It's no secret that cooking as a university student can become slightly boring and repetitive, especially if you're a student with a lot of contact hours or extra-curriculars. It can also be so hard to have any inspiration for a meal that actually tastes good that doesn't take 3 hours or need expensive ingredients to make, and that'll impress your visiting family and friends, without embarrassing yourself. Thankfully, seasoning can really uplevel your food, and only requires the tiniest bit of effort. For me, as a vegan, it's also super important to have food that is nutritional, but is tasty as well, which can be difficult when you have to work with mostly vegetables, rice and pasta and things such as chickpeas and legumes.


PESTO




Pesto is such a perfect way to make your university food more exciting because you can put it in toasties, use as a sauce with potatoes and vegetables, as a base sauce on pizza, or as an accompaniment to salads! Also, as literally every university student knows, pesto pasta is a classic staple of a student's diet. However, it can become a little more difficult being vegan, as regular shop bought pesto contains parmesan, and shop bought vegan pesto can be really expensive on a student budget. Thankfully, pesto is really easy to make yourself at home, and you don't need fancy, fresh ingredients, Schwartz's dried basil works perfectly! I don't actually measure ingredients out when I cook (mainly because I have no weighing scales), but it's really easy to judge what you need more or less of as you're making this by judging the texture and taste. Blend together a good helping of dried basil, cashew nuts, pine nuts, olive oil, salt and pepper and adjust as necessary! Pasta alla genovese (pictured) is one of my go to meals at uni, and this pesto works perfectly in it, and tastes so good that I made it for my boyfriend when he came to visit and got the highest of compliments!



POTATOES



I am officially bored of chips. This is honestly something I never thought I'd find myself saying, but I've eaten so many over the past year and a half that I'm a little fed up with them. The way I like to try to make my potatoes more exciting is again through seasoning! My favourite way to cook potatoes is to slice them into thin slices, add them into a frying pan with a little bit of oil, add the seasoning, and then let them cook until they're crispy, and this also works really well for popping some thinly slice potatoes in the oven! Potato wedges are also a favourite of mine, and they're so easy - just slice up potatoes into the general shape, place into a bowl and drizzle olive oil, and then cook add seasoning such as basil, salt, pepper and garlic, and bake in the oven for around 30 minutes!


VEGETABLES


Veg can also get so boring when you eat so much of it. I find veg the hardest to make more versatile, because there seems to be less you can do with it. Roasted vegetables are my favourites, because I think the smoky flavour that roasting seems to add just makes veggies have a new level of flavour! I usually cut up a range of vegetables - peppers, carrots, broccoli etc, coat in olive oil and seasoning, and roast in the oven. Roasted veggies make a great accompaniment to any meal, but I particularly love them with rice and tofu, or chickpeas, a tomato sauce and rice!


What's your favourite way to make cooking more exciting, whether you're a student or not?


All my love,


Em x