semi-bakes, thinly slice the plum tomatoes, dice the mozzarella. and chop the spinach.

3. Remove tray from the oven and spread green pesto evenly on the pastry. Scatter the spinach, and then place the tomatoes in three rows running down the pastry. Evenly distribute the mozzarella before brushing one beaten egg on the tart and seasoning with oregano.

4. Place in the oven for about 20 minutes, or until the pastry has become a gorgeous brown light brown colour at the edges. Serves three.

5 Minute 1 Pan Chickpea Curry

(Getty (Getty)

AVERAGE COST: £2.50 for one serving

Save on washing-up with a chickpea curry designed for cooking novices. Basmati rice is best served with this fragrant, Indian-inspired dish, which will have your basic student kitchen bursting with gorgeous, spicy aromas.


• Can of chickpeas

• Can of chopped tomatoes

• Extra virgin olive oil

• 1 diced onion

• 1 microwave rice packet

• 1 tablespoon of curry powder


1. Fry the onion in extra virgin olive oil until its soft and golden

2. Drain the chickpeas and chopped tomato, and this into the same frying pan

3. Sprinkle in the curry powder and gentle mix the dish together, and then leave it to simmer for 5 minutes.

4. In the meantime, microwave the rice. Serve the rice and chickpea curry together.

No Oven Simple Ratatouille

(Getty (Getty)

AVERAGE COST: £5.50 for one serving

As the name suggests, this easy ratatouille dish is packed with wholesome vegetables and requires little input. It tastes great with couscous, and a little bit of feta cheese crumbled on top.


• Can of diced tomatoes

• One courgette

• One aubergine

• 4 portobello mushrooms

• One onion

• One garlic clove


• Couscous (to serve)

• Feta cheese (as topping)


1. For the tomato sauce: chop up the onion and fry until golden brown, then add a clove of garlic (crushed or finely chopped). Once these are soft and translucent, add a can of diced tomatoes. Season with a teaspoon of sugar, and salt and pepper, and gentle mix and leave to simmer for about 30 minutes (at which point turn down the heat a bit).

2. For the vegetables: heat up a pan with a good dose of extra virgin olive oil. Chop up the mushrooms, aubergine, and courgette and add these to the pan. Leave until soft, then in add to the tomato sauce and let the ratatouille simmer for 8 to 10 minutes.

3. Crumble feta cheese on top and serve with a portion of couscous.

Hearty Tofu Gnocchi

(Getty (Getty)

AVERAGE COST: £5.80 for 2 servings

Despite its reputation, gnocchi is incredibly simple and quick to cook, and can be made to accompany pretty much any vegetable or sauce, which makes it perfect for impressing friends.


• 2 garlic cloves, minced

• Virgin olive oil

• Fresh gnocchi 500g

• Cauldron Marinated Tofu Pieces 160g

• Tub of tomato & basil pasta sauce 350g

• 5 tablespoons of grated cheddar cheese


1. Add water, the gnocchi, a dash of virgin olive oil and seasoning to taste to a saucepan, and heat for 5 minutes. After which, add the spinach and continue to heat for another minute.

2. In a pan, fry the garlic and tofu until golden brown. Squeeze lemon juice on the fried tofu.

3. Drain the gnocchi and spinach. Mix with the tofu and tomato & basil sauce.

4. Grease a 13×9 inch casserole dish, and lay all the mixture inside. Layer the cheddar cheese on top generously and bake for about 20 minutes. Serves two.

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