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3 Simple, Cheap, and Delicious Vegetarian Recipes - Great For Students

Updated on October 16, 2019
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The owner of a perpetually hungry stomach, Phil lives in the food capital of China, Chengdu, but enjoys cooking food from all over the world

Simple and Budget Friendly

You don't have to be a student to enjoy these recipes. These budget-friendly recipes are simple to cook and won't take up too much of your precious time.

The student lifestyle can be a busy (and surprisingly expensive) one, and so it's not unusual for many students to be eating baked beans on a regular basis. However, if you're determined to be eating some decent food as a student (and not just when you go home for the holidays) and don't mind doing some 'actual' cooking then there are plenty of options which are not too expensive and don't take too much time to prepare and cook. Although many of these recipes use meat, which means there are two major down sides:

1. Meat is often the most expensive ingredient

2. Obviously not suitable for the vegetarians among you

So the following are a few suggestions of relatively easy recipes which ARE suitable for vegetarians. But just because they are listed as suitable for vegetarians it does not mean that only a vegetarian should eat them. Vegetarian food is not sub-standard food, it can be great food and suitable for anyone as a part of a balanced diet, plus having a few meat-free nights a week will help save you a fair few extra pennies, which is never a bad thing, especially when you're a student!

And like I said before, these recipes really are for anyone, not just students or vegetarians. They have many advantages so don't be afraid to try them out.

Vegetable Curry


  • 1 onion
  • 1 garlic clove
  • 30ml curry paste (2 tablespoons)
  • 200g chopped tomatoes
  • 1500g mixed vegetables
    (Use whatever you want, some examples: peppers, green beans, carrots, courgettes...)
  • 400g coconut milk

Prep - 5 minutes

  1. Chop onion and mixed vegetables (if you didn't buy a bag of mixed chopped vegetables)
  2. Crush garlic clove

Instructions - 20 minutes

  1. Pour oil into a large saucepan and heat
  2. Add garlic and onion - fry for 2 minutes
  3. Add curry paste and stir for 1 minute
  4. Add mixed vegetables - fry for approx. 3 minutes - stirring intermittently
  5. Add coconut and tomatoes and stir
  6. Bring to boil - then turn heat down and allow to simmer for approx. 15 minutes
  7. Serve - goes well with rice

Vegetable Risotto


  • 1 carrot
  • 1 onion
  • 1 red or green pepper
  • 30ml olive oil (2 tablespoons)
  • 115g risotto rice
  • 400g chopped tomatoes (buy chopped or chop them yourself)
  • Dried basil
  • 375ml vegetable stock
  • Cheddar cheese
  • Salt and pepper

Prep - 5 minutes

  1. Chop the vegetables (onion, carrot, pepper[you may wish to dice the pepper instead])
  2. Chop the tomatoes if you haven't already or if you didn't buy them chopped
  3. Grate the cheese (about a handful)

Instructions - 35 minutes

  1. Pour olive oil into a large saucepan.
  2. Add vegetables (onion, carrot, pepper) and fry for about 5 minutes. Remember to stir!
  3. Add rice. Keep frying for another 2 minutes or so. Keep stirring!
  4. Add tomatoes and pinch of basil.
  5. Gradually add hot stock, a little bit at a time. Keep stirring the whole time and wait for the stock to be absorbed by the rice before adding more.
  6. Season with salt and pepper.
  7. Continue to cook for about 15 minutes until the rice cooked, but don't over do it.
  8. Once sprinkle cheese on top (if you wish) and serve



  • 1 cup red lentils
  • 1 onion
  • 1 garlic clove
  • 2 tablespoons curry powder
  • 1 vegetable stock cube
  • 500ml water

Prep - 5 minutes

  1. Chop onion
  2. Boil water

Instructions - 35 minutes

  1. Throw it all in (all the ingredients - nothing else)
  2. Stir intermittently whilst bringing to boil
  3. When boiling, lower heat
  4. Simmer for 25 - 30 minutes and stir often
  5. You could add seasoning if you wished


There are loads more recipes out there, so there's no reason to resort to eating the same thing every day. If you're stuck for ideas find yourself a good student cookbook, there are even some specifically for vegetarians. You don't have to survive on beans and a bag of nuts every day when you're student, and if you're really concerned about saving money, not only will not buying meat all the time help out, but perhaps consider only going out 6 nights a week instead of 7...

A Few Suggestions

Highly Recommended

And if you're still struggling for ideas, then this one comes highly recommended from a vegetarian friend of mine.

The main comes in the form of an omelette with the following ingredients:

  • 3 eggs
  • Cheese
  • Potato
  • Onion
  • With baked beans
  • Season with ground pepper
  • And a mixed salad side

Thanks to Jan for this great suggestion.

This content is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and is not meant to substitute for formal and individualized advice from a qualified professional.

© 2010 Phil Hobbs


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