It can be incredibly easy to get bogged down with school, work and everything that comes with being a student. I've often found myself with little time to cook, even though it's always been an activity I love.
It's also difficult to find delicious and simple vegetarian and vegan recipes, so I've taken it upon myself to share a few of my favorites that don't require too much effort or time. Some of these do include dairy products, but it's easy to take them out or replace them with vegan substitutes!
Avocado toast and egg
This has become a staple dish for my breakfasts and sometimes my lunches and dinners as well. It's super simple, flexible and has all the nutritious benefits you need to stay energized through the day.
You can make your avocado spread whatever way you want, but I personally season mine with rosemary, garlic powder, lemon juice and salt and then mash it until it's at the right consistency.
For the toast, you can pick whatever bread you want, but I personally love sourdough, which is generally vegan-friendly. I also recommend you pop the bread in the oven (if you have one) to toast it instead of using a toaster. This step may seem unnecessary to some, but when putting a bunch of toppings on bread, it can often collapse unless it's firm.
When cooking the eggs, I recommend you either make an omelet, fry the eggs or scramble them, as these are easiest to make and place on the toast. There are also dairy-free versions of eggs, which you can find at most grocery stores if you want to make this dish vegan.
This dish has been a real time saver for me as it's easy to make multiple servings for the week. For mine, I usually boil a cup of quinoa (which is a lot, but it serves me through the week), and then I make a vegetable stir-fry with kale, cucumber, radishes, tomatoes, carrots and onions. I often change up my spices, but one great way to season this is with paprika, oregano, dill, lemon juice, minced garlic and salt.
Protein-wise, tofu is great with this! Make sure you pat it dry, rub it in cornstarch, cut it up, and then fry it in a little soy sauce before adding to the rest of the stir fry.
Quinoa bowls are super flexible and easy to add ingredients to depending on your preferences and how much effort you want to put into your cooking. So, even though I've shared how I make mine, feel free to alter yours to accommodate your individual tastes!
I love a good, lazily slapped-together sandwich as much as the next person, but sometimes a hearty, warm, slightly complex sandwich can fix a bad day.
You can slice the eggplant to whatever level of thickness you prefer, but to get a good bite, it's important to stay away from thin slices. I usually pat them with olive oil and season with basil, oregano, thyme, salt and pepper. Then, either fry them on the stove or bake them for approximately 15 minutes in the oven at 350 degrees Fahrenheit.
For toppings, I usually slice up some bell peppers and onions and saute them in the same seasonings as the eggplant. Fry them up in some olive oil or cooking spray and cook until soft.
Place the eggplant slices and then the onions and peppers on a roll. I recommend a toasted brioche and adding either real or vegan cheese to it — mozzarella goes great with this. Toasting is definitely necessary with this meal, so the bread holds up because otherwise, it'll get a little too messy and completely fall apart.
Though most of these recipes do require a little effort and more cooking than a college student may be used to, it's easy to alter them to be simpler. These can also be a great lesson in meal prepping, which has been vital for me on long days full of class and work. Invest in a little Tupperware, make multiple servings and you'll have food for the week!
If you like cooking or want to learn how to do it now that you live on your own, it's important that you try now and make fun and creative recipes, even if the college lifestyle doesn't seem to allow time for it.