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Welfare Week | Ella Vegan's 3 Easy Student Meals

For Day 3 Eat Well we've called in some help from Ella! Hi, I am Ella Vegan and I am working with Leeds Arts Union to bring you some cheap, easy and healthy vegan recipes that you can make with your mates during Welfare Week and beyond!

First up is Thai Style Noodles with Baked Tofu, Tofu is a great source of protein for vegans and it is so versatile. I see it as a blank canvas, it takes on whatever flavours you pair it with. These Thai style noodles are light and fragrant and a great way to use up fresh vegetables at the end of the week!


- 250g rice noodles

- 1 block of tofu

- 3 tbsp Thai curry paste

- 4 tbsp soy sauce

- 1 tin of coconut milk

- 1 onion

- 1 bell pepper

- 2 cloves of garlic

- A small chunk of ginger

- 1 stock pot/cube

- 1 lime

- 2 spring onions

- Handful of coriander

Cost - £2.43 per person

Nutrition – 532 calories, 77g carbs, 16g protein, 16g fat


Step 1 Press and Marinate! You’ll want to do this step a before you are all hungry, so a little earlier in the day. Can even do this the night before for max flavour. My fav brand of tofu is TofooCo because it comes already pressed, however if you are using another brand you will need to press it yourself. Wrap the tofu block in a clean tea towel, put it on a tray or a plate with a lip, and weigh it down with a saucepan or frying pan for half an hour. This gets all the liquid out and firms it up ready to bake. When its pressed, chop it up into bitesize chunks and put it in a tub with 4 tablespoons of soy sauce and a tablespoon of Thai curry paste. Shake the tub and leave it in the fridge for at least 20 minutes, but as long as you can!

Step 2 Preheat the oven to 200C/180C fan and start prepping your veggies. To peel your ginger, its best to scrape the peel off with a teaspoon. Finely chop the ginger and garlic, dice your onion and cut thin slices of the pepper. You can include whatever veggies you have in this dish, grated carrot, beansprouts, mushrooms, baby corn… Boil a kettle and dissolve the stock pot or cube in a pint of boiling water. You might also want to slice your spring onions and roughly chop your coriander at this point too to get all the prep done.

Step 3 Pop the marinated tofu and any liquid from the tub onto a baking tray and put it in the oven, setting a timer for 30 minutes.

Step 4 Heat about a tablespoon of oil in a saucepan. You will know it is hot enough by tilting the

pan slightly, if it moves easily like water you are ready to go. Add the chopped garlic and ginger followed by two tablespoons of Thai curry paste. Let this sizzle for a minute and then add the onion and pepper (and any other veggies you want to use).

Step 5 Next add the stock you dissolved and the tin of coconut milk. Let these come up to a boil and infuse with the flavours you have been cooking up, and then reduce to simmer and add the noodles. Rice noodles usually take 2 to 3 minutes to cook so make sure not to leave the pan on heat for longer than this.

Step 6 To serve up divide the noodle soup between 4 bowls making sure they each get some of the lovely creamy liquid too. Add the baked tofu, coriander, spring onions on top and give each person a quarter of lime to spritz over the top and enjoy!


Next up is Bean Chilli with Rice and Easy Guac, this Bean Chilli is my most basic but delicious recipe. Tinned beans are a staple that last almost forever and add protein to the dish. Whilst avocados aren’t the cheapest, the swapping out of meat for beans leaves some pennies for a delicious classic guac.


- 2 tins of beans (any)

- 2 tins of chopped tomatoes

- 1 bell pepper

- 2 red onions

- 2 cloves of garlic

- 1 stock pot/cube

- 1 tsp cumin

- 1 tsp paprika

- 2 tbsp tomato puree

- 260g of basmati rice

- 2 ripe avocados

- 1 lime

- Handful of coriander

Cost - £2.33 per person

Nutrition – 604 calories, 84g carbs, 21g protein, 16g fat


Step 1Get prepped! Dice the bell pepper and one and a half of the red onions, finely chop the remaining half onion as it is for the guac. Finely chop the garlic and roughly chop the coriander.

Step 2 To cook the rice, put it in a small saucepan along with 600ml of water. Bring it to a boil and then cover, reduce the heat and simmer for 15-20 mins.

Step 3 Heat about a tablespoon of oil in a saucepan. You will know it is hot enough by tilting the pan slightly, if it moves easily like water you are ready to go. Add the diced onion and let these soften for a couple minutes before adding the garlic, bell pepper, paprika and cumin. After about 5 minutes add the tomato puree to deepen the flavour.

Step 4 Drain the beans and add to the pan, stirring thoroughly so they pick up the flavours. Next it’s time to add the chopped tomatoes for some moisture. You can also add your stock cube or pot which will thicken the chilli and intensify the flavour. If you think the chilli could do with more moisture, add some boiling water from the kettle. I added 400ml but it is personal preference.

Step 5 Easy Guac! Cut your avocados in half (careful of the stone) and scrape out the insides into a bowl with a fork. Stir the avo around a bit to make it into a paste. Add the finely chopped red onion, half of your coriander, and a large pinch of salt. Then chop the lime in half and squeeze half into the bowl (do it through a clean hand like Jamie Oliver to avoid the pips or use a lemon juicer). Mix it all up and this is your easy guac!

Step 6 By now the rice will have absorbed all of the water and the chilli will be ready! Divide the rice and chilli between the four of you, top with some easy guac, the remaining coriander and a wedge of lime each!


My final recipe is Red Lentil Dahl with Roasted Veggies, this Red Lentil Dal is made with coconut milk and so is creamy and delicious. It uses some great cupboard stables that are so handy to have stocked up! You can switch up the vegetables and spices to whatever you have!


- 200g red lentils

- 1 tin of coconut milk

- 2 cloves of garlic

- 2 tbsp curry powder

- 4 large tomatoes

- 4 large carrots

- A head of cauliflower

- 1 stock pot/cube

- Handful of coriander

Cost - £2 per person

Nutrition – 433 calories, 62g carbs, 21g protein, 13g fat


Step 1 Get Prepped! Preheat the oven to 200C/180C fan. Peel your carrots and chop them into batons. Cut your cauli in half, take off the leaves and chop of each floret so you have equal sized chunks. Dice your tomatoes, finely chop your garlic and roughly chop your coriander. Boil a kettle and dissolve your stock pot or cube in a pint of boiling water.

Step 2 Pop the carrots and cauli onto a big baking tray and add a drizzle of oil (vegetable, olive, sunflower, coconut, any type of cooking oil) and a tablespoon of curry powder. Stir it all up so the veggies are coated. Put them in the oven and set a timer for 25 mins.

Step 3 Moving on to the Dal. Heat about a tablespoon of oil in a saucepan. You will know it is hot enough by tilting the pan slightly, if it moves easily like water you are ready to go. Add the chopped garlic followed by the chopped tomatoes, it should sizzle! Add in a tablespoon of curry powder and stir in.

Step 4 While that’s bubbling away, measure out 200g of lentils, wash them in a sieve and add them to the saucepan. Then pour in half the pint of stock that you dissolved earlier. Stir it in and watch the lentils start to soften and the stock begin to thicken. Next add in the tin of coconut milk and stir this in. At this point cover it with a lid (not essential, if you don’t have a lid) and reduce the temperature to a simmer, you want it still bubbling but gently.

Step 5 When the lentils have absorbed more of the liquid, add in the remaining stock and cover again. You are aiming for a thick soupy consistency, so the lentils need to soften. The best way to judge it is trying a teaspoon (blow it first), you don’t want the lentils to have any bite.

Step 6 By now the timer will have gone off for your vegetables and so get those out, they should be soft, crisp on the outside and smell incredible.

Step 7 Stir half your chopped coriander into the dal and its ready to plate up. Divide the dal into 4 bowls and top with the roasted veggies and fresh coriander. I think it tastes incredible just like this but alternatively, you could serve with some rice or naan bread!


If you'd like to find more recipes like this then head over to @Ella__Vegan on Instagram!

Tag @leedsartsunion in all your Welfare Week activities! Check out the What's On calendar for even more events here:


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