Four one-pot recipes to get you by on a student budget

Imi Fellon 30 March 2022
Raw pasta scattered on wooden board near saucepan in kitchen

Looking for cheap, simple meal ideas? Here are some recipes sure to get you through until the next student loan day.

Grab a casserole dish or large saucepan and cook these simple, cheap, and tasty one-pot recipes. Whether it’s a bulk cook for the week, a treat for yourself, or a meal with friends, these one-pot dishes will go down a treat. 

One-pot red lentil dahl

Lentil dahl is a great way to get some healthy proteins and veggies into your diet. 

  • Vegetable oil
  • 350g red lentils
  • Tinned tomatoes
  • Tinned coconut cream
  • 2 onions
  • 4 cloves garlic and 1-inch ginger (grated or finely chopped)
  • Broccoli
  • Carrot
  • Aubergine
  • Kale
  • Fresh coriander leaves (for sprinkling on top)


  • cumin seeds
  • coriander seeds
  • turmeric powder
  • fenugreek seeds
  • fennel seeds
  • chilli flakes
  • salt and pepper to taste

Finely slice your onions and chop the vegetables into small pieces. Fry the onions on medium heat for ten minutes. Next, add garlic, ginger and spices and fry for a further minute. Add your vegetables and fry until soft (carrots take longer so you may want to add them first).

Once the vegetables are cooked, add the red lentils and dry fry them in the pan for a few minutes. Add the tinned tomatoes and simmer for 10-15 mins. Add coconut milk, simmering for a further five minutes. Finally, add salt, pepper and fresh coriander to taste.

Serve this vitamin-packed dahl on its own or with some bread. It’s hearty and delicious both ways!

One-pot Hummus Pasta

Hummus makes a great healthy protein-rich pasta sauce.


  • 300g pasta
  • Olive oil
  • Hummus
  • 1 onion
  • 4 cloves garlic
  • Aubergine
  • Mushroom
  • Courgette
  • Spinach
  • Salt and pepper to taste

First, finely slice the onion and chop your other vegetables into bite-sized cubes. Fry the onion gently in oil until translucent, then add the crushed garlic and vegetables before frying for a further 10-15 mins, or until vegetables are ready. Stir regularly.

While the vegetables are cooking, boil some salted water in a pan and add pasta. Once the pasta is done, add a spoonful of the starchy water to your vegetables and then drain your pasta. Mix your pasta and cooked veg with spinach leaves in the frying pan. 

Finally, stir in a healthy dollop of hummus, adding salt and pepper to your taste. Serve up and enjoy! 

One-pot chickpea and potato stew

This stew is packed with protein, pulses and healthy carbs.


  • Olive oil
  • 1 Onion (white)
  • 4 cloves garlic
  • 1 tsp Paprika
  • 1 tsp Thyme
  • Potatoes
  • Vegetable stock
  • Tinned tomato
  • Broccoli
  • Frozen peas
  • Spinach
  • Tinned chickpeas
  • Double cream (or vegan oat cream)
  • Salt and pepper to taste

Chop your onions roughly into chunks and fry on medium heat for ten minutes. Dice your garlic cloves and fry for a further two mins with paprika and thyme. 

Peel the potatoes and chop them into 1cm cubes before adding them to your dish with vegetable stock and tinned tomatoes. Simmer the pot for 7-10 mins or until the potatoes have softened. 

Add your vegetables and chickpeas and simmer for a further five mins. 

Finally, add the double cream, salt and pepper to taste – serve hot and enjoy!

One-pot chilli


  • White onion
  • 4 garlic cloves
  • Smoked paprika
  • Chilli flakes
  • mushrooms
  • Beef or Quorn mince
  • Tinned tomatoes
  • Tin of red kidney beans
  • Gravy granules
  • 2 cubes of dark chocolate
  • 1 tsp marmite
  • Sweet chilli sauce

Firstly, fry your onions and garlic on low heat in plenty of oil for ten minutes.

Next, add the finely diced mushrooms, smoked paprika and chilli flakes. Fry until the mushrooms have reduced down. 

Next, add the mince, tinned tomatoes, and red kidney beans and simmer for 5-10 mins. 

Once the pot is simmering, add gravy granules, dark chocolate, marmite and sweet chilli sauce. Simmer for a further 10-15 minutes and then serve hot or with grated cheese for a rich and hearty chilli.

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Imi Fellon 30 March 2022