11 Easy & Healthy Meals for College Students

Let’s face it, switching from having a meal plan to having to cook for yourself can seem like a drag if you don’t like to cook or simply don’t have the time. Thankfully, we at Her Campus have come up with some super simple, easy, and healthy recipes you can make in your townhouse this year! These recipes use minimal ingredients and make great leftovers for the rest of the week. All of these meals are vegan and some are even gluten-free and/or oil-free! Try one of the recipes and tag us to let us know what you think, using #HerCampusBryant.

Breakfast

3-Ingredient Pancakes

These pancakes are GREAT for when you’re craving something sweet for breakfast (or dinner, we don’t judge) but are trying to do it in a healthy way. No more boxed pancake mix for you!

Ingredients:

1 cup oats (gluten-free, if necessary)

1 banana

1 cup plant milk (almond, cashew, oat, hemp, soy, rice, etc.)

Instructions:

  1. Combine all ingredients in a blender or food processor.
  2. Cook on a nonstick pan over medium heat. (Spray with non-stick oil if pan is not non-stick).
  3. Serve with your favorite toppings (maple syrup, peanut butter, berries, stewed apples, vegan butter, etc.) Enjoy!

The Best Avocado Toast (Oil-Free and Vegan)

Quick, simple, and delicious. Pair with some fruit salad and you’ve got yourself a nutritious breakfast, in a breeze. Dave’s killer bread also has a ton of protein compared to your conventional white bread. We love their “21 Whole Grains and Seeds” and the “Good Seed” breads.

Ingredients:

Dave’s Killer Bread (or your favorite whole-grain bread!)

¼ avocado

Handful cherry or grape tomatoes (or a few slices of a large tomato)

Dash of garlic powder

Dash of black pepper

1-2 tsp hemp seeds

Instructions:

  1. Toast the bread. Scoop out ¼ avocado and mash onto the toast. Slice tomatoes thinly and place on top of avocado. Then sprinkle on the garlic powder, pepper, and hemp seeds.
  2. Enjoy!

The Best Tofu Scramble (Gluten-free, Oil-free, and Vegan)

Perfect for those of you who love scrambled eggs but are trying to eat healthier! This tofu scramble weirdly resembles eggs – but without the cruelty!

Ingredients:

½ of a 15oz package of extra firm tofu

Salt and pepper

Garlic powder

Onion powder

Turmeric

Optional: mushrooms, spinach, peppers, onions, and minced garlic

Optional: sriracha.

Instructions:

  1. If making a veggie tofu scramble, sauté the veggies (except for spinach) in a non-stick pan with a splash of water, minced garlic, and salt and pepper until tender.
  2. Add the ½ block of tofu and break up with a spatula or wooden serving spoon until it has a scrambled egg-like texture. Sprinkle in the garlic powder, onion powder, and turmeric. Cook for 5 more minutes. If adding spinach, do so now.
  3. Drizzle on some sriracha. Serve with an English muffin or a side of fruit. Enjoy! Store leftovers for 3 days.

Lunch/Dinner

10 Minute Mac-and-Cheese (Gluten-free, Oil-free and Vegan)

A recipe for people in a hurry, if you’re just feeling lazy, or if you are just really craving some cheesiness. After making this vegan mac, you’ll never need another mac-n-cheese recipe again.

Ingredients:

1 box of pasta (12 oz) – gluten-free if required

Approximately 1 cup unsalted cashews

Approximately 1 cup almond milk (or any plant-based milk like soy, rice, cashew, oat, etc.)

1 ½ tbsp lemon juice

¼ cup nutritional yeast (or more if you want a super cheesy flavor!)

1 tsp garlic powder

Salt and pepper to taste

Optional: dash of crushed red pepper

Optional: Peas, steamed broccoli, or any other veggie you might want to add for some extra mmph

Instructions:

  1. Boil the pasta according to package directions
  2. Add the remaining ingredients to a blender or Nutribullet (cashews, milk, lemon juice, nutritional yeast, garlic powder, salt, pepper, and crushed red pepper). Blend until smooth and creamy. If it’s a little too liquidy, add more cashews and/or nutritional yeast. If it’s too thick, add more milk.
  3. Pour the “cheese” sauce” over the cooked pasta, mix, and enjoy! If you’re adding a veggie like steamed broccoli, simply mix that in with the pasta and sauce. Sprinkle on a dash of crushed red pepper for a little spice!

BBQ Tempeh with Rice and Broccoli (Vegan)

Great for you meal-preppers! Made with soybeans, rice, barley, and millet, tempeh is a great, healthier alternative to chicken. This BBQ tempeh is packed full of flavor!

Ingredients:

1 package (8 oz) tempeh (we love the Trader Joe’s Organic 3 Grain Tempeh)

1 cup rice (2 cups cooked)         

1 large stalk of broccoli

Approximately ¾ cup BBQ sauce

Salt and pepper to taste

Instructions:

  1. Preheat oven to 365 degrees.
  2. Slice the tempeh into thin (about ¼ inch) slices
  3. Coat the bottom of a baking dish/casserole dish with BBQ sauce, and place the sliced tempeh on top. Pour the remaining BBQ sauce to coat the tempeh. Bake for 20-25 mins.
  4. Cook the rice according to package directions.
  5. Cut the broccoli into small pieces and steam until tender (or sauté).
  6. Serve the tempeh and broccoli on top of rice. Add salt and pepper to taste. Enjoy!

"Chicken" Patty Spinach Wrap (Vegan)

A super satisfying meal that takes almost zero prep-work. Also, these “chicken” patties taste JUST like the real thing. Try it.

Ingredients:

1 vegan “chicken” patty (We love the Quorn patties and Morningstar patties)

1 spinach wrap (we love Cedar’s Spinach Wraps)

A handful of grape or cherry tomatoes, chopped (you can use any kind of tomatoes)

A handful of chopped cucumber

A handful of spinach or lettuce

Buffalo sauce (we love Sweet Baby Ray’s)

Instructions:

  1. Cook patty according to package directions. (We suggest toaster oven or oven – it comes out very crispy this way!)
  2. Once done cooking, slice the patty into small bite-sizes. Add the chopped patty, tomatoes, cucumber, and spinach to the wrap. Drizzle some buffalo sauce. Wrap the wrap up and enjoy!

Chickpea & Lentil Sauté

This dish is packed with delicious, whole foods and is super comforting and filling.

Ingredients:

1 (15oz) can chickpeas

1 cup dry lentils (2 cups cooked)

1 large tomato, diced

1/2 of a red onion, diced

A ton of spinach (the more, the merrier!) - we used about 8oz

2 tsp minced garlic

Chili powder

Crushed red pepper

Salt & pepper to taste

Olive oil (if not using a non-stick pan)

Instructions:

  1. Cook the lentils in a pot according to package directions.
  2. In a separate pan, add the minced garlic and the diced onion, along with the chili powder, crushed red pepper, salt, and pepper. (If you're not using a non-stick pan, just add a drop of olive oil.) Sauté until the onion is a nice golden brown. Add in the diced tomato and the chickpeas, and the lentils once they're done cooking. Sauté all together until fragrant, adding more spices as needed.
  3. Add the spinach and let it wilt. Mix all together and enjoy!

Oil-Free Baked Fries (Gluten-Free, Oil-Free, and Vegan)

For when you’re craving some good ‘ole fries, but don’t want to deal with that heavy, fried feeling you get from deep-fried potatoes. These get SO crispy and have so much flavor, without any of the artery-clogging oils!

Ingredients:

4 large potatoes

Italian seasoning

Curry powder

Paprika

Instructions:

  1. Preheat oven to 425 degrees. Wash potatoes and cut into fry shape.
  2. Place potatoes in bowl and coat with seasonings. (Shake bowl to better distribute the seasonings!)
  3. Place evenly on a baking sheet linked with parchment paper or a silicone baking mat. Bake for approximately 30 minutes, or until golden brown and crispy.
  4. Serve with ketchup, guacamole, or your favorite dipping sauce, or as a side to your main meal. Enjoy!

Quinoa Tacos or Taco Salad (Oil-free, Gluten-free and Vegan)

A super easy and healthy alternative to ground beef tacos. Great for leftovers, too, because you can just plop this on top of a salad and voila – a fun salad.

Ingredients:

1 cup quinoa (2 cups cooked)

1 can black beans

1 cup frozen corn (or fresh or canned corn)

¾ cup salsa

1 package taco seasoning

Dash of salt and pepper

Lettuce

Optional: taco shells or tortilla chips, vegan sour cream (we love Tofutti), extra salsa for serving

Instructions:

  1. Cook the quinoa in a large pan. When almost done cooking, add the rinsed black beans and corn to the quinoa.
  2. Mix in the salsa, taco seasoning, and salt and pepper to taste. Cook for another 5 mins.
  3. Serve in taco shells, or on top of lettuce as a taco salad. Add your favorite toppings!

Spaghetti and Meatless Meatballs (Vegan)

For when you’re craving some good old-fashioned comfort food and maybe don’t have a ton of fresh veggies in your house. This meal is sure to make you feel warm and cozy.

Ingredients:

1 box of spaghetti

3 cups jarred pasta sauce (or homemade!)

Frozen vegan meatballs (we love Gardein and Trader Joe's)

Optional: nutritional yeast, or Follow Your Heart's vegan shredded “parmesan cheese”

Instructions:

  1. Cook the spaghetti according to package directions.
  2. Pour the spaghetti sauce into a pot or pan, and add the frozen meatballs. Let cook according to meatball package directions. (Normally, you just place the meatballs in and they’ll cook right in the sauce.)
  3. Serve the sauce and meatballs over the spaghetti. Add some vegan “parmesan cheese” or nutritional yeast. Enjoy!

Veggie, Potato, & Bean Curry over Rice (Gluten-free, Oil-free and Vegan)

This recipe is great for when you have a ton of veggies sitting around that you want to use up! It’s super filling and is great leftover. The fun thing about this recipe is that you can pretty much swap whatever veggies you want! If you don’t have potatoes, add some sweet potatoes. If you don’t have carrots but you have a bell pepper, swap that!

Ingredients:

1 large carrot, chopped

1 large tomato, chopped (or a handful of small ones!)

1 large potato, chopped (or a handful of small ones!)

½ an onion, chopped

½ cup – ¾ cup frozen peas

1 can beans (kidney, cannellini, or even chickpeas!)

3 tsp curry powder

2 tsp minced garlic

1 cup rice (2 cups cooked)

Salt and pepper to taste

Water

Instructions:

  1. Sauté the chopped onion and garlic with a splash of water in a large pot, until golden brown. If the onions start to stick, just add a splash of water. While the onion is “frying”, prepare all your other veggies and potatoes.
  2. Cook the rice in a separate pot according to package directions.
  3. Once the onion is golden brown, add the rest of the ingredients to the pot (carrot, tomato, potato, peas, beans, curry powder, salt and pepper) and cover with water (just enough to . Bring to a boil and reduce the heat to simmer. Let simmer, covered, for 30mins-60 mins. (The longer you let it simmer, the tastier it will be!)

We hope this helps you in your cooking endeavors as a college student! If you try any of these delicious recipes, make sure to tag us!

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*All photos in this article were produced by Jocelyn Koury.