Eat Good, Do Good: 3 Quick and Easy Vegetarian Recipes

It’s February, it’s freezing, and if you haven’t already sacked in your New Year’s resolutions for the ease and cheese of an oven pizza, then you’ve probably contemplated it. But if you want to make a real difference this year, not only to your energy levels and health but also the planet, then incorporating some vegetarian meals into your culinary armoury is a great place to start.

I’ve compiled some of my favourite quick and easy veggie recipes for you to try out and help do your bit. Some of these recipes are inspired by The Hungry Student Vegetarian Cookbook by Charlotte Pike which I thoroughly recommend if you are interested in more meat-free recipes!

Coconut chickpea curry

If we’re talking about bang-for-your-buck foods, chickpeas are definitely up there. Providing almost 12 grams of protein per one-cup serving, long gone are the days of people accusing vegetarians of protein deficiency. Whilst spicy chickpea curry, or chana masala, is traditionally made with the rich spices of North India, like garam masala and fresh ginger, this version makes do with the limited range of spices likely to be found at the back of a cupboard in Nottingham student housing.


1 tbsp. olive oil

1 can of chickpeas, drained

1/2 medium onion, diced

1/2 can tinned tomatoes

1/4 tin of coconut milk

1 tsp. paprika

1 tsp. chilli powder

2 -3 tbsp. curry powder

Salt and pepper to taste

  1. Heat the oil in a large pan. Add the onion and garlic powder then cook on a medium heat for 2-3 minutes or until the onion has softened.
  2. Add the spices and stir well.
  3. Add the tomatoes to the pan and stir well. Continue to cook, stirring occasionally, for about 3-5 minutes or until the tomatoes begin to soften. Stir in the coconut milk, chickpeas, salt and pepper.
  4. Bring the mixture to a boil, then reduce the heat to medium-low. Simmer the coconut chickpea curry for 8-10 minutes or until reduced slightly.
  5. Serve alone, or with basmati rice.

Broccoli pesto pasta

I know we’re technically ‘adults’ but getting enough greens is still just as difficult as when we were kids. Sometimes I get to lunchtime and can hear my organs physically crying, and so this tasty recipe is a great way of getting some greenery whilst still fulfilling the university stereotype of eating pasta for every meal.

Top tip!– Be sure to check the label on the pesto as some are made with parmesan produced using calf rennet and are therefore not vegetarian! I recommend the Sacla Italia Organic Vegetarian Pesto.


1 tbsp. basil pesto

Pasta of your choice (I recommend fusilli)

125g broccoli

100g spinach

Salt and pepper to taste

Optional: 2 tbsp. vegetarian parmesan

  1. Cook the pasta according to package directions. Drain the pasta, reserving 400ml of the cooking liquid, and return it to the pot.
  2. Meanwhile, combine the broccoli, spinach, and ½ a cup of water in a microwave-safe bowl. Cover and cook on high for 5-6 minutes, stirring once halfway through, until the broccoli and spinach is tender.
  3. Drain the softened veggies, then dice finely using a sharp knife. Add salt, pepper, and a large tablespoon of the basil pesto and mix until smooth.
  4. Toss the pasta with the pesto mixture and a 1/4 (100ml) of the reserved liquid (adding more liquid if the pasta seems dry). Top with vegetarian parmesan, if desired.

Not-so chilly bean chilli

The humble chilli non-carne is the ultimate winter warmer. Switching out the red meat in this family classic makes for a heartier meal in all senses of the word, with the beans providing protein without the saturated fat. It’s made with mostly store cupboard ingredients so is cheap and great for batch cooking, and we all live for that ‘here’s one I made earlier’ moment when you open the fridge to a second helping of last-night’s dinner.


1 tbsp. olive oil

1/2 onion, diced

1/2 yellow pepper, finely chopped

200g chopped tomatoes

1/2 can kidney beans, drained

1/2 can refried beans, drained

1 tbsp. paprika

1 tbsp. dried oregano

1 tbsp. chilli powder

Salt and pepper to taste

Optional extras: Tortilla chips, sour cream, guacamole.

  1. Heat the oil in a large pan. Add the onion and bell pepper then cook for 8 mins until softened. Tip in the paprika, oregano and chilli powder and stir for 2 minutes
  2. Add the beans and chopped tomatoes to the pan, bring to the boil and simmer for 15 mins or until the chilli thickens. Add reserved bean liquid until chilli is of desired consistency.
  3. Serve alone, or with basmati rice.

Be change. See change.


Olivia Stock

Featured image courtesy of ‘Peter Hellberg’ via Flickr. Image licence found here.


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