Recently I’ve got really into simple yet exciting lunches which are easy to make yet incredibly customisable, meaning I don’t have to have exactly the same thing every day if I don’t want to and I don’t have to spend ages prepping in the kitchen either. Having experimented a fair amount over the past couple of years at uni, I figured I’d share my very favourite easy weekday lunch ideas for student life. All of the recipes below are vegetarian, but can be adapted to include meat if you feel that’s necessary.
What’s more, almost all of these can be adapted into packed lunches, which can be prepped in the morning while you’re getting that all important breakfast, and then taken with you in a compact tupperware container or plastic bag. A full day of lectures, no time to nip home for lunch, but you don’t want to spend your student loan on expensive café food? I’ve got you covered!
1. The Sandwich (vegan options)
The most basic of all packed lunches, and yet one which can be adapted to suit pretty much everyone. Grab your favourite bread, your favourite filling, something on the side, and you’re set! Some of my favourite adaptations and variations:
- Use houmous instead of butter on the bread. Might not work for every single filling, but I promise, it’s delicious for most combinations.
- The CLT: cheese, gem lettuce and tomato. (Skip the tomato if you, like me, are not a fan). The cheese and the lettuce provide an amazing combination of textures with a soft granary loaf.
- Avocado smash: grab half an avocado, slice while still in the peel, and mash directly onto the slice of bread. Add either chia seeds, cheese, or if you’re feeling extra luxurious,a fried egg or a few slices of fried halloumi.
2. The Toastie
If you don’t have a toastie-making machine, never fear! You can buy toastie bags in a lot of places, which allows you to put the sandwich itself in a toaster. If you can’t find those, simply make the sandwich using slices of toast, and warm in the microwave for a few seconds to melt the fillings.
My favourite toastie recommendations:
- Cheese and mushroom
- Cheese and onion (red onion is especially amazing)
- Brie and cranberry sauce / Brie and grape
- Mozzerella and pesto
- Mozzerella, spinach and pepper
You can do any of these yourself with very few ingredients, and alternate them as many times as you like throughout the week for some different lunch ideas.
3. The Salad (vegan)
For this simple, very quick salad you will need:
- Your chosen lettuce (I recommend baby gem lettuce for ease of preparation and size) – washed and prepared, shredded or using whole leaves.
- Pepper (red or yellow) – diced
- Mushroom – sliced and briefly microwaved
- Avocado – sliced
- Carrot (optional) – grated
- Cashew or pine nuts (optional) – small pieces, or whole
- Sweetcorn pieces (optional)
- Your chosen (vegan) salad dressing or balsamic vinegar
Combine as many of the ingredients as you want in a bowl, drizzle lightly with vinegar/dressing, and enjoy!
If you’re hungry or not a fan of salad on its own, I recommend pairing this with a pitta bread (lightly toasted and warm) and houmous, or some carrot sticks, or some blueberries for dessert.
4. Halloumi scrambled egg
One of my favourite lunch ideas! If you have a little extra time on your hands, or simply want something extra delicious and luxurious, head over to my recipe for this halloumi scrambled egg.
Pair with toast, pitta, or salad, or eat on its own.
You know those packet soups you probably used to eat as a kid? Well, I still eat them now when I’m feeling super lazy and tired and stressed, because all it needs is one of those cupasoups, some hot water, and a slice of bread. It can’t get any easier, really.
There we have it, my top five easy weekday vegetarian recipes for students! Do you have any variations or ideas to add? Is there something you always do to save time when making meals? Let me know down in the comments!