4 meal prep recipes on a budget

Posted 6 months ago

Save £££

University life can become very busy and it sometimes seems so much easier to splurge on a takeaway. To save your wallet, I will give you four cheap and easy recipes to meal prep so you always have food ready for those busy University evenings.

All the ingredients for these recipes were bought in Asda, and prices may vary depending on the store of your choice.

Salt, pepper, and oil will not be included in the shopping lists.

Meal 1 – Spaghetti Bolognese

This staple dish is easy, tasty, and a perfect way to get your veggies and protein in. It can be made vegetarian, and the Bolognese sauce can be frozen.

Shopping list (for 3 servings):

  • Beef mince 500g (or veggie/ vegan alternative) - £3.75
  • Garlic, 3 bulbs – £0.50
  • Sliced Onion – £0.40
  • Tinned chopped tomatoes – £0.55
  • Cherry tomatoes – £0.60
  • Basil – £0.60
  • Spaghetti – £0.75Veggies of your choice can be added too, carrots, celery and peppers are all great with this sauce.

Total = £7.15 or £2.38 per serving


  1. Start by chopping up garlic and cutting the cherry tomatoes into halves.
  2. Add the garlic and onions to a pan with some oil and cook until the onion starts browning.
  3. Add your beef mince and fry until completely cooked.
  4. Add the tinned chopped tomatoes as well as the cherry tomato halves into the pan and stir until the meat and the sauce is combined.
  5. Add a few leaves of basil to the pan and simmer the sauce.
  6. In a pot with salted boiling water, cook the spaghetti according to the instructions on the pack. Do not combine it with the sauce.
  7. To a plate, add the spaghetti with a serving of Bolognese sauce on top and add a leaf or two of basil to garnish.

You can freeze the rest of the Bolognese sauce in a plastic container and defrost when needed. Cook the spaghetti fresh.

a close up of a plate of food

Meal 2 – Greek salad

This recipe is perfect for a light lunch or a delicious filling meal by adding chicken breast or tofu. It’s an easy way to add veggies into your diet without spending loads of money.

Shopping list (for 4 servings)

  • Salad tomatoes – £0.89
  • Cucumber – £0.80
  • Greek salad cheese (or vegan alternative) – £0.85
  • Sliced Red Onion – £0.40
  • Pitted black olives – £1.25
  • Balsamic Vinegar - £1.50 per bottle – which has 15 servings

Total = £4.59 or £1.14 per serving


  1. Start by slicing the salad tomatoes, cucumber, olives, and Greek salad cheese.
  2. Add all the vegetables into a bowl and stir until combined.
  3. Add salt and/or balsamic vinegar to your liking.

You can keep this meal in a container in the fridge, but don’t leave it longer than 5 days.

a box filled with different types of food

Meal 3 - Tomato and feta pasta

This tasty vegetarian meal is perfect for any student who wants a quick and easy meal that doesn’t take a lot of cooking skills.

Shopping list (for 2 servings)

  • Pasta (I recommend Conchiglie) – £0.75
  • 2 bags of Cherry tomatoes – £1.20
  • Garlic, 3 bulbs – £0.50
  • Greek salad cheese (or vegan alternative) – £0.85

Total = £3.30 or £1.65 per serving


  1. Preheat the oven to 200 degrees
  2. While the oven is preheating, add the cherry tomatoes and the Greek style cheese into an oven dish. Make sure the dish not too small so that all ingredients cook properly.
  3. Add whole cloves of garlic into the dish, making sure that each clove is evenly spaced.
  4. Add oil, salt and pepper and put the dish into the oven for 40 minutes, ensuring to check it every 10-15 minutes.
  5. In the meantime, add the pasta to salted boiling water and cook according the instructions on the packaging.
  6. You can choose to remove the garlic cloves if you wish, mash them with a fork, or just leave whole as when cooked they are tasty and sweet.
  7. Once the sauce is ready, add it to the pasta and stir well.

You can keep the leftovers in a container in the fridge, but don’t leave longer than 5 days.

a bowl of food

Meal 4 - Teriyaki Pork belly and rice

This recipe is comforting and hearty, filled with a great source of protein and fat.

Shopping list (for 3 servings)

  • Pork Belly strips - £4
  • Sticky rice, 500g - £1.50
  • Teriyaki Marinade, bottle - £1.50
  • Soy sauce, bottle – £0.65

Total = £7.65 or £2.55 per serving


  1. Start by pre heating the oven to 180 degrees. When the oven has preheated, put your pork belly onto a non-stick oven dish and cook for 25-30 minutes depending on your personal preference.
  2. While the pork is cooking, soak 225g of rice in a bowl of cold water for 15 minutes before rinsing.
  3. Once the rice is washed, add to a pot along with equal parts water, stir and simmer on medium high heat for about 15 minutes.
  4. When the pork is fully cooked, top it with teriyaki marinade and soy sauce (you can eyeball this, just stop when you think its saucy enough).
  5. To serve, add the rice to a bowl, put the marinaded pork on top, and add a final dash of soy sauce to finish.

You can store this meal in a container in the fridge, but eat within 3-4 days.

a plate of food with rice and broccoli