Student Communications Ambassador Becky Spicer shares five delicious student recipes for you to perfect – plus foodie tips and resources.
Cooking healthy and delicious meals at university is not as daunting as it might sound. We’ve all heard of the person who survived university on pot noodles or beans on toast alone. We’ve also all heard of the person who doesn’t know where their money went but enjoyed takeaways often.
Of course, your degree will be important to you and require long hours of study. But the way you manage your time and sense of wellbeing will be equally important if you're living away from home for the first time. Here are some top tips for cooking at university. I’ve also included five recipes for easy, delicious student meals – whether you’re vegan, vegetarian, or a meat-eater. Enjoy!
Chilli con carne
Chilli is a staple for many at university. Super easy to make, it's also great at warming you up in the winter, after the cool bus ride home from uni. Check out this beginner-friendly chilli recipe from BBC Good Food. This recipe serves four people.
Mediterranean puff pastry tart
This recipe is veggie and easy to make. It's a great summer supper, and works on those evenings when you don't have much time. It also doesn’t need too much in the way of ingredients – you can follow a recipe or just use any veg you have in your fridge.
You could make your own pastry, but shop-bought will be less time-consuming. Check out this simple Tom Kerridge recipe for a vegetable-packed pastry and tomato tart.
Forget spaghetti bolognese. Served without cheese, this recipe is vegan and a good source of protein. Try serving your lentil ragu with wholegrain spaghetti for extra health benefits and protein.
Have a look at this recipe by BBC Good Food. It's simple and delicious. Plus, it counts as four of your five a day. As a meat-eater, I genuinely look forward to putting this on the table!
Meatballs and pasta
Plenty of students buy pre-made meatballs, but it's not too difficult to make your own. Meatballs are a great option for any meat eaters but there are also vegan options. Why not try this recipe for vegan meatballs from BBC Food?
For meat-eaters, this recipe by Jamie Oliver is delicious yet easy to follow. The flavours of this tomato-based sauce really make this a meal to impress your new housemates with!
Butter bean and squash crumble
This recipe takes a little longer to make but it's vegan, delicious, and keeps well in the freezer. Butternut squash is in season from September to December in the UK, which makes this a perfect, healthy and warming winter dish.
This recipe is from BBC Good Food. You'll need a food processor to blend the breadcrumbs. This recipe contains high fibre and iron content and includes four of your five a day.
Cooking on a budget
At university, you'll probably be relying on student finance for money. This means being careful how much you spend between each loan payment to your account. Here are some tips for cooking on a budget whilst at university.
Set a budget
This is easily overlooked. It's tempting to pile the alcohol and ping-meals into your basket when you first receive some of your loan. However, if you take some time to work out a budget, you’ll avoid reaching into overdrafts or savings close to the end of each semester.
Shop at lower prices
Try shopping for supermarket own brand ingredients – the cheapest are usually on the bottom shelf. If you can live without your favourite brand of ketchup (surprisingly controversial!) you may save some money switching to a supermarket’s own brand.
Batch cooking can save you time at a later date and it usually works out cheaper in the long run. The chilli and squash recipes mentioned above are examples of meals you can batch cook.
Cook the meal for the amount of people the recipe says it will serve. Let the leftovers cool, place each portion in a freezer bag and then into the freezer.
Got a seminar booked in for 6.00pm-7.00pm? You can leave a portion to defrost in the morning and simply heat it up when you arrive home.
Ingredients to keep in your cupboard
Here's a list of the top ingredients I recommend you keep in your cupboard throughout your time at university. This list doesn't include fresh food, such as milk or fruit.
- Chopped tomatoes
- Tomato puree
- Tinned sweetcorn/peas
- Tinned soup
- Olive oil
- Salt and pepper
- Kidney beans in sauce
- Herbs: basil, oregano, Italian style seasoning and chilli flakes
- Vegetarian NOSH for Students: A Fun Student Cookbook
- 15 Minute Vegan: Fast, modern vegan cooking
- NOSH for Students: A Fun Student Cookbook (includes meat-based meals)
BBC Good Food
Most of these recipes are from BBC Good Food, and I’ve yet to try a recipe from their site that I don’t like. Check out their website for new recipes! You can even download the BBC Good Food app and save the recipes you want to cook later.
Celebrity chef websites
Celebrity chefs usually post some recipes online, which can be great if you’re saving money and can't yet buy their cookbook.
Instagram can be helpful to find new recipes from influencers or food bloggers for free. There are also lots of blogs dedicated to food on the internet. Whether vegan, gluten-free or promoting gut health, most food blogs have a niche and it’s helpful to match your dietary needs with the blogs you subscribe to or follow.
Ready, steady, cook!
Above all, university is a chance to become more independent. You're constantly learning – and not only during your lectures and seminars. Enjoy the experience of enhancing your cooking skills and trying new recipes. If it doesn’t go to plan, remember: practice makes perfect!
Nothing will quite beat home cooking, but cooking for yourself brings a feeling of achievement. Have fun, try new recipes, and care for your body.
Disclaimer: The Bath Spa blog is a platform for individual voices and views from the University's community. Any views or opinions represented in individual posts are personal, belonging solely to the author of that post, and do not represent the views of other Bath Spa staff, or Bath Spa University as an institution.
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