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Quick, Easy and Cheap Meals for Students

June 20, 2023 |

Being a student can be pretty tough, juggling classes, assignments, part-time jobs, and a bustling social life can be difficult. The last thing you want to worry about is what you’re going to eat. 

That’s why we’ve created this definitive guide to quick, easy and cheap meals for students. Be sure to bookmark or share this page with other students so they can too get the right nutrition while at university.

Classic Spaghetti Bolognese

spaghetti Bolognese student recipe

here’s a simple recipe for Spaghetti Bolognese that’s perfect for a student budget:


  • 200 grams of spaghetti
  • 200 grams of ground beef
  • 1 medium onion, finely chopped
  • 2 cloves of garlic, minced
  • 1 can of diced tomatoes (400 grams)
  • 2 tablespoons of olive oil
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • Optional: Grated cheese for topping


  1. Start by boiling a large pot of salted water for the spaghetti. Once it’s boiling, add the spaghetti and cook according to the package instructions until it’s al dente, typically around 10 minutes. Once cooked, drain and set aside.
  2. While the spaghetti is cooking, you can start the Bolognese sauce. In a large skillet or frying pan, heat the olive oil over medium heat. Add the finely chopped onion and minced garlic to the pan. Sauté these until they become soft and translucent, typically around 5 minutes.
  3. Add the ground beef to the pan with the onion and garlic. Break it up with a spoon and cook until it’s browned and no longer pink. This should take about 5-7 minutes.
  4. Pour the can of diced tomatoes into the pan, including the juice. Stir everything together and bring the mixture to a simmer. Let it simmer for around 15 minutes until the sauce thickens. If it gets too thick, you can add a little water. Season with salt and pepper to taste.
  5. Once the sauce is ready, you can either add the spaghetti directly into the pan and toss until it’s coated in the Bolognese sauce, or you can serve the spaghetti onto plates and spoon the Bolognese sauce over the top.
  6. Optional: Sprinkle some grated cheese on top before serving.

Veggie-Stuffed Omelette

Here’s a straightforward recipe for a Veggie-Stuffed Omelette:


  • 2 large eggs
  • 1/4 cup diced bell peppers (any color)
  • 1/4 cup diced onions
  • 1/4 cup diced tomatoes
  • 1/4 cup shredded cheese (cheddar, mozzarella, or your preference)
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • 1 tablespoon of olive oil or butter


  1. Begin by dicing your chosen vegetables. These are just suggestions; feel free to include others like mushrooms, spinach, or zucchini.
  2. Heat up a medium-sized non-stick frying pan over medium heat. Add the olive oil or butter and allow it to melt and coat the pan.
  3. Add your diced vegetables to the pan. Sauté them for about 5 minutes, or until they’re soft and lightly browned. Once they’re cooked, remove them from the pan and set them aside.
  4. In a bowl, crack your eggs and whisk them until the yolks and whites are fully combined. Add a pinch of salt and pepper.
  5. Pour the whisked eggs into the same pan over medium heat. Let the eggs cook undisturbed until they start to set around the edges, about 1-2 minutes.
  6. Once the eggs start to set, sprinkle the sautéed vegetables evenly over one half of the eggs. Do the same with the shredded cheese.
  7. Using a spatula, carefully fold the other half of the omelette over the veggies and cheese.
  8. Continue cooking for another minute or so, then flip the omelette over and cook for another minute until the cheese is melted and the eggs are fully set.
  9. Slide your finished Veggie-Stuffed Omelette onto a plate, and it’s ready to serve.

Tuna Pasta Salad

tuna pasta salad student meal

Here’s a basic recipe for a Tuna Pasta Salad that is both simple and satisfying:


  • 200 grams of pasta (penne, fusilli or farfalle work great)
  • 1 can of tuna in water or oil (drained)
  • 1 medium cucumber, diced
  • 1/2 cup of mayonnaise
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • Optional: 1/4 cup of diced red onion


  1. Cook your pasta according to the package instructions until it is al dente. This usually takes around 10 minutes.
  2. While the pasta is cooking, dice the cucumber and red onion if you’re using it.
  3. Drain the can of tuna well, ensuring to remove as much liquid as possible.
  4. Once your pasta is cooked, drain it and rinse it under cold water to cool it down quickly and stop the cooking process. This also helps to keep the pasta from sticking together.
  5. In a large bowl, combine the cooked and cooled pasta, the drained tuna, diced cucumber, and red onion if using.
  6. Add the mayonnaise to the pasta mixture. Stir everything together until it’s all well-coated in the mayo.
  7. Season your Tuna Pasta Salad with salt and pepper to taste. If you have time, let it chill in the fridge for an hour before serving to let the flavors meld together.

Quick Chicken Stir-Fry

chicken stir fry recipe

Here’s a straightforward recipe for a Quick Chicken Stir-Fry that you can whip up in no time:


  • 2 chicken breasts, thinly sliced
  • 1 bell pepper, thinly sliced (any color)
  • 1 medium onion, thinly sliced
  • 2 tablespoons of soy sauce
  • 2 tablespoons of cooking oil (vegetable, canola, or olive oil)
  • Salt and pepper to taste


  1. Start by slicing the chicken breasts into thin strips. Do the same with the bell pepper and onion. Try to make all the pieces around the same size so they cook evenly.
  2. Heat 1 tablespoon of the oil in a large skillet or wok over medium-high heat. Once the oil is hot, add the chicken strips.
  3. Cook the chicken, stirring occasionally, until it’s fully cooked and no longer pink in the middle. This should take around 5-7 minutes. Once cooked, remove the chicken from the skillet and set it aside.
  4. In the same skillet, add the remaining tablespoon of oil. Add the sliced bell pepper and onion, and cook until they’re tender and slightly browned, which should take about 5 minutes.
  5. Once the vegetables are cooked, add the cooked chicken back to the skillet. Add the soy sauce, and stir everything together so that the chicken and vegetables are well coated in the sauce.
  6. Cook for another 2-3 minutes, stirring occasionally. Season with salt and pepper to taste.
  7. Your Quick Chicken Stir-Fry is now ready to serve. This dish is delicious on its own, or you can serve it over cooked rice or noodles for a complete meal.

This stir-fry is a flexible dish – feel free to mix and match with different vegetables or add a bit of chilli sauce for a kick. 

Loaded Baked Potatoes

loaded baked potato student recipe

Here’s a simple recipe for Loaded Baked Potatoes:


  • 2 large russet potatoes
  • 1 cup shredded cheddar cheese
  • 1/2 cup cooked bacon bits or diced ham (optional)
  • 1/2 cup sour cream
  • 2 green onions, thinly sliced
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • 1 tablespoon of olive oil


  1. Start by thoroughly washing your potatoes and drying them. Then, use a fork to poke several holes in the potatoes. This will allow steam to escape and prevent the potatoes from exploding in the microwave.
  2. Rub the potatoes with the olive oil and sprinkle them with salt. Place them on a microwave-safe dish.
  3. Microwave the potatoes on high for 5 minutes. Then, turn them over and microwave for an additional 3-5 minutes. The cooking time may vary depending on the size of the potatoes and the power of your microwave. The potatoes are done when they’re soft all the way through.
  4. Carefully (they’ll be hot!) slice the potatoes open lengthwise, and use a fork to lightly fluff the inside, creating a well for your toppings.
  5. Sprinkle the shredded cheese into the potatoes. If you’re using bacon or ham, add that too. Return the potatoes to the microwave and heat for another minute, or until the cheese is melted.
  6. Top your Loaded Baked Potatoes with a dollop of sour cream and a sprinkling of green onions. Season with more salt and pepper if needed.

There you have it, Loaded Baked Potatoes in under 15 minutes! This recipe is very customizable, so feel free to add other toppings you like such as cooked broccoli, chili, or salsa.

Bean and Cheese Burritos

bean and cheese burrito recipe

Here’s a simple recipe for Bean and Cheese Burritos:


  • 2 large flour tortillas
  • 1 can of refried beans (about 15 ounces)
  • 1 cup of shredded cheese (cheddar or Monterey Jack are great choices)
  • 1/2 cup of salsa
  • Optional toppings: diced avocado, sour cream, chopped cilantro


  1. Heat the refried beans in a saucepan over medium heat or in the microwave until hot.
  2. Lay the tortillas on a flat surface. Spread half of the hot refried beans down the center of each tortilla.
  3. Sprinkle each with half of the shredded cheese. If the cheese doesn’t melt from the heat of the beans, you can microwave each tortilla for about 20 seconds to melt the cheese.
  4. Top each with half of the salsa, and any other toppings you’re using.
  5. To wrap the burritos, fold in the two sides over the filling, then roll from the bottom up, tucking the bottom edge over the filling as you roll.
  6. Your Bean and Cheese Burritos are ready to eat immediately, or you can grill them on a griddle or in a skillet over medium heat for a few minutes on each side to crisp up the tortilla if you prefer.

Ham and Cheese Quesadillas

Here’s a simple and cheap student recipe for Ham and Cheese Quesadillas:


  • 2 large flour tortillas
  • 1 cup shredded cheddar cheese
  • 4 slices of ham
  • 1 tablespoon of butter


  1. Lay out the flour tortillas. On one half of each tortilla, evenly spread out half the cheese and arrange the ham slices on top of the cheese.
  2. Fold the tortillas in half over the filling to create a half-moon shape.
  3. Heat a skillet over medium heat and melt the butter, coating the bottom of the skillet.
  4. Place one of the folded tortillas in the skillet. Cook until the bottom is golden brown, about 2-3 minutes. Then, using a spatula, carefully flip the quesadilla over and cook until the other side is golden brown and the cheese is melted, another 2-3 minutes.
  5. Repeat the process with the second tortilla.
  6. Remove your Ham and Cheese Quesadillas from the skillet and let them cool for a minute before cutting into wedges. They’re best served hot and melty!

Creamy Garlic Pasta

creamy garlic pasta

here’s a quick and easy recipe for Creamy Garlic Pasta:


  • 200 grams of pasta (like spaghetti or fettuccine)
  • 2 tablespoons of olive oil
  • 4 cloves of garlic, minced
  • 1 cup of heavy cream
  • 1 cup of grated Parmesan cheese
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • Optional: Chopped fresh parsley for garnish


  1. Cook your pasta according to the package instructions until it is al dente. Drain the pasta, reserving about 1/2 cup of the pasta water.
  2. While the pasta is cooking, heat the olive oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Add the minced garlic and cook it gently until it’s fragrant and lightly golden, about 2 minutes.
  3. Add the heavy cream to the skillet, stirring to combine with the garlic. Bring the cream to a simmer and let it cook for about 5 minutes to heat through.
  4. Reduce the heat to low and stir in the grated Parmesan cheese until it’s melted into the cream, creating a smooth sauce. If the sauce is too thick, you can add some of the reserved pasta water a little at a time until you get your desired consistency.
  5. Add the cooked and drained pasta to the skillet and toss until the pasta is fully coated in the sauce. Season with salt and pepper to taste.
  6. Your Creamy Garlic Pasta is now ready to serve! Garnish with a sprinkling of fresh parsley if you like, and enjoy it while it’s hot.

Need storage?

As a student, you may face many problems and learning what to cook while studying and being on a budget is one of them. Another problem you may face is that you may not have much room in your bedroom or apartment for your furniture. If you don’t have enough space, we have good deals on student storage and we would love to help.