Here are the best healthy recipes for college students for breakfast, lunch and dinner! They’re fast and easy to make in a basic kitchen: and they taste incredible.
Hi there! Are you a college student? Or know someone who is? If you’re looking for recipes for college students: we applaud you. Alex and I met in college. But we rarely got brave enough to cook! We cook all our meals together now, but back in our college years, we had no interest. BUT! We know how hard it is to cook with limited tools and a limited budget. And limited time!
Here, we’ve put together a list of our top favorite recipes for college students. What’s the criteria for selecting each one?
- It’s relatively fast. College students don’t have a ton of time for cooking: we’ve been there!
- It’s easy to make in a kitchen that doesn’t have fancy tools. Each recipe below lists the tools required. *Some recipes do require a stove or oven, but some do not!
- It’s healthy and full of good for you ingredients. You need nutrients to learn! So these meals are full of healthy ingredients to keep you studying all day long.
And now…our best recipes for college students!
First up in our best recipes for college students: this chickpea salad sandwich! A favorite go-to lunch or quick dinner, it's a play on chicken salad using chickpeas. It comes together in a flash, and it tastes creamy and incredible. You'll find yourself craving it! Instead of a sandwich, you can also eat it with crackers or in a wrap.
Gear required: Kitchen knife, mixing bowl
This tasty sandwich works for breakfast, lunch or dinner: and takes only 5 minutes to whip up! The combination of runny egg and basil pesto is savory and satisfying. It's another easy go-to meal. If you can't find arugula, you can skip it: but it adds a nice touch!
Gear required: Small skillet, spatula, toaster
Here's a nice way to make a simple lunch or dinner look beautiful: make pinwheels! These pinwheels are full of good-for-you ingredients: bell peppers, black beans, and spinach. Instead of the typical cream cheese filling, it uses a healthy ingredient: hummus! Use a spinach tortilla to bring in extra color.
Gear required: Mixing bowl, spatula
These epic 5-minute tacos are dinner in a flash! Before your eyes, scrambled eggs will transform into "chorizo eggs", which look and taste meaty and satisfying! Throw them in a tortilla and top with all the taco fixin's for an easy dinner.
Gear required: Large skillet, spatula, mixing bowl, tongs (optional)
Here's a gooey comfort food that you can make in just 15 minutes! Gnocchi are dumpling style pasta, and combined with a savory cheese sauce, it's a like a fancy mac and cheese. The cheese you'll use is Pecorino Romano, a stronger version of Parmesan: you can find it at most grocery stores! It's like boxed mac and cheese but way better: and just as easy!
Gear required: Large pot, strainer, grater
Salmon is so easy to make, it's a perfect recipe for college students to master! This one is oven baked with a little salt and pepper, and takes only 10 minutes to bake. Skip the chimichurri sauce to keep it truly simple.
Gear required: Baking sheet, parchment paper
Here's another great recipe for college students: and this one requires a little knife skills! All you'll need to do is chop an onion and celery, then saute them in a skillet with beans, ketchup and spices. It comes together into a savory bean mix that tastes like Sloppy Joes, but loads healthier!
Gear required: Kitchen knife, large skillet, spatula
Here's another fantastic dinner recipe for college students that's full of flavor and nutrients! This one requires the most skill of any in this list, but it can still be made in about 25 minutes. You'll need some knife skills: watch the videos on how to cut an onion, how to mince garlic, and how to cut ginger. You'll also make a pot of basmati rice on the side. It's seriously tasty and leftovers last for days!
Gear required: Saucepan, kitchen knife, large skillet, large spoon
Here's a recipe made for college students: instant oatmeal! The easiest way to make breakfast in a flash is using this instant oatmeal recipe. You'll make up the mix in advance and then just add it and water the microwave on busy mornings. It's so simple!
Gear required: Storage jar or container, knife (optional)
Here's a great breakfast or snack recipe for college students on the go! If you like to bake, this one's for you. Make up a batch of healthy banana bread muffins, made with bananas, oats, and maple syrup (no flour)! Refrigerate or freeze for breakfast or snack throughout the week: we love spreading with peanut butter or almond butter for a hearty meal!
Gear required: Blender, muffin tin, spatula, muffin liners
We had to leave room for a few sweets in our recipes for college students! This bliss bites recipe is our most popular treat: they're a combination between a peanut butter cup and a no bake cookie! They're peanut buttery, chocolatey, and oh so good. People tell us they store them in the freezer and sneak them when they need something sweet. Perfect for late night studying!
Gear required: Small saucepan, spatula, muffin tin (or mini), muffin liners
And last but not least in our recipes for college students: this easy applesauce cake! You don't even need a mixing bowl for this one: it's mixed right in the baking pan itself! It's lightly sweet with a healthy spin. Perfect for study breaks!
Gear required: 8-inch square baking pan
Want an easy lunch recipe for college students? This tasty chickpea salad sandwich features a vegetarian chicken salad using chickpeas: and it can be made in a dorm room!
- 15 ounce can chickpeas or 1 1/2 cups cooked chickpeas*
- 1 stalk celery
- 3 green onions
- 1 to 2 tablespoons mayonnaise (or vegan mayonnaise)
- 1 tablespoon lemon juice
- 1 teaspoon celery seed
- Kosher salt & fresh ground pepper
- For serving: bread, crackers, wrap, hummus (see below), etc
- Thinly slice the celery (if it’s a large stalk, cut in half lengthwise first). Thinly slice the green onions.
- Drain and rinse the chickpeas. In a medium bowl, smash the chickpeas with a fork.
- Combine the chickpeas with the chopped celery and green onions, mayonnaise, lemon juice, and celery seed. Add about 1/4 to 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt, depending on your chickpea brand and taste preferences, and fresh ground pepper to taste. Taste and salt until the flavor pops! If the salad is dry, add more mayonnaise (cooked chickpeas have a drier texture than canned).
- If serving as a sandwich, spread the bread with hummus (this amps it up a bit but not required). Top the sandwich with lettuce or greens and chickpea salad. Or serve with crackers or in a wrap!
- Category: Main Dish
- Method: Raw
- Cuisine: Vegetarian
Keywords: Recipes for College Students, Dorm Room Recipes, Chickpea Salad
Looking for more easy recipes?
Here are a few more collections of easy recipes you might enjoy!
- Top 10 Easy Weeknight Dinners
- What Should I Make for Dinner? Easy Recipes to Make
- Easy Dinner Recipes for Beginners
- Poor Man’s Burrito Bowls
About the Authors
Sonja Overhiser is author of Pretty Simple Cooking, named one of the best healthy cookbooks of 2018. She’s host of the food podcast Small Bites and founder of the food blog A Couple Cooks. Featured from the TODAY Show to Bon Appetit, Sonja seeks to inspire adventurous eating to make the world a better place one bite at a time.
Alex Overhiser is an acclaimed food photographer and author based in Indianapolis. He’s host of the food podcast Small Bites and founder of the recipe website A Couple Cooks. Featured from the TODAY Show to Bon Appetit, Alex is author of Pretty Simple Cooking, named one of the best vegetarian cookbooks by Epicurious.