Words and Photo by Paige Baxter
College is not exactly the most flourishing monetary time for students. Most students do not have money overflowing their bank accounts or wallets. It’s understandable; school is a full time job. Not to mention, at times, it can be even harder for vegetarians because alternative meat products are not the cheapest items in the world. So I’m going to give you all a few ideas for easy veg meals.
We’ll start with a few classic college foods. First off, Oriental Flavor Ramen. It’s incredibly cheap and pretty tasty. Here’s a quick and easy, recipe from PETA2. The whole meal is only 32 cents! You can’t beat that. In order to hit some of the other food groups, they suggest adding some vegetables to the spicy peanut buttery ramen. You can easily microwave broccoli or carrots and toss them in depending on whether you don’t own a stove or not. You could also make a little fruit salad on the side or just cut up some bananas to make sure your hit all the food groups.
Another incredibly easy poor college kid delicacy is rice and beans. Both are cheap and can make a decent amount of servings. I like to spice mine up with some chili powder and a little pepper. You can even mix it up and add grilled tofu or if you want to go for a Mexican-style dish you can add taco seasoning and crushed tortilla chips, pepper jack cheese and your other favorite Mexican-style toppings.
Grilled Cheeses are always nice and easy too. Grilled bread and cheese, how cheap is that? Not to mention it can be varied up so easily. You can add tomato, avocado, or even tofurkey, which is just a turkey substitute. A pack of tofurkey can range from $3 to $4 and it lasts for a week or so. Then when all else fails, pasta is always affordable and quick to make. You can add fresh vegetables and any type of fake meat if you’re feeling fancy.
If you want to seem even fancier you can make a vegetarian version of Chicken Parmesan. All you need is a Morning Star fake chicken patty ($4 for a pack of four) or another alternative chicken subsitute , spaghetti sauce and a lot of Parmesan cheese. If you want to be frugal, you can use shredded mozzarella. Another option for protein is tofu, which you could fry and add some seasoning of your choice.
As you can see, there are a lot of options for vegetarians on a budget to still eat something fairly easy to make and delicious. Some times you just have to be creative and use your noodle (the one inside your head, not on your plate). Most things are pretty cheap if you keep your eye out for the bargains.
Disclaimer: I do not support everything PETA stands for. However, they came out with a college cookbook for vegetarian college students, which I thought is really beneficial for vegetarian students on a budget. There’s a few of the recipes on the website and can be found here. Don’t hate.