As full-time students, few have time to slave for hours over the stove. But what does this mean for students who love good food? I mean don’t we all? No stress at all. We’ve scoured the web to find the best easy dinner ideas that are healthy and taste incredible too.
A very common issue that starts is that students can gain weight when they go off to study. This is due to budget constraints, time and convenience, as well as metabolisms slowing down with age and sometimes even due to lack of exercise. Students need to nourish their minds and bodies with healthy fuel to keep up with their busy schedules. We should all be working as a community to promote healthier student living
and easy dinner ideas is just the right answer!
Another fun way to address and create a healthier eating lifestyle is embracing all your fellow roommate’s culture and have each one of you cook your favourite “home-made” meal – one per week, so you’re not only getting to know each other and your different cultures, but everyone is eating as a community. This naturally starts creating purpose within your eating habits at university.
Here are our top five easy dinner ideas that are both healthy and affordable and won’t take longer than 15 minutes to prepare.
1. Thai Green Curry
This recipe is super hot (as in popular and spicy!). With limited ingredients, it’s a top choice for a mouth-watering #MeatFreeMonday.
All you’ll need is sunflower oil, butternut, soy sauce, lime, coriander, red chilli, jasmine rice and spring onion.
- sunflower oil 2 tbsp
- butternut squash 1 medium (about 800g), peeled and cut into bite-sized cubes
- light soy sauce 3 tbsp
- lime 1, wedged to serve
- coriander a handful, roughly torn, to serve
- red chilli 1, deseeded and finely sliced, to serve
- spring onion 1, finely chopped to serve
- Jasmine rice to serve
GREEN CURRY BASE
- lemongrass 1 stalk, bruised
- Thai green curry paste 2 tbsp
- low-fat coconut milk 2 x 400ml tins
- sugar snap peas a handful, halved
- asparagus spears a handful, tough ends removed
- green beans a handful, trimmed
- frozen or fresh edamame beans 2 tbsp
2. Mushroom Soup
Although it might look fancy, this meat-free mushroom soup is extremely simple to make. It’ll definitely pack a flavourful punch though!
- 2 onions
- olive oil
- 1 organic chicken or vegetable stock cube
- ½ a bunch fresh thyme
- 2 cloves of garlic
- 4 large portobello mushrooms
- 100 g basmati rice
- 1 tablespoon single cream
- 1 teaspoon of oil
- 8 mushrooms
- 1 ciabatta loaf
- 1 clove of garlic
- 1 eating apple
- ½ a bunch of fresh curly parsley
- 1 lemon
- 50 g cheese
- 1 small handful of walnuts
- Peel, halve and finely slice the onions and put them into the large pan with 2 tablespoons of olive oil.
- Crumble in the stock cube, add a pinch of sea salt and black pepper, strip in the thyme leaves and squash in 2 unpeeled cloves of garlic through a garlic crusher.
- Clean the mushrooms and place the tops on the griddle pan, turning when charred.
- Tear the chestnut stalks and portobellos into the onion pan, add the rice and cook for a couple of minutes. Pour in 1 litre of boiling water and boil with the lid on.
- Cut 4 slices of ciabatta at an angle and add to the griddle pan. When charred on both sides, rub with a halved garlic clove.
- Coarsely grate or slice the apple into matchsticks and toss with the roughly chopped parsley and a little lemon juice.
- Place the mushrooms on the toasts, crumble over the stilton and walnuts, then pop under the grill until the cheese is melted.
- Use the stick blender to purée the soup to a consistency you like, then season to taste, if needed, and swirl in the cream and truffle oil.
- Top the toasts with pinches of apple and parsley and serve on the side.
3. Sardines and Tomatoes on Toast
Okay, so it’s not exactly a meal that you need to cook. But it’s definitely tasty, nutritious and easy to prepare. Chock-full of essential nutrients, vitamins and minerals (sardines are known to be a popular brain food), it’s sure to go down a treat.
- 2 slices sourdough bread, toasted
- 1 large garlic clove, halved
- 135g can sardine in olive oil
- 130g cherry tomatoes, halved
- handful watercress
- 1 tbsp parsley, roughly chopped
- 1/2 lemon, to serve (optional)
- Rub each piece of toast with the garlic
- In a small bowl, mix the sardines and their oil with the tomatoes and the watercress then season
- Sit half the mixture on each slice of toast, piled high
- Scatter over the parsley and squeeze over the lemon, if you like
4. Summer Pasta
When you’re in the mood for something carbo-licious, look no further than this quirky recipe for a filling, summer pasta. All that you’ll need is some baby tomatoes, mozzarella cheese, fresh basil, garlic, olive oil, black pepper and pasta of your choice. Linguine is the pasta most recommended for this particular sauce, but you can change it up if you want to!
- 1 (16 ounces) package linguini pasta
- 6 Roma (plum) tomatoes, chopped
- 1 pound shredded mozzarella cheese
- ⅓ cup chopped fresh basil
- 6 cloves garlic, minced
- ½ cup olive oil
- ½ teaspoon garlic salt
- ground black pepper to taste
- Combine tomatoes, cheese, basil, garlic, olive oil, garlic salt, and black pepper in a medium bowl. Set aside.
- Meanwhile, cook pasta according to package directions.
- Drain pasta, and transfer to a serving bowl.
- Toss with tomato mixture.
5. Chicken Wraps
These Mexican-inspired chicken wraps are a real treat for the tastebuds. They taste like you’re cheating on your diet, but they’re actually really healthy and filled with plenty of veggies and beans that will enhance digestion and leave you feeling satisfied. Enjoy!
Tex-Mex Ranch Sauce
- 1/3 cup ranch dressing
- 1/3 cup mild or medium salsa
- 1 Tablespoon reduced-sodium taco seasoning
- 6 Flour tortillas (10-inch)
- 6 Romaine lettuce leaves
- 2 medium-large tomatoes, sliced into 12 slices
- 1/2 cup frozen sweet corn kernels – thawed
- 1/2 cup black beans — rinsed and drained
- 1 lb crispy chicken tenders — cooked according to package directions and chopped
- 1 cup shredded cheddar cheese
- Prepare your Tex-Mex Ranch Sauce by whisking together ranch dressing, salsa, and taco seasoning in a small bowl until completely combined. Set aside.
- Warm your wraps in the microwave briefly (about 15-20 seconds) and lay each out on a clean work surface.
- Spread about 1 Tablespoon of Tex-Mex Ranch Sauce in the bottom centre of the tortilla (leaving about 2 inches of space around the edges of the tortilla).
- Top with 1 leaf of lettuce, then two slices of tomato.
- Sprinkle about 1 Tablespoon of corn and 1 Tablespoon of beans over the tomatoes (try to keep everything building up on top of the lettuce — it will make it easier to wrap the finished product) and then top with a handful of chicken (about 1/3 cup).
- Sprinkle shredded cheddar cheese on top (about 2-3 Tablespoons) and evenly drizzle remaining ranch sauce on top of chicken /cheese.
- Fold the left and right sides of each wrap inwards and then roll into a wrap.
Easy dinner ideas are “easy” for a reason – They don’t need to be unhealthy, hard to make and expensive.
The Campus is more than just student accommodation, we are a community that thinks of a student’s challenges, needs and how best we can make your living space a home! Should you not be in the mood to cook, we also have a food kiosk and canteen with coffee shoppe serving only the best for our valued students.
No more wondering what to make for lunch or dinner. By sparing just 15 minutes of your day, you’ll be able to savour a delightful meal every day of the week. Bon Appetit!