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17 Cheap And Healthy Dishes Every Student Should Know

Put down that instant ramen.

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1. An Easy Pasta Dish

The secret to making a good pasta dish is to respect your ingredients. I know this sounds a bit cheffy, but that basically means: Don't throw the kitchen sink in. This super-simple garlic and olive oil recipe is a great place to start.

And then you can graduate onto the roasted cherry tomato dish shown above. Recipe here.

2. Sunday Roast Chicken


A roast chicken is one of the hardest things to mess up. And this recipe uses only three ingredients. (I think you can ignore the twine and roasting rack bit until you get a bit more confident.) There's also zero shame in buying a rotisserie chicken and using that as the focal point of your Sunday roast – whatever works for you.

Hang onto the carcass to use in homemade stock for soups! And save any small pieces of meat for the next point on this list...


4. Nourishing Tarka Daal

If you learn how to make a daal, you will never go hungry again. All you need is onions, lentils, a handful of spices, and some spare time. Make a huge batch of this creamy delight, and freeze the rest for cold days. If you follow the recipe link below, there's an easy method of making rotis too.

Get the recipe here.

5. The Perfect Baked Potato

Never eat a half-raw baked potato from the canteen again. "But I have no oven!" I hear you say. Here's a microwave recipe. "But I have no microwave!" you reply. Here's a slow cooker recipe. If all this still fails you, make friends with someone who has the means, and you supply the potatoes.

Get the oven recipe here.

6. An Easy One-Pan Toastie

Whether you have a toastie machine or not, this recipe works just as well in the Breville as in the pan. Plus you get bonus crispy edges.

Get the recipe here.


7. A Hearty Salad

Not only is this grain and pulse salad cheap (apart from the avocado, but you can leave that out if you want), it's also vegan, super-healthy, and will keep you going through lunch.

Get the recipe here.

8. A Big Pot of Chilli


Chilli is another brilliant big-batch meal. Not least because you can use it again for a shepherd's pie or a spaghetti Bolognese (just go easy on the spice). If you're making a veggie chilli, swap out the mince for Quorn or veggie mince (I think Linda McCartney's one is especially good).

This recipe uses turkey mince, which is tricky to find in UK supermarkets – so you can sub in beef mince no problem. If you have a slow cooker, then this is a good recipe.

9. Easy Overnight Oats

Overnight oats are thrifty, delicious, and take less than three minutes to make. You don't even need to make them the night before – I often stir yoghurt and fruit through oats and then eat it five minutes later. The above recipe has chia seeds in it, which you can leave out if you don't like them.

Get the recipe here.

10. A Big-Batch Winter Soup

Spend a little time making a healthy and filling soup, and reap the rewards. This Tuscan bean soup has enough texture to keep things interesting, and enough flavour to bear repeat eating.

Get the recipe here.


12. The Perfect Steak

Macey J Foronda

If you know what cut to look for, steak doesn't need to be expensive to taste good. My favourite is onglet (also called hanger steak) – and it's one of the cheaper cuts. There's a handy guide to what to look for with cheaper cuts here. You don't need to know how to make a béarnaise sauce either; I think a smidge of Djion mustard is the bee's knees.

Get the recipe here.

13. Hearty Roasted Vegetables

Chuck all the sad vegetables in your fridge into a roasting tray, and do yourself a favour. You can eat these over rice or pasta, or put them into an omelette or even blitz them to make a quick soup.

Get the recipe here.

14. A Veggie Stir Fy

With just three ingredients (soy sauce, lime juice and honey), you can make a healthy, tangy and delicious stir-fry sauce. If you wanted to add some meat or fish, chicken or prawns would also go well with it.

Get the recipe here.

15. Anytime Shakshuka

I'm not going to say "learn how to make a full English", because there is zero chance you a) will be bothered or b) ever have all the ingredients together at the right time. But if you learn how to make this yummy, eggy shakshuka, you can eat it for any meal. And you get to have a fancy brunch recipe up your sleeve.

Get the recipe here.

16. Homemade Fruit and Nut Energy Bars

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Making your own energy bars is surprisingly easy. Don't get bogged down in trying to find all the fancy ingredients. You can sub in other dried fruit for goji berries, and places like Lidl and Aldi are great for low-cost fruit-and-nut packets.

Get the recipe here.