5 cheap and easy student meals

Cheap and easy student meals

Student meals can be tricky. If you don’t have a lot of experience cooking then the thought of preparing meals from scratch can be intimidating. Trying to rustle up big meals on a student budget sometimes feels impossible. Add in that homemade meals take time to prepare, and its no wonder that many student meals come from the local takeaway.

When you haven’t got a lot of money or time, it’s tempting to just get takeaway. But living out of cardboard boxes gets expensive quickly and it isn’t very healthy, either.

That’s why we’ve picked out five recipes that are healthy, delicious, and easy to make. These meals are also student budget-friendly so you don’t have to worry about spending heaps.

These recipes are courtesy of Mob Kitchen, an amazing YouTube channel that creates student budget-friendly meals that feed four people.

Chicken tikka masala


1) Single cream

2) 8 boneless skinless chicken thighs

3) Garam masala

4) Turmeric

5) Ground coriander

6) Chilli powder

7) Plain yoghurt

8) 1 garlic clove

9) 2 brown onions

10) Knob of ginger

11) 400g basmati rice

12) 500ml tomato passata

13) Tomato purée


Preheat oven to 180°C. Place chicken thighs in a bowl. Add a teaspoon of turmeric, 2 teaspoons of chilli powder, 2 teaspoons of ground coriander, 1 teaspoon of garam masala, 4 tablespoons of yoghurt and 1 grated clove of garlic. Season with salt and pepper, add a drizzle of olive oil and mix everything together. Cover and leave to marinate for 30 minutes.

Time to get on with the curry sauce. Slice up 2 brown onions and add to a large pan with a good drizzle of olive oil. Cook on a medium heat until the onions are transparent, then add a finely chopped clove of garlic and a chopped knob of ginger. Mix them in and then add half a teaspoon of turmeric, 1 teaspoon each of chilli powder, 1 teaspoon ground coriander and 1 teaspoon garam masala. Stir everything together, add a heaped tablespoon of tomato purée, stir again, and then pour in 500ml passata and 200ml water. Mix everything together.

Cream time. Pour 125ml of single cream into the curry. Stir it through, and then bring the sauce to the boil. Once it is bubbling, turn it down, and let it simmer and thicken.

Get your rice on (follow the instructions on the packet).

Chicken time. Heat a pan. Once very hot, add your chicken thighs in batches. Cook on a high heat for 3-4 minutes each side until charred. Place the chargrilled thighs in the oven for 10-12 minutes just so they can cook through.

Once cooked through, place the chicken on a board and cut into big pieces. Add to the curry sauce and fold everything together. Season the curry with salt and pepper. Serve the chicken tikka masala over a bed of steaming rice. Garnish with some chopped coriander.

Vegan red Thai curry


1) Olive oil

2) Pinch of salt

3) 3 shallots

4) 2 red chillies

5) 3 teaspoons of paprika

6) Knob of ginger – 5cm (2 inches)

7) Bunch of coriander

8) 4 kaffir lime leaves

9) 150g mangetout

10) 4 lemongrass stems

11) 2 cloves of garlic

12) 400ml coconut milk

13) 1 lime

14) 3 peppers – yellow, orange and red

15) 2 carrots

16) 400g rice


Curry paste time. Finely chop the shallots, chillies, 3 teaspoons of paprika, a peeled and grated 5-cm (2-inch) piece of ginger, a bunch of coriander stalks, 4 kaffir lime leaves, garlic and 4 lemongrass stems.

Get the rice on (follow the instructions on the packet).

Take your 2 carrots and slice them up into stalks. Followed by slicing up both your peppers and mangetout.

In a pan, add a splash of vegetable oil and then throw in the sliced vegetables. Once the vegetables have softened and started to brown, add your curry paste. Cover the vegetables in it, and fry so that the paste starts catching the bottom of the pan.

Pour in the coconut milk, and refill the tin half way with water and pour that in. Bring the curry to a boil, and then cook over a medium heat for 10 minutes.

When the curry is thick and the vegetables are completely softened, remove from the heat. Fold in some fresh coriander leaves and serve on the hot rice.

Satay noodles


1) 3 bell peppers

2) 100g spring onions

3) 100g mangetout

4) 2 carrots

5) 2 cloves of garlic

6) Knob of ginger

7) 1 tin of coconut milk

8) Tablespoon of peanut butter

9) 2 teaspoons of soy sauce

10) 1 lime

11) 250g egg noodles

12) Olive oil


Start by slicing all of your veg into strips and finely chop your garlic. Drizzle some olive oil into a wok and add all the veggies. Cook on a medium heat and stir. As the vegetables begin to char, add your garlic and ginger and mix well. Set your veggies aside.

Get your noodles on (follow the instructions on the packet).

Add your coconut milk to a pan. Next, add the soy sauce and peanut butter. Cook and stir on a medium heat and bring it to boil. Add the juice of your lime and stir. Allow it to bubble. Once the sauce is thick enough, add your noodles and mix together. Add your veggies back into the pan and stir everything together.

Chilli con carne


1) 3 cloves of garlic

2) 1 ½ brown onion

3) Vegetable oil

4) 500g minced beef

5) 2 tablespoons of sugar

6) Hot or medium chilli powder

7) Chilli flakes

8) 1 tin of chopped tomatoes

9) 1 tin kidney beans

10) Beef stock cube


First dice your onions and add to a pan on a medium heat and let cook. Once translucent add 3 crushed garlic cloves.

After a few seconds add your minced beef. As it begins to brown add 2 teaspoons of chilli powder letting the flavours infuse while the meat cooks. Once the meat is browned add your tin of tomatoes and let simmer before adding a teaspoons of chilli flakes. Add 1 tin of drained kidney beans and let simmer.

Finally add one stock cube and let it dissolve in the mixture. Stir and cover letting it simmer for around 10 minutes. Take off the heat and rest for at least an hour. Drizzle some olive oil in and mix during the reheat. Serve on a bed of rice.

Buddha bowl


1) 2 large sweet potatoes

2) 2 sachets miso paste

3) 1 garlic clove

4) 1 small red cabbage 

5) 1 cucumber

6) Bunch of coriander

7) 200g kale

8) 1 pack of radishes

9) 2 avocados

10) 4 tablespoons tahini paste 

11) 1 lemon

12) 500g quinoa


Preheat your oven to 180°C.

Peel the sweet potatoes and cut into medium sized chunks. Put onto a roasting tray and drizzle with olive oil. Add 1 miso paste sachet. Season with salt and pepper. Toss everything together, and then roast for 40 minutes until soft.

Quinoa time. Get your quinoa on – follow pack instructions. Add 1 sachet of miso paste to the water to amp up the flavour.

Veg prep time. Cut the cucumber in half lengthways, scrape out the seeds and slice. Thinly slice the red cabbage. Slice the radishes and avocado, squeeze a little remaining lemon juice over the avocado to stop it going brown.

Dressing time. Add your tahini to a bowl with the juice of half a lemon, a grated clove of garlic, salt, pepper and olive oil. Add enough water to make a drizzalable dressing – don’t worry, the tahini always siezes when you first add the lemon juice. Keep adding water until it comes back together. Once thick and creamy, season with salt and pepper.

Kale time. Add your kale to a roasting tray. Season with salt and pepper. Drizzle over some olive oil. Mix together and then roast for 10 mins until crispy.

Serving time. Add your quinoa to a large bowl. Then add all your various bits. Top with roasted kale, some coriander leaves and tahini dressing.