Student friendly recipes


Health & nutrition

Eat really well and cheaply with the lovely vegan recipes we’ve chosen for you ( lots more still to come…) In fact, you’ll be the healthiest one around if you stick to our recipes and health tips

Save money

And check out this Eating on a Budget feature with genius deas to help you stretch the pence that bit further!

How to cook vegetables

If you are new to cooking A-Z of veg is particularly useful. It shows you how to cook each vegetable, when they are in season (at their best and often cheapest too) – plus loads of cool recipes.
In fact, have a tour of the entire site – it’s all free and there’s tons more useful stuff on here.

Any questions?

And don’t forget, you can email us with your questions – again, all free.



Recipes for Vegetarian (and vegan) students

This makes a great alternative to the existing vegan yoghurts that you can buy and is creamy, tangy and generally delicious. It's not difficult to make at all - you just need to soak the cashews for a few hours first but making the yoghurt is very quick. I made it in a wide-mouthed vacuum flask and just left it overnight.

The recipe can easily be halved.

Thanks to Miyoko Schinner's Artisan Vegan Cheese for this recipe.


Vegetable side dishes, Sides, light meals, salads

This is nice when you're serving sloppier curries or dahls eg our Aduki Bean Curry or Dahl. Sag Aloo is an Indian subcontinent staple that varies from country to country and region to region. Our version is very simple and not very spicy - it works well as a contrast to other, richer dishes. It's also very quick  to make, especially if you have leftover cooked potatoes!

It can also be bulked out by adding a tin of chickpeas, rinsed and drained - these add flavour and protein.

What type of spinach is best...?
Frozen works well and is much cheaper (as well as being a handy freezer basic) but look for spinach leaf and the type that contains little 'cakes' of spinach. These are easier to measure out and the spinach has more texture.

Fresh  - go for the bigger older leaves (ie not the ubiquitious baby leaf variety). They have more substance and don't turn to mush so quickly!


Picture courtesy of Food & Spice

Sides, light meals, salads


Sauces, Vegetable side dishes, Sides, light meals, salads, Desserts

This is a fantastic recipe 'basic' and lends itself to lots of dishes - as well as being very natural and unprocessed. Cashews aren't cheap but when used as part of a balanced diet as opposed to a snacky extra, they are worth it for their nutritional benefits and taste. It can be added to a dish, eg a soup or stew; served on the side, eg sour cream with chilli or sweet cream with a dessert... get creative!

You do need a farily powerful blender, food processor or wet/dry blender (eg Revel or a mini processor like Nutribullet - all of these will create a smooth mixture that is not grainy. However, soaking the cashews makes them softer and easier to blend. We also recommend using whole 'raw' (unsalted and unroasted) cashews - using pieces is cheaper but they tend to be dryer. And buying a larger bag, particularly ethnic brands (see World Food shelves in supermarkets) or good health food shops works out cheaper than tiddly little packets - check out the price per 100g on each product to see what we mean!

Variations: replace cashews with macadamias - these are rich, buttery nuts that are absolutely delicious. Their high fat content makes for a lovely rich cream. Almonds would also work well - whole, skinned and unsalted.

If you're nut allergic, try our soya-based Sour Cream recipe.




This delightful retro pudding originated from The Vegan Society. Thanks, guys!

I've tweaked it a little so there is a gluten-free alternative for those of you who want it.


PIcture courtesy of No Bacon with thanks

Vegetable side dishes, Sides, light meals, salads

Thanks to 14 year old supporter and dedicated vegetarian Adam McKenna for this simple, lovely recipe! This is a nice quick meal on its own but lends itself to all kinds of additions. 

Serving tips
A few handfuls of frozen peas, added to the rice a few minutes before the end of cooking
A packet of marinated tofu chunks, warmed through at the end (Cauldron brand)
Mango chutney... get creative!

Top tips
Cooking rice from scratch isn't difficult - with white rice in particular, it's all in the timing so use the oven timer or other type of alarm.

However, if you're in a real hurry, you can always use sachets of ready-cooked rice - white and brown are available and they are sold everywhere: look for Asda, Sainsbury's, Tesco, Uncle Ben and Tilda. Simply heat them in the microwave - the instructions are on the packet!

Main courses

Chava is a professional food writer and photographer  and first started to create mouth-watering vegan recipes and photographs for Viva! in 2006. She lives in the Cotswolds with her partner and two young boys, Sam and Alex.

About this recipe, she says: ‘Gorgeous golden pastry and a hidden ingredient that nobody will guess: finely chopped prunes round off this Christmas pie beautifully!’



Retro-heaven, dairy-free and vegan style!

This version uses coconut cream. You might also want to check out Justine's wonderful version - which veganises a BBC Food recipe and uses the new vegan must-have - condensed soya milk! Get her recipe and product details here


*SchlagFix vegan whipping cream, Vegan Store and some health food shops
Whiptop (Tesco) vegan whipping cream in a squirty can
Soyatoo Rice or Coconut Whip, Viva!Shop, health food shops and other online stores
Online store details


A simple, delicious cake - we give you step by step instructions to make it speedy! Yes it uses measuring cups not scales - this makes it faster in our experience. However, sets of cups are easy and cheap to buy try any large supermarket or cook shop - and as a lot of US and Canadian recipes use them, it's worth getting a set.

For beginner or unconfident cooks, this is a really useful tip. Seriously... get everything you need, equipment AND ingredients. It makes cooking so much easier and enjoyable.

Replace flour and baking powder with g-f or w-f equivalents, eg Dove's Farm brand

Use a soya free margarine eg Pure Sunflower; Biona or other vegan types that don't contain it and use another type of plant milk, eg almond, coconut, hemp or rice

Vegetable side dishes

These wedges are delicious and quicker to make than the regular white potato variety. Do them Mediterranean or Mexican/Middle-Eastern-style - easy!

Sweet potatoes are also a high source of nutrition - and a low GI food to boot.

Nice served wtih a dollop of plain vegan yoghurt or our almost instant sour cream recipe


Picture courtesy of Of Course Vegan with thanks


Does what it says on the tin! It makes a light, fluffy cake that everyone can enjoy. Most of these ingredients - if not all - can be found from a good health food shop or large branch of a supermarket like Sainsbury's or Waitrose.

Get all the kit and ingredients out first, get the oven hot, grease and line the tins, weigh everything then mix the cake fast!

Breakfasts, Vegetable side dishes, Sides, light meals, salads, Main courses

These are lovely, and a great alternative to the shop-bought variety.

- They can be made the day before and refrigerated to save time
- They freeze well so it's worth making a couple of batches.
- They are baked so lower in fat than shop-bought versions.
- There is a gluten and soya-free option if so desired


Recipe and photo courtesy of Flavorphotos

Vegetable side dishes, Sides, light meals, salads, Main courses

Seitan - or gluten - is the original meat alternative. This tasty dish originated in China hundreds if not thousands of years ago as a food for vegetarian Buddhist monks. It has since percolated round the Far East, eg Japan and Vietnam and is used in contemporary Western veggie and vegan food.

High in protein, low in fat, and dense in texture, it lends itself to all sorts of dishes, including stir fries, 'steaks', deli slices for sandwiches, meat balls/chunks and more.

While it is an excellent source of protein, it is pure gluten so best not eaten more than once a week - it's always good to include as wide a variety of foods as possible, eg pulses, tofu, nuts, wholegrains, vegetables, fruit and the like. Obviously, seitan is unsuitable for the gluten or wheat intolerant.

This recipe is an amalgam of many - I tried several and tweaked them all around a bit until I came up with something that fitted. In particular, thanks to Robin Robertson and her wonderful book Vegan on the Cheap, and also Isa Chandra Moskowitz's equally awesome Vegan With a Vengeance. Both books are available from Viva! Shop. 

Where can I buy it? 
Ready-prepared gluten flour (also known as vital gluten or vital wheat gluten flour) is available from some health food shops or else online from stores such as Veggie Stuff; Vegan X; Honest to Goodness and Realfoods (who sell an organic version). Nutritional yeast flakes are also available on these sites. We've also seen both products on Amazon!  As  you'll see, it's worth shopping around to get the best deal. It can be a very economical dish to make.

Do I need to make so much?!
No - this recipe is easily halved or even quartered. But remember, it freezes well so if you've got the space it's a brilliant core ingredient for many recipes.
If you'd like to try it before making a batch, it is sold in
- Health food shops: Yakso or Lima brands - jars. Usually organic.
- Oriental supermarkets: brands such as Rolin; Wu Chung or Mong Lee Chang - sold in different varieties such as gluten; mock chicken; mock duck. Tinned and very good value.

Sides, light meals, salads, Main courses

Ash - Viva!'s talented database and fundraising person - is also a bit of a whizz in the kitchen! Being a keen athlete, he is always thinking about food too...

He's very particular about rice and swears on his auntie's recipe for the perfect method! The secret is to steam-cook it in a pan with a well-fitting lid.

White basmati - 11-20 minutes
Brown longraing rice or brown basmati - 25-35 minutes


Cheat's Version
Use ready-cooked rice (brown or rice) in a pouch plus a vegetable stir-fry pack!

Sides, light meals, salads, Main courses

Ash is Viva!'s data and fundraising expert as well as being a bit of an athlete. He is also an enthusiastic cook who is very particular about rice and swears his auntie taught him the perfect method for cooking it!

This recipe uses white Basmati - but for a healthier wholegrain feel, use brown long grain or brown Basmati.

White rice takes 11-20 minutes - check it is tender enough then remove from heat if ready.
Brown rice takes 20-30 minutes

Cook in a pan with a well-fitting lid to intensify the steaming process. Use only double the amount of water - you can always top up with a little hot water from the kettle if it starts to dry out.

Remember, all rice carries on cooking in its own heat so if adding to a stir-fry add it quickly. Otherwise rinse in cold water and chill until you need it.

Cheat's version: use pre-cooked rice in a pouch and a pack of mixed stir-veg of your choice! Add seasonings and any extra veg  you wish.


PIcture courtesy of ExPat Recipe with thanks

Sides, light meals, salads, Main courses

A nice variant on the vegan veggie classic - from Waitrose. This would be a quick, tasty supper before or after the Christmas madness!

For a slightly more indulgent but still healthy version, use our vegan sour creme recipe instead of the yogurt. You teetotallers could also replace the cider with apple juice, if you prefer.

Waitrose have a dedicated Christmas section with a few veggie and vegan items here  There are some lovely recipes but not all of them are vegan. However, many could be veganised with dairy or egg alternatives, eg smoked tofu in their Kedgeree instead of eggs or melting vegan cheese in the Shepherd's Pie. See our Veganiser and Vegan Baking articles for hints to make changes!)


This is one of the best cake recipes we know. Another version of it is available elsewhere but for a much larger cake. This one has been scaled down to less epic proportions! It can be made as a plain vanilla sponge too, so is pretty flexible. And you can dust the top with sieved icing sugar - or make a basic sugar icing for a topping, plus any decorations you like.

If you haven't come across the use of flax meal (ground linseeds) in vegan baking, it's really worth checking out. 1 tbps of flax meal mixed with a little cold water makes the equivalent of one egg - it helps to bind the cake nicely. Buy it ready-ground from large supermarkets (eg Sainsbury) or cheaper still, grind your own in small quantities. Use a spice or coffee grinder and store in the fridge or other cool, dark place. The rest can be sprinkled on cereal etc for an Omega 3 boost! (Heating destroys these qualities so the cake doesn't cut it!)

Check out our link for more handy vegan/animal-free baking tips.

Sides, light meals, salads, Main courses

A lovely quick, nutritious meal using store cupboard ingredients. Chopping the veg into small pieces makes it more likely that young kids will eat them!

Picture courtesy of

Main courses

A classic and tasty British dish, veggie/vegan style. This uses frozen veggie mince, which is available just about everywhere: Linda McCartney; Asda; Sainsbury;Tesco etc - just avoid Quorn which contains egg and dairy.

Good served with greens (eg broccoli; Brussels sprouts; sauteed shredded cabbage; curly kale) and lightly steamed carrots.

Vegetable side dishes, Sides, light meals, salads, Main courses

I had great fun making this lovely recipe. It is easy to make, very cheap and most importantly, it tastes really good. It is simple to prepare too. Plus the pepperoni freezes well so it is worth making a double batch.

Although there is a long list of ingredients, most of them are spices/herbs that you just need to measure into a small bowl. Other than that it only takes a few minutes to mix and roll out the pepperoni sausages. Baking takes an hour and it needs turning halfway through so you need to be around - but that time can be used to other things! Just make sure to set an oven timer, mobile phone or whatever.

It uses vital gluten flour to create a firm-textured 'meaty' product. Obviously, this is not a good dish for the gluten or wheat intolerant but it is otherwise a good, natural source of protein and very versatile. Seitan/gluten products have been eaten in the Orient for centuries, if not thousands of years.

Product sourcing - we use three ingredients you might not be familiar with: vital gluten flour; tapioca flour and liquid smoke. The good news is that two of them are available from health food shops or Oriental grocers as well as online; the last online. There are plenty of uses for all three, not just this recipe! Making your own quick seitan at home can save you lots of money - try making vegan meatballs; savoury roasts... lots of potential here.

1. Vital gluten flour is available from good health food shops or online, eg

Realfoods (organic) - they also sell organic tapioca flour 

We also found it on Amazon

2. Tapioca flour is available from Asian grocers or online, eg £1.73

Suma sells it too and there are several brands listed on Amazon.

3. Liquid Smoke
Used to add a smoky taste to this recipe - and also other vegan savouries, eg crispy tempeh bacon bits'!


Thanks to Robin Robertson's Vegan on the Cheap  from which this recipe is adapted. 

Vegetable side dishes, Soups and starters, Sides, light meals, salads

Another great recipe from Fry's website, devised and photographed by Vegan Peasant Catering 

Sauces, Soups and starters

Mock Duck spring rolls from the lovely Fry's! The home-made plum sauce recipe is delicious and easy to make, but if you are very short of time, cheat with a ready-made version such as Blue Dragon.


Thanks to Vegan Peasant Catering who created the recipe and photo for Fry's.

Main courses

Mmmm - this Thai-inspired recipe is very nice.

if you haven't tried 'veganising' your meaty favourite recipes, Fry's products are great. Very popular with mixed families of veggies/vegans and meat-eaters... and much easier on the cook, as s/he only has to cook one meal!



Main courses

This creamy, delicous pie will win over meat-eating family members! Thanks to Fry's for this and check out more superb recipes on the Fry's website.