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Six Student-Friendly Meals to Get You in the Fall Mood

The opinions expressed in this article are the writer’s own and do not reflect the views of Her Campus.
This article is written by a student writer from the Her Campus at St. Andrews chapter.

Every autumn, in addition to the overhauls of closets, schedules, and flat decor, I find myself changing the way I eat — I start craving roasted vegetables and grains over summer peaches and tomatoes. Eating produce that’s in season not only satisfies the cravings that come with the colder weather, but are often more nutrient dense in this time of year too! 

Being a student, it can be hard to build time to nourish yourself into an already jam-packed schedule, and sometimes planning a week’s worth of meals can just feel exhausting. That’s why I’ve compiled this list of the best easy meals that you need to make this fall to feel warm on the inside as you bundle up on the outside. Get ready to make sheet pans and one pot meals your new best friends. Feeding your body and brain with essentials like proteins, healthy fats, and veggies will only help you with your studies, help ward off freshers flu, and hopefully put you in a good mood as we transition to the colder weather ahead! Feel free to double up recipes as meal prep for the week.

1. Sweet Potato Chickpea Curry:

Ingredients: 2 large sweet potatoes, 1 can coconut milk, 1 can chickpeas, 1 tbsp curry paste or powder, 1 stock cube, 1 cup water, 1 diced onion, 1 minced garlic clove, 1 tsp paprika, 1 tsp chili powder, olive oil, 1 inch knob fresh grated ginger.

  1. Chop and boil the sweet potatoes for 15 minutes.
  2. In a pan, heat olive oil. Add onion, garlic, ginger, and spices. Cook for 5 minutes, or until onions are translucent.
  3. Drain chickpeas and add to the pan. Cook for 3-4 minutes. 
  4. Drain sweet potatoes, blend with 1 can coconut milk.
  5. Add in sweet potato puree and a stock cube dissolved in 1 cup hot water. Cook until thickened. Season with salt and pepper.
  6. Serve with rice or naan or both! When I have extra time, I make my own naan and it’s such a game changer. I love this recipe! 

2. The Warm Salad:

The Warm Salad is crucial to eating enough veggies, even when you’re skimping on your heating bill and aren’t craving your average salad. It can be customized in so many ways and I never get tired of it! Swap out the protein, the type of grain, dark leafy green, roasted veggies, dressing, etc — there are endless combinations! Here’s my winning combo:

Ingredients: 1 bag kale or spinach, 1 cup brown rice, chicken or tofu, balsamic vinaigrette (½ cup olive oil, ¼ cup balsamic vinegar, 1 tsp honey, 1 tsp dijon mustard, 1 clove minced garlic, salt and pepper), 1 butternut squash, broccoli, goat cheese.

  1. Preheat the oven to 200 degrees C.
  2. Chop, season, and roast veggies in olive oil.
  3. Cook rice according to package directions.
  4. Lightly wilt greens.
  5. Cook chicken or tofu in your preferred method, I do it in the oven at 200 degrees C.
  6. Put all dressing ingredients into a jar or blender to combine. Thin with water if necessary.
  7. Mix and top with goat cheese.

3. One Pot Chicken and Pearl Couscous Skillet:

Technically this follows the formula of a warm salad! The chicken marinade is unreal, you’ll never make chicken any other way. I made this for my flatmates recently, and it was a big win. 

Ingredients: 4 Chicken Thighs, 1 cup pearl couscous, 1 ½ cups broth, 1 butternut squash (reserve the seeds), red baby potatoes, 2 cloves garlic, 1 bag kale, fresh thyme and rosemary, salt and pepper, ⅓ cup parmesan.

For the Chicken Marinade: 2 tbsp balsamic vinegar, 2 tbsp olive oil, salt and pepper, 2 cloves minced garlic, fresh thyme, lemon juice

  1. Preheat the oven to 175 degrees C.
  2. Marinate the chicken and let sit for at least 20 minutes.
  3. Chop up the butternut squash and baby potatoes and place on a parchment lined baking sheet. Season with salt, pepper, and rosemary. Roast in the oven until browned. 
  4. Heat olive oil in a large pan on medium-high. Cook the chicken, 5 minutes on each side.
  5. Remove the chicken. In the same pan, fry the garlic until browned. Add in the couscous and let toast for 3-4 minutes. Set the heat to low, cover, and cook for about 15 minutes.
  6. Add in chopped kale at the end to let gently wilt. Stir in the grated parmesan. Add in the roasted butternut squash and potatoes and mix. Top with the chicken and more parmesan.

4. Roasted Garlic and Butternut Squash Pasta with Crispy Prosciutto:

Ingredients: 1 butternut squash, 1 whole head of garlic, 6 slices prosciutto, ¼ cup olive oil, 1 package fettuccine, ½ block grated parmesan, sage or rosemary, 1 teaspoon red pepper flakes, salt and pepper.

  1. Preheat the oven to 200 degrees C.
  2. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper, peel, chop and season butternut squash with sage or rosemary. Cut the top off of 1 whole head of garlic. Drizzle with olive oil and salt and place on the baking sheet. Roast for 20 minutes or until butternut squash is soft. 
  3. On a separate baking sheet lined with parchment paper, lay out prosciutto. Place in the oven for 25 minutes.
  4. Boil pasta according to package directions, reserve ¼ cup pasta water.
  5. When squash is cooked through and garlic browned and soft, Put squash into a blender with shredded parmesan, salt and pepper, and olive oil. Squeeze garlic cloves into the blender. Blend until smooth. 
  6. Add the contents of the blender into the drained pasta, use pasta water to combine. Top with more parmesan and red pepper flakes. Crumble prosciutto over the top and serve.

5. Nourishing Chicken and Rice:

This is not your average gym rat’s chicken and rice. This bootleg chicken soup is so healing for the soul, yet so easy you can make it even when down with the worst case of freshers flu.

Ingredients: 4 boneless chicken thighs, 2 celery stalks, 2 carrots, 4 tablespoons butter, 2 cloves garlic, 2 cups rice, 6 cups chicken bone broth, ½ cup grated parmesan, 1 teaspoon turmeric, salt and pepper.

  1. Finely chop the carrots, garlic, and celery. Sautée them in a pot with butter on medium heat until soft and fragrant, about 5 minutes. Add in the turmeric, salt, and pepper and cook for another few minutes. 
  2. Add in the chicken thighs, chopped into bite size pieces, and cook for 5 minutes.
  3. Toast the rice and add in the broth. If you can’t find bone broth, stock cubes will do.
  4. Bring to a boil, cover, and cook on low for about 20 minutes, or until all liquid is absorbed and the chicken is cooked through.
  5. Stir in the parmesan. Optionally top with parsley. 

6. Tahini Kale Caesar Salad with Chickpea Croutons:

I think this vegan tahini caesar dressing is my new all-time favorite. I would put it on anything. I’d drink it with a straw. Making your own salad dressing is so worthwhile and rewarding. You’ll never turn back, it’s life changing. 

Ingredients: Kale, chickpeas, 1 tbsp olive oil, salt and pepper, 1 tsp garlic powder, 1 tsp paprika ½ lemon, parmesan. 

For the Tahini Dressing: ¼ cup tahini, 1 tbsp dijon mustard, 1 tablespoon caper brine or pickle juice, 1 clove finely chopped garlic, juice of ½ lemon, warm water to desired consistency, sea salt and fresh ground black pepper (to taste)

  1. Preheat your oven to 200 degrees C. Drain and dry your chickpeas, onto a parchment lined baking tray and season with salt, pepper, paprika, and garlic powder. 
  2. Dry bake for 15 minutes. Remove from the oven and lightly coat with olive oil. Bake for an additional 10 minutes until crispy. 
  3. Stem your kale if you’re working with a whole head. If you have pre-cut kale, make sure to remove the veiny bits, as they are bitter and hard to digest!
  4. Add olive oil, lemon juice, and a little salt to the kale and massage until tender.
  5. Add all dressing ingredients to a blender or jar to combine. 
  6. Toss the kale with the dressing and chickpeas. Top with thick peels of parmesan and serve with a side of toasted sourdough.


Ella Bernard

St. Andrews '25

Ella is a third year studying Archaeology and Social Anthropology. She hopes to pursue a career in journalism when she’s not captaining her own sailboat on a voyage around the world. In her free time you can find her at the farmers market, gathering fresh ingredients for her next dinner party. She is especially passionate in writing about travel, women’s health, and wellness.