Easy Eats – cheap meals for students

5 Cheap Recipes that don’t require you buying much except from the veggie market, proof student budgets don’t mean you have to scrimp on taste!


 BeCS Tomato Soup

Possibly the cheapest recipe ever, in terms of making a lot that will last you a few days

  • 1 bottle passata
  • 1 can diced tomatoes
  • 1tbsp stock powder
  • Water

Tip the passata and tomatoes in a large saucepan or stockpot, then fill the empty tomato can with water and add that too. Add the powder and stir then bring to boil. Add more or less water to taste.

Makes about 1L+ (can be frozen)

Optional variation: boil with a handful of pre-rinsed red lentils to make it extra healthy

Cheap Veggie Soup

This is hugely variable but is also relatively cheap and can take you through the winter

Any of the below 4 mixes:

  • 4 potatoes, bunch of baby spinach/English spinach or half a bunch of silverbeet (with optional milk or cream)
  • 4 potatoes, head of broccoli or cauliflower or mix of both (with optional milk or cream)
  • 1 sweet potato, small pumpkin (Jap, butternut), 1 carrot, (with optional 1tsp minced ginger, 1tsp curry powder/paste, can of coconut milk) OR
  • 6-8 carrots, bunch coriander, pinch cumin, handful of pre-rinsed red lentils
  • With about 4-5 tbsp of stock powder (or 1-1.25L stock)
  • Water to cover veggies

Whether you are making spinach soup, broccoli/cauliflower soup, pumpkin soup, Thai curry pumpkin soup, or carrot, lentil and coriander soup, the method is still the same.

Chop up as many veggies as will fit in your biggest saucepan. If you are vegetarian/want extra fibre and iron, you can add pre-cooked or tinned beans like cannellini to the soups, or a handful of brown or red lentils (rinsed) to the veggies, but if you do, add the lentils to cook with the veg first, and the pre-cooked beans after everything else is cooked. The above fills my regular sized stockpot nicely. Since I use stock powder, I sprinkle the powder over the veg, then add enough water to just cover the veggies. Then I bring to the boil and simmer for 20mins (or until potatoes/carrot are cooked).

Then I would add my beans, plus milk/cream, and spice mix for the last minute to stir together the flavours.

Lastly use your barmix or food processor to whiz it to a puree. Your soups should now be a thick, creamy consistency, but you can always add half a cup of water to thin it a bit.

Makes about 1.5L (6 serves), which you can divide up and freeze as individual portions if you have some containers for 1 – about 400ml is good serving size.

Teriyaki Steak Sandwich

  • 1 small steak chopped into slices
  • 1/2 an onion
  • 2 tbsp teryaki sauce
  • Lettuce
  • Dijon mayonnaise
  • A baguette (or a lightly grilled tortilla)

Sautee the onions in the teryaki sauce and a drop of olive oil
add the steak and cook with the onions and drizzle a little teryaki sauce over the meat for extra flavour
spread the dijon mayonnaise over the baguette and add the lettuce and some black pepper
add the meat and onions and enjoy!

Eggs Ranchero Wrap

  • 1/4 of a small red pepper
  • 1/4 of a small cooking onion
  • 2 eggs
  • Splash of milk
  • 1 large flour tortilla (can be white or whole wheat)
  • An eraser-sized piece of cheddar cheese, grated
  • Salt and pepper, to taste
  • Optional:
  • Half of a small avocado
  • Ketchup
  • Frank’s red hot sauce

1. Set a frying pan over low-medium (closer to medium) heat. While the pan is heating up, finely chop your red pepper and onion. Wait until the pan becomes hot, then add a small glug of olive oil. After the oil has had time to heat up, add the chopped red pepper and olive oil. Make sure to stir occasionally so that the veggies don’t burn.

2. While your pepper and onion are sauteing, crack eggs into a bowl and add a splash of milk. Use a fork to mix it up, scrambled-egg style.

3. When the onions begin to “sweat”, add the egg mixture to the pan. Don’t stir right away; let the egg start to cook around the edges of the pan. Season with salt and fresh cracked pepper.

4. Once you see that the edge of the egg is cooked, push the egg around a little bit, flipping large pieces over as they cook. Some people like their egg more “chopped up”, but i find it works best to try and keep the scrambled egg in larger pieces. It makes it easier to assemble the wrap.

5. When the eggs are cooked through, transfer the cooked egg into the middle of your wrap, but don’t turn off the stove (you still need it!). Sprinkle 2/3 of the grated cheese on top of the egg. Fold in both the sides, then while holding the sides in, roll the wrap up until there is only about an inch of “edge” left. You want to put the rest of your cheese here, then continue rolling. This will help the wrap to stay “rolled” once the cheese melts.

6. Place the wrap into the still-hot frying pan with the exposed edge on the bottom. Allow the bottom of the wrap to brown (usually takes about a minute or so), then roll onto other side and allow to brown.

7. Use a sharp knife to cut the wrap in half for serving. I usually serve with a mixture of ketchup and a splash of frank’s red hot sauce, but salsa works well, too.

Note: if you’re an avocado lover (which i am…), try placing sliced avocado in your wrap for a twist.

For an extra Mexican flavour I would add a small tin of baked bean or red kidney beans to this wrap, yum! – Bec.

Very Awesome Veggie Patties

  • 2 onions
  • 2 cloves garlic
  • 1 large carrot
  • 1 zucchini
  • 1 can brown lentils
  • 2 cans of chickpeas
  • Table spoon olive oil
  • 2 eggs
  • Tumeric powder
  • Oregano
  • Handful of sesame seeds
  • Half cup of walnuts (optional)
  • Handful of pine-nuts (optional)
  • Bread crumbs

This is an awesome recipe and the nuts really make it special but if you’re on a tight budget – you can always leave them out.

Grate the carrot and zucchini, chop up the onions and crush the garlic and leave all of this separate for now.

Wash the cans of lentils and chickpeas and give them a few pulses in the food processer/blender/handheld pulser (don’t make the mixture too mushed up – leave some chunky bits).

Put the walnuts into a plastic bag and smash them up into little pieces and sprinkle them on to a baking trey with the pinenuts (you can use any nuts you like really). Roast them under the grill until they’re golden (watch they don’t burn).

Combine all of the above ingredients along with the 2 eggs, sesame seeds, olive oil and as much tumeric powder as you want. (i always go a bit crazy and add other stuff too – taco seasoning is a good one – any herbs and spices you fancy along with some salt and pepper).

Make sure it’s all mixed together well. On a separate plate – have some bread crumbs ready to coat your patties. Take a handful and squish into balls, coat in bread crumbs and place them into a new tray.

You should get around 15 – 20 burgers depending on how big you make them and once cooked, you can put them in the freezer.

Make sure you leave them in the fridge for at least 5 hours so they don’t fall apart when you cook them. Make sure the pan is really hot when you do cook them and there is enough oil. They always turn out pretty sweet though, even if they do fall apart….

These last 3 recipes come from a really useful website called StudentRecipes.com, which at the top of the page divides recipes by style – for one, for vegetarian etc, but also by key ingredient. Check it out!

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