“Cooking is about passion, so it may look slightly temperamental in a way that it's too assertive to the naked eye.” - Gordon Ramsay

During your time as a student, you’ll be restricted due to your budget: a small flat, a small fridge, a small kitchen, etc. In short, you won’t be working in a professional kitchen when you’re a student.

There are simple and quick recipes that are adapted to the student budget that are good for you, too. Since students are restricted by what they can make, a good number of them aren’t able to eat a balanced diet.

This is due to fast-food, takeaways, or the ready-meals and instant noodles students tend to eat. However, students can find alternatives like spinach tagliatelli, stuffed peppers, etc. There are plenty of quick and balanced meals for students.

So which are the best recipes for students to cook?

Let’s have a look.

Sweet Potato Fries

“Simple ingredients prepared in a simple way - that's the best way to take your everyday cooking to a higher level.” - Jose Andres

More and more students are opting for sweet potatoes and with good reason! In fact, this plant is healthier than its cousin, the potato. It has a low glycemic index but also 50% more fibre and plenty of nutrients (vitamins B2, B6, C, A, and beta-Carotene).

What are the benefits of sweet potatoes?
Sweet potatoes are great alternative to potatoes. (Source: auntmasako)

It’s a tasty and healthy option. As a student, easy cooking also needs to be quick and this ingredient is ideal, especially as fries. This is a good dish that’s healthy and tasty. To make sweet potato fries, you’ll need:

  • Sweet potato
  • Olive oil
  • Pepper
  • Salt

You can make this for three people or keep the leftovers in the fridge for a few days. Preheat the oven to 200°C and cut the sweet potato into small fries. Spread the fries onto some tinfoil, add salt, pepper, and a dash of olive oil. Roast for 30 to 40 minutes until your fries are crispy and you’re done!

You can also add some herbes de Provence or spices of your choice. While the original recipe is great, it’s not set in stone.

Additionally, since this dish only includes veggies, it's suitable for vegetarians.

The Poke Bowl

The poke bowl has become very trendy recently and it helps that it’s a great dish for students. This traditional Hawaiian dish is balanced, healthy, and easy to make. It’s great when you’re cooking on a budget.

What is a poke bowl?
More and more people are beginning to enjoy poke bowls. (Source: pokebrosau)

There’s not a lot of cooking involved (just the rice) and you can put almost anything you want into it. Chickpeas, carrots, edamame, raw salmon, anything’s possible!

You can make a poke bowl for four people with the following ingredients:

  • 3 cups of rice
  • Two raw salmon fillets
  • Two avocados
  • Half a cucumber
  • 3 cups of edamame
  • Sesame vinegar

Cook the rice as instructed, cut the avocado, salmon, and cucumber into small cubes, put it all in a bowl, and you’re done! You can also add coriander, sesame seeds, etc.

Easy, isn’t it?

In addition to being healthy, this dish works with a student’s budget and includes a lot of vitamins and omega 3. You can make it as often as you like!

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A Different Take on a Cheese and Ham Toasty

Rather than a cheese and ham toasty, we’re going to be making a salmon and cream cheese toasty. It goes without saying that this is an easy-to-make dish and it's better than your standard sandwiches.

It’s almost the same! For two people, you’ll need:

  • 4 slices of smoked salmon.
  • 120g of herb cream cheese.
  • 4 slices of bread.

The preparation doesn’t differ much to a cheese toasty. Toast the bread. Spread the cream cheese onto the toast and onto the salmon and place the salmon onto the toast. Then you’re free to taste it.

This simple recipe costs very little to make!

Chocolate Mug Cake

This is a sweet recipe that can be made in just three minutes! It’s basically a chocolate cake that you can make in a mug with the help of a microwave.

For one person, you’ll need:

  • A mug
  • 40 grams of dark chocolate
  • 40 grams of butter
  • 30 grams of sugar
  • 20 grams of flour
  • 1 egg

Put 40g of chocolate and 40g of butter into the bottom of a mug and melt it all in 30 seconds in the microwave. Mix it and add 30g of sugar and an egg, then add 20g of flour. Cook this for 40 seconds in the microwave, and you’re good to go!

Who said student cooking had to be boring?

One Pot Pasta Carbonara

One-pot pasta is an interesting cooking technique that you can use to quickly make a meal without having loads of dishes to do. This is very useful if you have a small kitchen. Let’s start with a basic recipe: pasta carbonara.

This is your basic carbonara recipe simplified. For four people, you’ll need:

  • 250 grams of spaghetti.
  • 200 grams of lardons.
  • 1 onion.
  • 300ml of creme fraiche.
  • 600ml of water.
  • 100 grams of parmesan.
  • Salt and pepper.

Peel and chop the onions and put the water and a bit of oil into a pan. Place the spaghetti, chopped onion, and lardons into the water and cook them all together. Stir regularly until all the water has been absorbed. This part’s done.

Take the pan off the heat and add the creme fraiche and parmesan and season with the salt and pepper. Your creamy pasta dish is now ready!

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Avocado Toast

Avocado toast has become quite fashionable as of late since it’s healthy and simple. This recipe is great for students because it’s simple, cheap, and doesn’t require a lot of cooking. You can also add a poached egg if you fancy.

How do you make avocado toast?
Avocado toast is full of nutrients. (Source: FoodieFactor)

For two avocado toasts, you’ll need:

  • Two slices of bread.
  • A ripe avocado.
  • Feta or cream cheese.
  • Salt and pepper.
  • Seeds of your choice (sunflower, sesame, etc.).
  • Two eggs (optional).

Spread your cheese onto the toast, slice the avocados, and put them onto the toast. Season with salt and pepper and add your seeds. You can always add a poached egg if you want.

Lemon Pasta

Here’s an interesting dish that you might want to try. It’s original and easy to make and it’s tastier than dry pasta.

The sourness of the lemon brings something to this dish that’s greater than the sum of its parts. To make lemon pasta for two people, you just need:

  • 200 grams of pasta
  • 30 grams of lightly salted butter
  • 200ml of cream
  • 30 grams of grated cheese
  • 1 lemon
  • 1 sprig of tarragon
  • Salt and pepper

Add lemon zest to the grated cheese. Cook the pasta as instructed in water. In another pan, melt the butter, add the lemon and cheese, cream, and the juice of the lemon, and season.

How do you make a tomato sauce?
In just a few steps, you can make a tomato sauce. (Source: Daria-Yakovleva)

Strain the pasta and add it to the sauce, gently cook in the pan for two minutes until the sauce thickens. Add a bit of tarragon and there you go! Bon appetit!

Thanks to these recipes, you can cook delicious, healthy, and cheap meals.

Who said student cooking had to be boring?

If you're struggling to cook, consider getting help from one of the private tutors on Superprof. There are three main types of tutorials available: face-to-face tutorials, online tutorials, and group tutorials.

Group tutorials tend to be the cheapest per hour since you're sharing the cost of the hour with the other students attending the lesson. Of course, this means that the service won't be as bespoke as a private face-to-face or online tutorial. However, if you and a few friends want to learn how to cook, this might be the best option.

Face-to-face tutorials cost more than group tutorials but you'll also get a more tailored service. Generally speaking, this type of tutorial is much more costly but it's also far more cost-effective. Each tutorial will be tailored to the student, their learning style, and their learning objectives.

If you want tailored tutorials but at a lower cost, you should consider online tutorials. If you've got a decent internet connection, a webcam, and a programme like Skype, you can get online tutorials from one of the tutors on Superprof.

At the end of the day, you need to pick the right type of tutorial for you. After all, every student is different and you need to get the right tutor for your personality, your learning style, and your budget. Every type has its advantages and disadvantages so take your time choosing the right one. Fortunately, a lot of tutors offer the first hour of tuition for free.

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Joseph is a French and Spanish to English translator, language enthusiast, and blogger.