Six gyp-friendly dinner recipes

Image credit: Beatrice Obe

It’s important to try and make sure you’re eating well and often at university, even (and especially) when things get busy or stressful. Food is vital for nourishing our bodies and our souls, but feeding yourself properly can be challenging, especially if you’ve never done it before. To help with this, we’ve created a recipe finder that features five main meals adapted for various moods, budgets, and kitchen facilities. All of these recipes are to feed one person, but include tips on how to use leftover ingredients. Most are also vegetarian (but still fulfilling and delicious), and can be adapted to a wide range of diets. So… take our quiz now to get that food baby rolling! 

 

Roasted Chickpea Salad with Potatoes 

Takes about 35 minutes.

I recently made this for a friend, who said it was the first salad she’s actually enjoyed in her whole life. If that’s not impetus enough, I don’t know what is. Easy, nutritious, and delicious — this is my go to salad recipe and it never disappoints. Carbs on the side because carbs are good and necessary. 

Ingredients: 

1 can of chickpeas 
1 baking potato 
Salad leaves of your choice
A bit of red pepper
A bit of cucumber 
Olive oil 
Salt 
Cumin 
Paprika

Turn on the oven to 200°C/Gas mark 6.

Chop the potato into two or three centimetre cubes (this will make them cook faster) and put them in a large baking tray. Coat the potatoes with oil and add salt, along with some pepper and mixed herbs or rosemary, if you have them. 
After about twenty minutes, check the potatoes. They should be beginning to go soft, and if they are, you can drain the chickpeas and add them to the baking tray. You’ll want to drizzle some more olive oil over them and season with salt. They also taste great with cumin and paprika, so sprinkle some of that over if you have it, but don’t worry if not. 
Whilst the potatoes and chickpeas roast, make the salad. This is a simple job of cutting up the pepper and cucumber and chucking it in a bowl with the leaves, but you can exchange different ingredients according to what you like or have in the fridge. 
After a further ten minutes, check that the potatoes and chickpeas look crispy and have gone soft inside. Once they’re cooked, add the chickpeas to the salad, and have the potatoes as a side. 

Looking for a way to use up the spare veggies? Cucumber is great in a sandwich with hummus, and red pepper is a delicious addition to any curry. 

 

Parsley, Lemon, and Avocado Pasta

Takes about 10 minutes. 

This is a simplified version of a recipe by Anna Jones from her wonderful book, A Modern Way to Eat. It’s an incredibly comforting dish, and is easy to do, making a nice change from just desperately scraping out the remains of the pesto jar. 

Ingredients: 

Pasta 

1 avocado 
A handful of parsley 
Olive Oil 
1 lemon 
Half a clove of garlic 
Salt and pepper

Put the pasta on to boil for whatever amount of time it specifies on the packet. 
In the meantime, heat up a couple of tablespoons of olive oil in a small pan on a low heat and fry the garlic until it starts to go brown. 
Take the pan of oil off the heat, zest your lemon, finely chop your parsley, and add them both to the pan. 
Once the pasta is cooked, drain it and add the oil mixture. Chop up the avocado into small chunks and stir in. Then, squeeze about half a lemon’s worth of juice into the pasta and season with salt and pepper to taste. If the pasta seems dry, add more olive oil. 

If you have leftover parsley, it’s a great way to add interest to any green salad, especially with chickpeas!

 

Sweet Potato, Kale and Lentil curry

Takes about 45 minutes.

This is a slightly adapted version of a recipe from the Minimalist Baker blog. The lentils and potato make it feel really hearty, and the curry powder adds a nice kick. I generally have leftovers, which are great reheated the next day. 

Ingredients: 

Oil 
Half an onion 
1 tsp of ginger
1 large carrot 
1 sweet potato 
1 clove of garlic 
Salt and pepper
1 1/2 tsp curry powder
600 ml of vegetable stock 
Half a cup (100g) of green lentils 
Two cups (120g) of kale 

Dice the onion, mince the ginger and garlic, and chop up the carrot and potato into cubes. 

Heat some oil in a sauce pan, and add the onion, ginger, and carrots. Season with some salt and pepper and cook for about three minutes, until the onions have gone soft. 
Add the garlic and potato and fry in the pan for another four minutes, before adding the curry powder and frying all together for a further couple of minutes. 
Then, add the vegetable stock and increase the heat. Once at a low boil, add the lentils and reduce the heat to simmer. Simmer for 20-25 minutes, uncovered, until the potatoes and lentils are tender. 
While it cooks, remove the ridges from your kale and roughly chop. 
Taste the curry and adjust seasonings accordingly – you might want to add more curry powder, or salt and pepper. 
In the last couple of minutes of cooking, add the kale and put the lid back on the pn, so that it can steam until tender. 
Serve on it’s own, or with naan bread. 

You can use up leftover ginger by slicing it up and boiling it with water to make tea!

 

Brown rice stir fry

Takes about 20 minutes. 

I ate this at least once a week for a solid six months in first year and can vouch for the comfort it provides after a long day in the library. The fried egg on top might seem strange to some, but trust me, it makes the meal. 

Ingredients: 

1 portion of brown rice 
1 Chicken breast or quorn chicken pieces (optional)
1/3 of a red pepper
A handful of mange tout 
1 small carrot 
Ginger
Tamari 
Chilli flakes
1 egg 

Put the rice on to cook, if you’re boiling it. If using the microwavable variety, you can do this just before adding it later on. 
Mince the ginger, and chop the pepper and mange tout into small pieces. If using chicken, also chop this into chunks. Peel the carrot. 
In a medium to large pan, heat up some oil on a medium heat and add the chicken or quorn pieces, frying for several minutes, or until they are cooked all the way through. 
Next, add the ginger and fry for about thirty seconds, until it starts to brown. 
Add the pepper and mange tout, and then grate the carrot into the pan. Sprinkle some chilli flakes over them. Then, coat everything in tamari, and fry all together. 
In the meantime, heat up some oil in a small pan, on a medium to low heat, and start frying the egg. 
Once the mange tout and pepper is starting to soften or brown you can add the rice, and more tamari so that the rice becomes darker and richer in flavour. 
Fry all together until the egg is crispy and the white is solid. Serve on top of the stir fry in a bowl. 

You can use up mange tout by blanching it for 40 seconds in a pan of vigorously boiling water, and dressing it with olive oil and salt and pepper to make a versatile side. 

Feta and broccoli fritters 

Takes about 20 minutes. 

This is my version of another recipe from Anna Jones’ A Modern Way to Eat. These fritters make for a healthy meal, but the addition of cheese and the crispy oil coating makes them an actually enticing concept. Ten out of ten, would recommend to all friends and TCS readers. 

Ingredients: 

60g of tenderstem or purple sprouting broccoli 

25g of spinach 
1 tablespoon feta 
1 tablespoon parmesan 
Zest of 1 lemon 
Salt and pepper 
2 eggs 
Olive oil 

Finely chop the broccoli and shred the spinach, combining in a bowl. Then, crumble in the feta and add the parmesan, as well as the lemon zest. Season with salt and pepper. 

Now, just crack the eggs into the bowl and whisk with a fork, combining all of the ingredients together. 
Take a large frying pan and coat with oil on a medium heat. You want to be really generous with  the oil here. 
Once the oil is hot, spoon out the mixture into the pan and flatten it out to form three patties. 
Fry the patties for a couple of minutes on either side, until the egg is completely cooked and they go golden. 
Serve with rice, salad, or potatoes. 

Feta is great crumbled into salads, or makes a gorgeous pairing with avocado in a sandwich or on toast. 

 

Leek and Potato Soup

Takes about 45 minutes. 

You really can’t go wrong with a good homemade soup. This one is incredibly simple, but so comforting with toast on a cold day. If you like your soup a little creamier, feel free to stir in a little milk or cream.  

Ingredients: 

A knob of butter 

1 clove of garlic
2 leeks
2 average sized or 1 very large baking potato 
1 vegetable stock cube
Salt and pepper

Slice the leeks, dice the potatoes, and mince the garlic. 

Heat up the butter in a saucepan on a medium heat and add the garlic, gently frying it by itself for about thirty seconds. 
Add the leeks and continue to fry for another few minutes, or until they’ve become soft. 
Add the potato and mix all together, before pouring in just enough water to cover the leek and potato. 
Add your stock, and season generously with salt and pepper. 
Turn up the heat and bring to the boil, then turn it right down and let the pan simmer for about half an hour, until the potato is soft all the way through. 
Use a hand blender or food processor to blend until smooth, then serve with bread or crackers. 

You can use up leeks by slicing them up and pan frying them in butter or olive oil with salt and pepper — a delicious side for Bridgemas dinner!

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